In The Great Gatsby, is there any real love between Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker? 

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is a bit difficult to establish any real love between Jordan and anyone because she is constructed as an individual incapable of such authenticity.  In describing Jordan's sensibilities, Fitzgerald is deliberate in terms of crafting her with the potential for love:

Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever shrewd men and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body. “It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply—I was casually sorry, and then I forgot.

In order for love to transpire, there has to be a level of connection that Jordan simply lacks.  Jordan takes refuge on a different "plane" than other people.  Being "incurably dishonest" precludes any real emotions such as love and emotional connection to take place.  The layers of her interactions have been defined by "subterfuges" for so long that authenticity has become a necessary casualty.  The fact that she carried herself as "casually sorry" and then merely "forgetful" is a reminder of the destructiveness in Tom's and Daisy's actions.  In these descriptions, Fitzgerald develops Jordan as one who is incapable of love. If there is anything slightly related to it, such an emotion is effectively buried deep within her psyche, one that has already been hardened to keep people at a distance, using them as a means to an end as opposed to an end in their own right.

I think that this is what makes it more difficult for Nick to experience love with Jordan.  While Nick has to wrestle through some of his own demons, he is not able to develop anything real and substantive with Jordan.  There is an attraction, but this is more surface than anything else. We can assess whether or not Nick is reliable.  In this paradigm, it can be debated as to whether he is capable of feeling real emotions such as love, as well.  However, Nick is probably closer to being able to sustain such an experience than Jordan is.  Given where she is and where his own emotional challenges might lie, it is difficult to see any sort of substantive notion of love develop between both of them.

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udonbutterfly's profile pic

udonbutterfly | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

There was a part of Nick the was starting to have feelings for Jordan but Jordan is a part of a life style that resembles Daisy's which is something Nick really doesn't like. However, Nick did have enough respect for Jordan when he left and he felt it was the right thing to do by telling her of his departure. Jordan is the type of girl to be reserved with her emotions but that doesn't stop her from having casual relations. We see this when Nick goes to see Jordan before she leaves and she tells him she's engaged to be married and Nick left her house kind of angry. If he didn't have any feelings for Jordan I doubt there would have been any anger involved.

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