The Great Gatsby

Nick Carraway: An Unlikely Narrator 11th Grade

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby,” opens with this piece of advice quoted to Nick, the narrator of the story, by his father. Those words having stuck with him throughout the years, Nick explains that he is unbiased and “inclined to reserve all judgments” (Fitzgerald 1). As a narrator, these traits are crucial for an accurate account of the story, partially due to the fact that several characters throughout the novel contain faults that subject them to bias. However, Nick’s thoughts and actions prove to be contradictory to his self-description, which evokes the question of whether or not his narrative is accurate. Nick’s indecisiveness as well as his shallow and partial nature limits the extent of the reader’s trust, therefore making his narrative unreliable.

In his book, “Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days,” American literary critic Scott Donaldson, claims that Nick’s “basic contempt for mankind emerges in what he says and thinks as well as in descriptions of others.” Nick’s instinctive inclination to initially judge others’ physical appearances further justifies this...

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