Do Nick and Gatsby represent opposing facets of Fitzgerald's personality, and if so, what personalities do they represent?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

To answer this question-you will have to study Fitzgerald! While it can certainly be seen that Fitzgerald put admirable characteristics in both Jay GAtsby and Nick Carraway that Fitzgerald hoped he possessed, it could also be wishful thinking on his part. Fitzgerald seemed to have a love/hate relationship with the elite class. He went into debt traipsing after them on the Riviera-yet was not a true part of their social class. Most convincing of some aspect of his personality being invested in Gatsby-is the portrayal of Gatsby as attempting to imitate his perception of what wealthy, cultured men wear, say, and behave. Yet, Gatsby never belongs, no matter how hard he tries.
Perhaps he wishes to have had Nick's self -assured manner-he gave Nick morality, assurance, and stability.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles really know whether this is true or false, you have to know a little bit about Fitzgerald himself. Fitzgerald, like Gatsby, had an obsessesion with the wealthy. Most of his novels and stories revolve around the wealthy, and he worked hard for his place of acceptance among them. Although one side of his family had the wealth, the other side had (as they say) the breeding. So although Fitzgerald could sort of claim to be part of the upper-class society, he still was an outsider. In that way he was like Gatsby. Like Nick, Fitzgerald was from the Midwest, so he had the mid-western values that Nick shows.

To really see where these personalities combine to become combustible, one simply has to think about Fitzgerald's time in the Riviera. Fitzgerald and Zelda (his wife) quickly became friends with the upper class in the Riviera (like Nick with Dasiy and Tom) known for their extravagance, the FItzgerald's would throw huge, wild parties (like Gatsby). At these parties they would somehow (because of how drunk they were) do something to offend all of their new upper-class friends, and the party would end. It was definintly a battle inside Fitgerald to control and combine to live in peace with the two sides of his personality represented in The Great Gatsby, by Nick and Gatsby.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial