Fitzgerald\'s Thoughts And Nick Carroway
Nick Carraway has a very important part in this novel. He isn’t just one
character among several others. It is through his eyes and ears that we form our
opinions on the other characters. Often, readers of this novel confuse Nick\'s
views with those of F. Scott Fitzgerald\'s because the fictional world he has
created closely resembles the world he himself experienced. But not all
narrators are the voice of the author. Before considering the gap between author
and narrator, we should remember how we, the readers, respond to the narrator\'s
perspective, especially when that voice belongs to a character who, like Nick,
is an active participant in the story. When we, the readers, read any work of
fiction, no matter how realistic or fabulous, we undergo a "suspension of
disbelief". The fictional world creates a new set of boundaries, making
possible or credible events and reactions that might not commonly occur in the
real world, but which have a logic or a plausibility to them in that fictional
world. In order for this to be convincing, we trust the narrator. We take on his
perspective, if not totally, then substantially. He becomes our eyes and ears in
this world and we have to see him as reliable if we are to proceed with the
story\'s development. In The Great Gatsby, Nick goes to some length to establish
his credibility, indeed his moral integrity, in telling this story about this
great man called Gatsby. He begins with a reflection on his own upbringing,
quoting his father\'s words about Nick\'s "advantages", which we could
assume were material but, he soon made it clear that they were spiritual or
moral advantages. Nick wants his reader to know that his upbringing gave him the
moral fiber with which to withstand and pass judgment on an amoral world, such
as the one he had observed the previous summer. He says, rather pompously, that
as a consequence of such an upbringing, he is "inclined to reserve all
judgments" about other people, but then he says that such "tolerance . ..
has a limit". This is the first sign that we can trust this narrator to give
us an even-handed insight to the story that is about to unfold. But, as we later
learn, he neither reserves all judgments nor does his tolerance reach its limit.

Nick is very partial in his way of telling the story about several characters.

He admits early into the story that he makes an exception of judging Gatsby, for
whom he is prepared to suspend both the moral code of his upbringing and the
limit of intolerance, because Gatsby had an "extraordinary gift for hope, a
romantic readiness". This inspired him to a level of friendship and loyalty
that Nick seems unprepared to extend towards others in the novel. Nick overlooks
the moral implication of Gatsby’s bootlegging, his association with
speakeasies, and with Meyer Wolfsheim, the man rumored to have fixed the World

Series in 1919. Yet, he is contemptuous of Jordan Baker for cheating in a mere
golf game. And while he says that he is prepared to forgive this sort of
behavior in a woman: "It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is
a thing you never blame too deeply - I was casually sorry, and then I
forgot," it seems that he cannot accept her for being "incurably
dishonest" and then reflects that his one "cardinal virtue" is
that he is "one of the few honest people" he has ever known. When it
comes to judging women - or perhaps only potential lovers - not only are they
judged, they are judged by how well they stand up to his own virtues. Nick
leaves the mid-West after he returns from the war, understandably restless and
at odds with the traditional, conservative values that, from his account,
haven\'t changed in spite of the tumult of the war. It is this insularity from a
changed world no longer structured by the values that had sent young men to war,
that decides him to go East, to New York, and learn about bonds. But after one
summer out East, a remarkable summer for this morally advantaged young man, he
"decided to come back home" to the security of what is familiar and
traditional. He sought a return to the safety of a place where houses were
referred to by the names of families that had inhabited them for generations; a
security that Nick decides makes Westerners "subtly unacceptable to Eastern
life". By this stage, the East had become for him