The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

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The story of The Great Gatsby is told through the narration of Nick Carraway. It is apparent from the first chapter of the book, that the events Nick writes about had a profound impact on him and caused a tremendous shift in his views of the world. Nick Carraway is as much a symbol as the green light or blue eyes. Nick Carraway is unreliable because Fitzgerald intended him to be, he is heavily biased, extremely dishonest and a hypocrite.
Throughout The Great Gatsby one of the most prominent techniques Fitzgerald used was symbolism. This symbolism was as prevalent in his characters as it was in his use of color, especially in the narrator, Nick. It’s established in the first chapters of the novel that Carraway has high standards for not only himself, but those around him; This viewpoint sets him apart from the rest of the characters as he appears to be the only character with morals. Nick’s moral viewpoint makes it virtually impossible for him to be reliable, as his sole purpose in the story is to make the other characters look bad and immoral. Thus for his role as judge to be fulfilled, he must decide which characters are good and which are bad- which he does with seemingly no hesitation. Nick seems to be searching for the bad in the people around him from the moment he arrives he judges Tom, “I lived at West Egg, the-well, the less fashionable of the two,” (Fitzgerald 5) to when he finally leaves “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….” (Fitzgerald 179). A reliable narrators job is to accurately and detachedly recount the ...


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...n he, himself, is also a liar. Nick also tells of how shallow his “friends” are but he himself is shallow as well. Nick cannot be relied upon to practice what he preaches and therefore cannot be relied upon to write the complete truth. Nick’s hypocritical nature demolishes his credibility as a person, and therefore as a narrator.
As an unreliable person cannot be considered a credible source, Nick Carraway does not reflect the characteristics of a reliable narrator. From the very beginning Nick had no chance of being reliable, due to his god-like role assigned to him by Fitzgerald. This role not only gave him motivation to paint others in a poor light but also opportunities to show just how human he is in his hypocrisy. As Nick is human and a main component of the story, his narration is heavily biased in favor of Gatsby and this is made apparent in his narrations.

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