What does Nick appreciate about the middle-west in The Great Gatsby?

Expert Answers

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

Nick Carraway is from the Midwest himself, and though he idealizes the values that characterize stereotypes of people from this part of America, he does acknowledge the tedious nature of life in that region. Despite the monotonous feeling of life in the Midwest, Nick appreciates the practicality of Midwesterners, as well as their openness to hard work and their just treatment of others, generally speaking.

Nick himself is a grounded person, as evidenced by his ability to resist the influence of Gatsby's social set that offends him with their phony allegiances and shoddy manners. Though Nick is attracted to the excitement they offer, he refuses to get too close. His Midwestern levelheadedness keeps him true to himself, another example of a Midwestern characteristic he appreciates.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Nick criticizes those who live in the east for any length of time because he believes it corrupts their character. We see this in Daisy, Tom, and even Gatsby himself. Likewise, those from the west are just as guilt as they bring with them their rough-minded, violent ways of solving their own problems. It is the middle-west, where Nick is from and where Jay Gatz is originally from, that represents the good and honorable in the novel. It is the place where the enlightened Nick intends to return at the end of the novel. Set against this is the portrayal of East and West Egg which basically follow these same patterns--East Egg being where Daisy and Tom reside; West Egg being where Nick and Gatsby reside.

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