The Great Gatsby

Novel as a Whole , Discuss Nick Carraway's character. How reliable is he as a narrator? What aspects of his character make him an effective narrator?

Its over the whole novel .

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Nick carraway is made the narrator he is a reliable one he tells us that he reserves all his judgments therefore the reader is lead to believe what he is saying is coming from an 3rd person objective point of view. Nick's history seems to be upper middle class and quite "normal" as opposed to the vapid elite of East Egg. Nick is a pretty credible character. He doesn't have any eccentricities and seems grounded. He was educated at the Ivy School Yale and fought in WW1. Nick isn't a character who needs anything. He seems to have enough money to settle down in West Egg. He has come to New York for work and to learn the bond business; he doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get starte. For much of the novel Nick is more or less a flat character. We can see life in West Egg through him. Nick observes situations without giving judgment. This allows the reader to trust Nick as a narrator and finally a character in the novel.

However, almost instantly after saying he is inclined to resevere all judgements, he tells us his judgements on people who are "veteran bores". Also, there are many points where he places narrative gaps, distorts time-frames and forces the reader to see people through the judgements he has placed on them. An example of these include: Chapter 2, Nick is in the lift with Mr McKee "'All right,' I agreed, 'I'll be glad to [come to dinner some time]'... I was standing beside his bed..." The first ellipsis is in the narrative where Nick has left out a whole chunk of his night; Chapter 4, "'[reading back] I see I have given the impression that the event of 3 nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me. On the contrary..." not only does Nick break from the main narrative, he goes on to tell us that he's been hiding things (like his personal life) and what he has already told us is told deceptively so; Chapter 4 "A small, flat-nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair that luxuriated in either nostril." This description of someone Nick has just met is rather condemning. It shows how judgemental he is and disallows us an un-jaded view to form our own opinion.


The Great Gatsby