Nick versus Gatsby
Mainframe computers analyze information and present it so that the observer is able to make accurate observations. In The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator, Nick Carraway, tells a story in which Jay Gatsby tries to attain happiness through wealth. Even though the novel is titled after Gatsby, Nick, just as a mainframe computer, analyzes the actions of others and presents the story so that the reader can comprehend the theme. Throughout the novel, Nick is the vehicle used to gather all of the pieces together to learn about Gatsby. Nick is a one of a kind in the novel. He also is the only character that changes in the novel from the beginning to the end.
Nick is the literary device that is employed to learn about Gatsby, which ultimately tells the theme of the story. Throughout the novel, flashbacks are inserted, courtesy of Nick, to reveal piece by piece about the mysterious Gatsby. Nick patches the pieces of the puzzle together regarding Gatsby?s past and lack of a future. Nick is like the box of a puzzle; the puzzle is impossible to put together without it. Without Nick, the reader?s opinion of Gatsby would be drastically different. The reader?s opinion would be swayed by the idea that Gatsby becomes rich via bootlegging alcohol and counterfeiting bonds. Nick persuades the observer that Gatsby is “?worth the whole damn bunch (rich class) put together”(162). Even though Gatsby aspires to be part of the upper echelon, he, fortunately, is different from them. Nick also analyzes Gatsby?s behavior in order to provide the reader with details and a summary of the great man. At the end of the novel, Nick comments on Gatsby?s life by stating that “(Gatsby) had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him”(189). Without Nick, Gatsby?s true colors would not be shown and his behavior would be left not pondered. His presence from the beginning to the end of the novel is imperative. Nick?s uniqueness parallels his importance in the novel.
Nick is very unique and different from all of the other characters in The Great Gatsby. Most of the characters symbolize reckless people during the “rip roaring twenties” that only want to be in the “fast lane” and do not give a damn about others. Nick sticks out of this crowd like a “sore thumb”. Geographically, Nick was raised in the “friendly” middle-east, while the book takes place in the “snobby” east. Tom, which is a representative of the rich, casually has an affair with Mrytle while with Daisy. On the other hand, Nick does not get involved with Jordan extensively because he has not broken relations with his old girlfriend in Chicago. He promises himself that “there (is) a vague understanding that (has) to be tactfully broken off before I (am) free”(p64). As a result of Nick?s and the other character?s differing values, he is considered an outsider. Only several times is Nick invited to rich gatherings. When he is “partying” with the rich, he resents the fact that they merely drink and gossip. Nick?s uniqueness is probably best illustrated by Gatsby?s funeral. Even though Nick knew Gatsby the least amount of time of all of his friends, he is one of the only participants at the funeral. Klipspringer, one of Gatsby?s friends, symbolizes the morals of the rich by stating that he cares more about his own tennis shoes, than attending Gatsby?s funeral. Another one of Gatsby?s “friends” cannot attend the funeral because he is “tied up in some very important business and cannot get mixed up in this thing now”(174). Nick is totally different than everyone else, which ultimately puts him in the spotlight. Since he is exposed, it becomes obvious that his character changes.
Unlike any other character in the novel, Nick undergoes a change from the beginning to the end. Even the “Great Gatsby” stays the same still believing he will obtain Daisy and happiness with the acquisition of money. The society accepts that Jordan, Nick?s new girlfriend, cheats in golf and society even accepts affairs-the ultimate dishonesty in relationships. At the beginning of the story, Nick tries to become part of the rich society by accepting Jordan?s dishonesty. He rationalizes that “it made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a women is a thing you never blame deeply?I was casually sorry, and then I forgot”(p63). He also “chums” around with Tom and Mrytle to tries to fit in at their parties. Nick also believes that Gatsby is a fake, unlike the Buchanans. As the novel progresses, Nick learns and changes. When Mrytle and Gatsby die, Tom and Daisy symbolically take a trip to Europe. This portrays the idea that the rich buy out of trouble and their carelessness. Nick comments that “(The rich) (are) careless people, Tom and Daisy-they (smash) up things and creatures and then (retreat) back into their money or their vast carelessness? and let other people clean up the mess they had made”(187-188). He finally realizes how selfish and irresponsible the rich are. As an example, Nick is disgusted at the fact that Jordan feels no remorse for the Mrtyle?s death and is only worried about dinner. Nick?s opinion of Gatsby changes as well. He realizes that Gatsby is too worthy a man to have an empty funeral. Therefore Nick promises to the late Gatsby “Just trust me and I?ll get somebody for you-” (172).
Throughout the novel, Nick is instrumental as voice that tells the reader about Gatsby. He is “both within and without”, never really assimilating like the rich. Most importantly, Nick is the only character in the novel that changes. Nick Carraway is the main character of the novel. Without Nick, the important allegorical message would not be illustrated: Money cannot buy love, friends, and family. It is a fake form of security!