Narrative in "The Great Gatsby" - Essay Question: How is Nick and ineffective or effective narrator in "The Great Gatsby"

Essay by Trent_in_ChinaHigh School, 11th gradeA, August 2006

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In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the well situated, tolerant and open-minded narrator, Nick Caraway to effectively narrate the story of the morally decaying society in the 1920's Jazz age.

Fitzgerald opens the novel by introducing the reader to the narrator, Nick Caraway. Nick has recently moved away from his exhausted and bitter experience in the East and is now telling his story through the filter of time. Nick is recounting these distant events by way of memory, making it essential that the reader trusts his knowledge of these past events, seeing how time can disfigure recollections. Because the novel is narrated in third person, Nick is the only source of information for the reader, making it essential that the reader is able to trust Nick's opinion and judgment. To establish the necessary faith within Nick, Fitzgerald gives the reader certain details that make Nick an adequate narrator. To persuade the reader of his moral judgment Nick explains "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."(5) From this quote the reader understands Nick is from a family that values a sense of moral judgment, encouraging the reader to gain more confidence in Nick's moral judgment. As Nick continues to sell himself as a narrator, he informs the reader he is an educated man, graduating from the respectful University of Yale, to empathize he is inelegant, and he will be able to recount the past events accurately. Nick describes his family to have been "prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations. The Caraways are something of a clan and we have...