Is it true when Nick Carraway in "The Great Gatsby" says, "I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known"?

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Ultimately, Nick wants us to believe that he's an honest man. He wants us to buy into the idea of Gatsby being great, which is the entire point of his narrative. If Nick isn't honest, then perhaps Gatsby isn't all that great either.

I think Nick tries to present the events around meeting and knowing Gatsby as honestly as possible. Yet in this narrative, he also discloses multiple ways that he isn't such an honest fellow himself.

In chapter 2, he accompanies Tom and "his girl," Myrtle, to a secret rendezvous. It seems that at this point Nick might excuse himself from this little gathering. Tom's wife, Daisy, is his cousin. Rather than leaving, he hangs around. He doesn't tell Daisy about this little escapade, either. It seems as though Nick turns a convenient blind eye to Tom's little tryst. That isn't exactly honest.

He also serves as the intermediary for another forbidden relationship: that between Daisy and Gatsby. Though Gatsby is his friend, an honest man certainly wouldn't support an extramarital affair. Nick does, and he even agrees to allow his house to be the couple's initial meeting space. Nick doesn't discourage either Daisy or Gatsby from furthering this relationship.

Nick also knows the truth about Myrtle's death, and he doesn't volunteer this information to the authorities or to Myrtle's husband, who becomes Gatsby's murderer. If Nick had told the truth—that Daisy was actually the driver of the car—Gatsby likely wouldn't have died. Does Nick feel some guilt about his dishonesty in Myrtle's death? Maybe he feels that he needs to convince his audience that he is an honest guy to alleviate his own guilt in his friend's death.

In short, Nick isn't the honest man he claims to be. It's important for us to believe that he possesses this quality because he wants us to believe in the greatness of his friend Gatsby.

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Nick Carraway is the narrator of the story and describes himself as a tolerant, honest man. He says that he does not judge others and attempts to keep his opinions to himself. Despite Nick's insistence that he is an honest, reliable narrator, there is evidence to undermine his claim. Most obviously, Nick goes out of his way to help his cousin Daisy carry on an affair behind her husband's back with the affluent, mysterious Jay Gatsby. Daisy's husband is Tom Buchanan, who Nick has known since high school. By being involved in Daisy and Gatsby's affair and purposely keeping their relationship a secret from Tom, Nick Carraway reveals that he is a dishonest person.

Besides condoning affairs, there is evidence Nick is also having one himself. Before leaving the Buchanan household, Tom and Daisy ask him about his fiancée out West. Nick denies that he is engaged. However, Daisy mentions that she heard it from at least three people. Nick insists that he is not "vaguely engaged." He refuses to elaborate on his relationship back home, which is something the audience finds suspicious and concerning. Later on, Nick admits to singing letters "Love, Nick" to the woman out West while he is dating Jordan Baker. Therefore, it appears that Nick is cheating on a woman who he is either engaged to or plans on marrying, which is further evidence that he is a dishonest man.

Nick refrains from telling Tom Buchanan the truth about Myrtle's death. He chooses not to inform the authorities of Daisy's involvement in the incident, which is more evidence of his dishonesty.

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Nick Carraway is not an honest person. We will get back to the rest of the interesting passage in which Nick declares his honesty in a moment, but for now, let's start with the big picture: Nick aids and abets Gatsby and Daisy in having an affair. We may sympathize with him--Tom is adulterous and brutal--but, nevertheless, it is not precisely honest to help a married woman, especially one whose husband is your friend, have an affair with another man. Nick carefully keeps this concealed from Tom, as we realize when Tom recognizes, with surprise, that everybody but him knew this was going on. 

Getting back to the passage about honesty, Nick first ponders Jordan and her possible cheating at golf, concluding that she is "incurably dishonest." Then he feels, in a flash, that he is falling in love with her, after dating her casually: has that careless dating, in itself, been deceptive? Has he encouraged Jordan to believe he feels more than "tender curiosity" about her? Whether yes or no, he then admits to the reader, if not to himself, his dishonesty in his relationship with a woman back home. He calls it a "tangle" and says that he has been signing his letters to her "Love, Nick." However, she seems to repulse him. He says "all I could think of was ... a faint mustache of perspiration ... on her upper lip." He says "there was a vague understanding" that has to be "tactfully broken off" for him to be "free."

In other words, he has been dating Jordan while stringing another woman along. That may be human behavior, but it is not precisely honest behavior. It is at this point, however, that he declares "I am one of the few honest people I have ever known."

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In The Great Gatsby, when Nick Carroway says,"...I am one of the few honest people I have ever known," is he telling the truth?

This is a complex question. During the opening section of the novel, Nick discusses his humility while also describing his own ambitions and arrogance. We might resonably ask if he is discussing "honesty" in the same ironic manner. 

There is little evidence to suggest that Nick is lying when he says he is honest, but there is adequate evidence to suggest that we should see more than one meaning to his boast - and this is, importantly, a boast. In the opening chapter, Nick states "snobbishly" that he is possessed of real virtue - the virtues of forbearance and humilty in particular. 

We should also consider the larger irony of the opening section when assessing Nick's later claims. Nick states that the "intimate revelations of young men" are "usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions", yet he is essentially offering a preamble to an intimate revelation of his own. This is no coincidence. This notion is weighted with irony.

The resulting complexity regarding Nick's candor can be applied also to Nick's claim of honesty. Just as Nick derides his own ambition to become "that most limited of all specialists, the 'well-rounded man'", we might wonder if his claims of honesty are undermined by his affiliations with liars, his tendencies to obfuscate and "suppress", and reflective of a certain self-serving self-deceit. 

Given the complexity of Nick's self-presentation in the opening section, all of his later claims are suspect to some degree. When we also consider the rumors of his relationship with a college sweetheart that are discussed as false in the first chapter, we might add even more suspicion to his claims of honesty as they appear in the immediate aftermath of a visit with his new girlfriend, Jordan.

Nick brings up that old relationship just before saying he "suspects himself" of honesty.

With so many layers to read through, we cannot simply say that Nick is lying when he says he is honest. Nor can we assume he is telling a simple truth. 

As Nick's claim to honesty is actually presented as a suspicion, we might ask if this is a moment where Nick decieves himself willfully as Gatsby, Daisy, and others do elsewhere in the novel, and suspects that this is exactly what he is doing.

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