He doesn't have any eccentricities and seems grounded. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. This essence is again brought to life in Chapter 2 when he doesn't quite know how to respond to being introduced into Tom and Myrtle's secret world (notice, however, that he doesn't feel the need to tell anyone about his adventures). You can read in detail about these lines in our article about the novel's ending. In Chapter 1, he is invited to his cousin Daisy Buchanan's home to have dinner with her and her husband Tom, an old college acquaintance of his. Related to Tom but were friends at Yale. ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score, How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, Is the ACT easier than the SAT? However, keep in mind that scorn is earned over the course of the novel, and Nick writes the opening narration looking back at everything. Yet, we cannot overlook the fact that Nick does appear to really admire Gatsby and certainly prefers him to the rest of the shallow, self-serving milieu in which he moves. But if you think the protagonist is the person who changes the most, you could argue Nick is the hero. Part of Fitzgerald's skill in The Great Gatsby shines through the way he cleverly makes Nick a focal point of the action, while simultaneously allowing him to remain sufficiently in the background. (9.127), On the last night, with my trunk packed and my car sold to the grocer, I went over and looked at that huge incoherent failure of a house once more. Relatives: Daisy Buchanan is wife, Nick is cousin-in-law, Relatives: Tom Buchanan (husband), Nick (cousin). If Gatsby represents one part of Fitzgerald’s personality, the flashy celebrity who pursued and glorified wealth in order to impress the woman he loved, then Nick represents another part: the quiet, reflective Midwesterner adrift in the lurid East. When Wolfshiem vouches for Gatsby's "fine breeding," (4.99) Nick seems even more suspicious of Gatsby's origins. 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. Nick attended Yale, like his father, and then fought in WWI. In Chapter 4 they drive to Manhattan together. This little detail divulges a few things: It places the Carraways in a particular class (because only the wealthy could afford to send a substitute to fight) and suggests that the early Carraways were more tied to commerce than justice. Notice how warm Nick's description is: But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. Do you have to take this reading as fact? Traits: Nick often says he is not judgmental but proves to be hypocritical. He hails from the upper Midwest (Minnesota or Wisconsin) and has supposedly been raised on stereotypical Midwestern values (hard work, perseverance, justice, and so on). In my reading, Nick, as someone who rarely steps outside of social boundaries and rarely gets "carried away" with love or emotion (see how coldly he ends not one but three love affairs in the book! . Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away. When the other characters scatter to the wind after Gatsby's death, Nick, unable to believe that none of Gatsby's associates will even pay their last respects, picks up the pieces and ensures Gatsby isn't alone in his death. Nick agrees to arrange a meeting between Daisy and Gatsby, which occurs in Chapter 5. Nick's relative apparently doesn't have any qualms about sending a poorer man off to be killed in his stead. So instead, as the theory goes, his love for and attraction to for Gatsby is mirrored through a filter of intense admiration. In Chapter 3, again Nick comes off as less mercenary than everyone else in the book as he waits for an invitation to attend one of Gatsby's parties, and then when he does, he takes the time to seek out his host. However, since this was the 1920s, he couldn't exactly be out and proud, which is why he would never frankly admit to being attracted to men in his sober narration. This makes Nick himself somewhat tricky to observe, since we see the whole novel through his eyes. Perhaps the least subtle car in the history of cars. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Their break-up scene is really helpful to analyze to answer this question: "Nevertheless you did throw me over," said Jordan suddenly. They invite over a bunch of friends and a drunken party ensues. He is an educated man who desires more out of life than the quiet Midwest can deliver (although it is interesting that before living in the city any length of time he retreats to the country). Ask below and we'll reply! Nick observes situations without giving judgment. To find a quotation we cite via chapter and paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball it (Paragraph 1-50: beginning of chapter; 50-100: middle of chapter; 100-on: end of chapter), or use the search function if you're using an online or eReader version of the text. Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away. ", "I'm thirty," I said. This is a summary of everything Nick does during the novel, leaving out flashbacks he hears from other characters. Nick witnesses some of Tom's ugliest behavior, including his physical abuse of Myrtle. ", "You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Pay close attention to moments, especially Nick's encounters with Jordan, that give you a glimpse at Nick's emotions and vulnerabilities. The first lines establish Nick as thoughtful, thorough, privileged, and judgmental. I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. First of all, consider the odd moment at the end of Chapter 2 that seems to suggest Nick goes home with Mr. McKee: "Come to lunch some day," he suggested, as we groaned down in the elevator. Nick as a character 1. However, what we do see—the elevator boy chiding him to "keep your hands off the lever" (hint hint wink wink nudge nudge), shortly followed by Nick saying "I was standing beside [Mr. McKee's bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear"—seems to pretty strongly suggest a sexual encounter. Pictured: the rose-tinted glasses Nick apparently starts to see Gatsby through. In particular, Nick seems quite attracted to Jordan and being with her makes a phrase "beat" in his ears with "heady excitement." The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard … My own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor's lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires—all for eighty dollars a month.". © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
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