In The Great Gatsby, what else has Nick been doing, when he's not going to parties?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After recounting the events of the party in the New York apartment with Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson and the events of Gatsby's wild party at his estate in West Egg, Nick tells the reader that most of his time was spent working in New York. He had come East to begin a career in finance, supported for a year by his family, and he pursued it with diligence:

Most of the time I worked. In the early morning the sun threw my shadow westward as I hurried down the white chasms of lower New York to the Probity Trust.

Nick also says that he usually ate dinner in the city at the Yale Club, followed by spending "a conscientious hour" in the library upstairs where he studied investments and securities. Since few people came upstairs to the library, Nick found it was "a good place to work." After work, Nick would sometimes walk the city alone; sometimes he felt lonely.

This accounting of Nick's time emphasizes that he possesses a strong work ethic. Furthermore, he needs to work. He must establish a career to support himself; he is not a member of the idle rich who live on inherited wealth, and he is not a gangster who will steal wealth. In fact, of all the characters in the novel, only Nick and George Wilson hold down jobs.

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The Great Gatsby

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