A good narrator has the ability to distance himself from the rest of the audience and to be able to describe things in detail. While the narrator inThe Great Gatsby; Nick Caraway, refrains from going into detail about his personal thoughts, he does however, explain the book in great detail. At the beginning of the book, Nick describes what happens to Gatsby in a general synopsis which shows to the reader how literate Nick is. Nick, like many characters in The Great Gatsby battles between internal and external forces which shows the conflicts he goes through throughout the book. The battle between his morals and the unnatural people in the book is a major theme that occurs throughout. However, as a narrator inThe Great Gatsby, can Nick be considered a reliable narrator? Nick Caraway is a reliable and suitable narrator because of the amount of detail he goes into, his non-judgemental - honest, and tolerant attitude which makes him a trustworthy character. And as the novel progresses, he faces inner and external battles with himself and those around him showing that he is rational and a natural character.In the first few pages alone, F Scott Fitzgerald was able to portray how literate Nick is and how he is a suitable narrator.
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The ability of Nick to describe the events that take place around him in an unrushed, logical manner shows that Nick is a reliable narrator.Nick describes the novel in great detail, allowing the reader to picture what hesees and how he feels. "He found the house, a weather-beaten [cardboard bungalow] at eighty a month" (Fitzgerald 9). Within the first few pages, Nick easily describes what his 'house' looks like and the living conditions that he's in. "I enjoyed looking at her. She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body. Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me [with a charming, discontented face]" (Fitzgerald16). It seems that Nick is talented in describing every detail that he sees, and during this meeting between Nick, Daisy, Tom and the ever-so-charming Jordan Baker, provides a Nick an insight into the type of lives that Daisy, Tom and Jordan actually live. With this insight, the reader insinuates that Nick feels an awkwardness in the conversation; as if Daisy, Tom and Jordan are trying very hard to keep themselves and their guest - Nick, entertained - that is, until dinner is served. "They were here, [making only a polite pleasant effort to entertain or be entertained]. They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening too would be over and casually put away" (Fitzgerald 16). The quote also indicates how Nick can pick up on small details and uses them to understand what is going on. This ability allows Nick and the reader to completely understand what is going on at all times in the novel. Fitzgerald portrays the symbols in the novel through the narrator - Nick, who is able to describe things in great detail and in an unflawed, seaming less manner. "Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night.'God sees everything,' repeated Wilson" (Fitzgerald 152). One of the major symbols in The Great Gatsby are the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, who is interpreted as the 'god' or the one 'person' that oversees everybody and everything they do. He is known as the one looking down and judging the American society and in the end of the novel; Fitzgerald shows through Nick that the eyes represent a sense of direction that you're currently in. To Tom, the eyes represent how he is successful and is living the American Dream; however, too Wilson, the eyes mock him and how he desperately needs to leave the valley of ash and move east. This is why he is always asking for Tom's car which is his segue to a new and improved life. Nick also is able to determine how Gatsby failed to achieve the American Dream. "Gatsbybelieved in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms fartherâ€¦. And one fine morning" (Fitzgerald171). "He 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, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night" (Fitzgerald 171). Nick believes that Gatsby was blinded with his need to have Daisy to complete his dream. As Gatsby became closer to Daisy, he became more careless, which led to his downfall. "-And it occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well" (Fitzgerald 133). Near the end of the novel, Nick realizes through the use of heat [which is another major symbol in the novel] that Tom and Wilson aren't that different and both of them are going through the same things. The ability of Nick to determine symbols allows him to be a reliable and suitable narrator, but also his trustworthy appearance allows him to gather information to keep the pace of the novel fast-paced.
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In addition to Nick's ability to describe things in detail, his trustworthy appearance allows Nick to be portrayed as the perfect narrator for The Great Gatsby.The fact that Tom allows Nick to see his mistress and meet her indicates that Tom trusts Nick. Not only does Tom trust Nick, but Gatsby also trusts him as well and it's proven through their conversation when Gatsby confides in Nick about his love for Daisy. Gatsby also states how he actually gets his money and how he deals with the shady character; Mister Wolfshiem. "'Meyer Wolfshiem? No, he's a gambler.' Gatsby hesitated, and then added coolly: 'He's the man who fixed the World's Series back in 1919" (Fitzgerald 79). Though Nick is in disbelief when Gatsby tells him this; it proves that Nick is indeed, a trustworthy character and that Gatsby truly trusts Nick. Throughout the novel, Gatsby doesn't have much interaction with a variety of people and it means that Gatsby isn't very sociable; even though he throws huge, extravagant parties. To emphasize, Gatsby only confides in Nick and this shows how close Nick and Gatsby truly were. "'We were close friends' (Fitzgerald 179). It seems that not only Tom and Gatsby trust Nick, but Jordan does as well. "I was bridesmaid. I came into her room half an hour before the bridal dinner, and found her lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress-and as drunk as a monkey. She had a bottle of sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other" (Fitzgerald 82). Jordan is the driving factor for Nick to change throughout the novel. Her unnatural behavior is what attracts Nick to her and the fact that both Nick and Jordan are dating each other also proves that Jordan trusts Nick. Fitzgerald has rendered Nick as a trustworthy man in order to prove how unnatural and corrupted the people around him are. It seems that through Nick, the reader can see how Fitzgerald wants to portray how trustworthy Nick is, and the reader is able to see this because every major character in the novel somehow entrusts Nick with something significant. Because of this, Nick can be considered a reliable narrator.
Nick faces internal and external battles throughout the book which states the obvious; Nick is not only a narrator in the novel, but also a character that is facing similar problems that the other characters are also going through. One of the major issues he faces is right at the beginning, which is something his father told him. "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 any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had'" (Fitzgerald 7). Throughout the novel, Nick always holds back from criticising a person, which is the one thing that makes him flawed. He misinterprets the quote from his father and believes to have some higher-moral class than everyone else around him which is the reason why he is so interested of the rich. His interest in the unnatural increases as the novel progresses and it can be seen more easily the more Nick interacts with them. Nick undergoes an internal battle when he first sees Gatsby. "He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life" (Fitzgerald 53). During his first meeting with Gatsby, Nick was astonished by Gatsby. During the party, the guests gave Nick bad vibes about Gatsby; however, he ignores them and continues to be intrigued by him. Nick knows that Gatsby is a bootlegger and a cheat, but he still enjoys his company and because of this; the morals of Nick and his ego eat at each other until the very ending where Nick decides to stay away from Gatsby - evidently, it's the same day that Gatsby ends up dead. In the ending, he faces external battles with everyone he sees. Gatsby's father isn't as sad as he should be and Nick thinks that Gatsby's father fails to understand that Gatsby is truly dead and never coming back. Nick tries to find Daisy, who, with Tom, has left to go on a vacation and finds that suspicious. His relationship with Jordan has crumbled and it seems that even Meyer Wolfshiem's attitude towards Gatsby's death has angered Nick. Overall, Nick battles with his inner self and those around him, supporting the claim that Nick is a reliable narrator because he is also a character in the story itself. He feels and experiences everything that occurs and because of this, Nick is an ideal narrator.
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Nick Carraway is a reliable narrator because of the fact that he is trustworthy, battles with his inner self and those around him and has an ability to describe the events that take place in great detail. Nick is also somewhat biased in a way, and because of this, it doesn't make him irrational, but quite the opposite. The way Fitzgerald introduces everything and how he tells the story through the character of Nick, it emphasises the symbols, the themes and even the meaning of the story and because of this, Nick Carraway is an ideal and reliable narrator in the novel The Great Gatsby.