Gatsby Q #1: About Nick

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Gatsby Q #1: About Nick

Gatsby is a short book, I finished it last night, so I'm going to post a few discussion questions over the next few days. If you haven't finished yet, that's okay. Join us when you're ready.

Nick believes he is an honest, nonjudgmental narrator. Do you agree?

In what way do the events of the novel affect Nick Carraway? How, or to what degree, does he change? (Some see this work as a coming-of-age story.)

I haven't quite finished the book yet, so will come back later!!

As a teacher for literature I can say fore sure that Nick can not be a nonjudgmental narrator, he pretends to be. But since every character has his own background, life, preferences, habits and attitude, he has to be judging. I think this is even in the first chapter noticeable in how he reacts on Tom having a "a woman in New York".

I think Sybille is right, we all come to a situation with preconceived notions, even if we are not aware that we have them. I think the whole tale saddens him. I don't think his life had much direction in the beginning and I am not sure he is much better off at the end. It is a sad sorry tale that seems pointless.

I definitely don't think he's non-judgemental even though he is striving to be. "Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope."
Even earlier in the book, he talked about the guys he would get stuck listening to in college and how he'd try to get out of the role.
I do think he's honest in his convictions, even though he's not forthcoming with all the information he has.

I don't see it as him coming of age, and I don't think he takes enough responsibility for his role in what happened. If he had just told Daisy what he knew about Myrtle, maybe she would have left Tom this time since she had a replacement husband in Gatsby.Or even if he'd told Gatsby, you know he would have come up with a way to have Daisy find out on her own.
Jordan tries calls him out on it the last time he sees her by saying she thought he was honest and straightforward. He replies, "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor." But he doesn't tell the police or anyone else the truth either. He runs away from everyone and goes back home.

Just because he's observant enough to see that everyone else in his circle is careless and childish, it doesn't mean he's introspective enough to identify similar traits in himself and learn from it. Just because he's boring, that doesn't make him a good guy, either.

Well said Tiffany! I don't think it is a coming of age story - he has his 30th birthday 2/3 the way through. It doesn't even seem as if he has had a wake up call and re channeled his life. More slunk off home with his tail between his legs! I find myself wondering what kind of film they made it into.

I've always felt like Nick got in too far over his head. He had these kind of immature dreams to make it big in the city, and when he got there and discovered what it would be like to make it big, he had enough character to give it up and go back to a good life. In some ways I think he was lucky to have all these experiences right away, rather than toiling after a dream and only years later discovering it was empty.

I think Nick not Gatsby is the main character of the book - he is the one that we know most about, including his inner thoughts thanks to his role as a narrator, and he is the one who is the centre of it all and the other characters dance around him (though I do not think it can really be called a coming of age story).

I think Nick believes himself to be nonjudgemental but he fails - as so many of us do - to meet his own standards. Tiffany has hit the nail on the head for me too - he is quick to analyse others' behaviours and does not take the trouble to look at his own. I found him careless and childish and cowardly. He goes with Tom to meet his mistress and arranges secret meetings between Gatsby and Daisy, he lies about a murder, has the most non-eventful relationship in the world with Jordan and some odd liasson withMr McKee in his underware (was that to hint that he may be gay/bisexual?). He is lacking in honesty, honour and conviction. All in all he is an odd choice of narrator but it does work somehow. He has to be as he is to be privy to all the goings on that he reveals.

I do agree with Marisa too - he did get in over his head, his shiny dreams were not what he expected them to be and he had the sense to know that he did not belong and to go home. He also has to be commended for trying to sort out the funeral and next of kin notices for Gatsby; though his relationship with Gatsby is odd and probably deserves a page of its own. He idolised the man and I am not sure why, as there was little to admire.

Like Angela, I found the story as a whole slightly pointless and lacking the impact I expected from such a famous book. There were aspects of the writing that I loved, Fitzgerald can certainly craft a beautiful sentence at times, and I'm glad I've read it but for me the storyline lacked impact and the characters were all ugly, unlikeable people.

I do agree that Nick is coward - and that his lack of action is somehow disturbing. However, I´m not sure if he didn´t grow - for one side, I think it´s impossible to pass through something as Gatsby funerals without changing - it´s a very sad situation. And, at least, he tried to help even having always disliking him. On the other hand, if he had learned something, shouldn´t he act in other way when he met Tom?

From the reader´s point of view, we can consider that he "wrote" the story to try telling what remained untold on the situation... Maybe to try getting rid of regretful feelings... He´s the only person who stayed alive that knows the hole story...

Sorry I'm so late in answering, I've been sick and busy all week so I've barely been on long enough to sit and answer!

I definitely think that Nick tries to be non judgemental but everyone comes into a situation having some formed thoughts and judgements so I feel it's nearly impossible for anyone, in real life or fictional character, to not have any judgements or opinions. I think Nick got in over his head and then ran away like a coward and returned home.

I think I finally realized why I had such a hard time reading this in high school because I had a hard time finishing it this time around as well, and the movie is mediocre though Leo makes a great Gatsby (no pun intended but totally acknowledged).

Not seen the latest film and can barely remember the older one but I shall watch it when it hits Sky soemtime. I am intrigued how they extend this into a whole film.