In The Great Gatsby chapter 2, why does Nick identify with "the casual watcher in the darkening street"?

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Within the riotous, if not scandalous, atmosphere of the apartment that Tom has rented for Myrtle and in which Nick finds himself within an assortment of odd afternoon partyers in Chapter 2 , Nick feels detached from (yet, as always, acutely observant of) what is unfolding around him. His narrative...

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stance allows him to conclude, based on his own description, that what is going on in the apartment—the seemingly meaninglessness exchanges and general frivolity—is possibly going on unnoticed in countless apartments around the city. He feels that he is "within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."

It is worth noting that Nick feels this way about almost all that he observes throughout the novel. Of further interest is that Nick can see himself in the scene. Referring to the "casual observer" in the street beneath the apartment, he thinks, "I was with him, too, looking up and wondering." This constitutes a significant formal apparatus employed by Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby": as an internal narrator, Nick is able to be both a character in the story, swept up in the tumult of Gatsby and Daisy's world, and the detached observer, appalled by human affairs.

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Nick is our narrator; he is the one who observes what is going on during the summer of the story and reports to us what he saw.  He identifies with the observer in the street because he sees that person as being an objective reporter of the scene. As Nick reports the events of that night in Tom's and Myrtle's secret apartment in the city where they carry out their illicit affair, he is drinking heavily.  Because he was drunk, he tells us earlier in the chapter that everything that happened had a "dim, hazy cast over it".  That is the reason that the narration tends to ramble and jump haphazardly from one observation to the next.  Nick sees the man in the street and imagines that the man sees the row of lighted windows in Tom's and Myrtle's apartment and wonders about what is going on there and in any other lighted rooms. Nick says the man probably is both enchanted and repelled by the variety of life, just as Nick felt that way by the variety of people in the apartment.

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