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Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby

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Casey Cooper

on 23 February 2014

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Transcript of Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby

Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby
Character Outline: Nick Carraway
The book's narrator, and one of the most interesting and complex characters
Nick experiences small personal transformations throughout the novel; his honesty and moral standards loosen as he becomes more involved with the Buchanan's, Gatsby, and Jordan Baker
Daisy's "second cousin once removed" and an old classmate of Tom's, he moves from Chicago to the East Coast to pursue a job in bonds
Jay Gatsby's neighbor and closest friend
His subtle sense of humor and intelligence shine through his narration
Character Outline: Jay Gatsby
Significant Interactions in "The Great Gatsby"
Their First Meeting
: Nick and Gatsby meet for the first time at one of Gatsby's parties. Nick is unaware of who he is initially, but he seems to like him.
Gatsby takes Nick to lunch in the city. Gatsby asks, "what's your opinion of me, anyhow?" (pg. 53). Gatsby explains his life story to Nick, and arranges a meeting between Nick and Jordan later that day.
Tea with Daisy:
Nick invites Daisy over for tea, as requested by Gatsby. Gatsby is using Nick as a way to casually rekindle his relationship with Daisy. Nick can see that he is being used in this way, but doesn't seem to care. Gatsby is highly anxious and childish in the moments leading up to Daisy's arrival and Nick tries to calm him down.
Dinner at the Buchanan's:
Daisy invites Nick and Gatsby over for dinner. Gatsby hopes that Daisy will tell Tom that she never loved him and that she is leaving him. Nick watches the evening unfold uncomfortably. He is on Gatsby's side but he does not actively vouch for him. Gatsby is overcome by his emotions, "The words seemed to bite physically into Gatsby." (pg. 108)
After the Accident:
After the fallout in the apartment and the car accident, Daisy and Tom return home. Daisy has chosen Tom, but Gatsby is delirious and believes that Daisy will come around. Gatsby waits guard outside the Buchanan's house all night, making sure Daisy is safe. Nick dislikes Gatsby very much at this moment, for he seems unaffected by the fact that he just killed a woman. "He spoke as if Daisy's reaction was the only thing that mattered." (pg. 117)
The morning of Gatsby's Death:
Nick advises that Gatsby should leave town, to avoid being tracked by police. Gatsby declines, "He couldn't possible leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do." (pg. 120). Nick takes a later train to work because he "didn't want to leave Gatsby." (pg. 125) Nick feels sorry for him, and sees him now as a lonely and delusional young man,
Relationship Analysis
Towards the beginning of the book, Gatsby and Nick have a very reserved and cordial relationship. They are friendly, but Nick feels as though Gatsby is hiding something and that he can't be trusted.
After Gatsby finds out that Nick is Daisy's cousin, they begin spending more time together. Gatsby wants to impress Nick, so that he will have good things to say if Daisy were to ask. It is as though Gatsby is putting on a show for Nick.
Gatsby is a very lonely man, and he latches on to Nick. He is constantly inviting him to do things. This is partly because he enjoys his company, but primarily because he doesn't want to be alone, or because he needs a distraction from his thoughts. In this way Nick is being used, but Nick isn't afraid to reject Gatsby's invitations.
Throughout the book, Nick serves to moderate Gatsby's anxiety and illusions, and to provide reassurance. Nick is supportive of Gatsby, and helps to keep him calm.
Although Nick doesn't get Gatsby's full story until the end of the novel, Nick is very understanding of Gatsby. Nick is loyal and defensive of him, despite the fact that he knows Gatsby may be dishonest.
At the end of the novel, Gatsby puts his friendship with Nick on the backburner as he is completely infatuated with Daisy. However, Nick still remains faithful to him throughout the altercation with Tom. Nick believes Gatsby to be the better man, and he wants Daisy to be happy with him. Gatsby may be dishonest, but Nick knows that his love for Daisy is pure. Eventually Nick can see that Gatsby is desperate and slightly pathetic. He feels sorry for him, and tries to be of comfort.
After Gatsby's death, Nick continues to show his loyalty. It would seem that Nick is the only real friend Gatsby had. Nick's commitment to Gatsby is displayed through his attempt to host a proper funeral, and through his contempt with Daisy for abandoning Gatsby.
"He smiled understandingly- much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life." (40)
"'Look here, old sport, what's your opinion of me, anyhow?'" (53)
"'My house looks well, doesnt it?' he demanded. 'See how the whole front of it catches the light.' I agreed that it was splendid." (74)
"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams- not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion." (79)
"They had forgotten me, but Daisy glanced up and held out her hand; Gatsby didn't know me now at all." (79)
"Human sympathy has its limits." (111)
"I wasnt worth a decent stroke of work, but it was more than that- I didn't want to leave Gatsby. I missed the train, and then another, before I could get myself away. 'I'll call you up,' I said finally." (125)
"'You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.' I've always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever game him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end." (126)
"I found myself on Gatsby's side, and alone... I was responsible, because no one else was interested." (133)
"I began to have a feeling of defiance, of scornful solidarity between Gatsby and me against them all." (135)

Film Adaptations
Discussion Questions
Does Gatsby really like Nick or is he using him to get closer to Daisy?

Could Nick Carraway be homosexual?

Is Nick a better friend to Gatsby or to Tom?
A self- made millionaire, Jay Gatsby recreated himself to become a person he deemed desirable
He grew up poor but refused to accept it as reality, planning and working towards making money and making a name for himself
As a teenager his ambition was simply a born instinct, but he soon found a new motivation: Daisy
Love turned quickly turned to obsession. Although Daisy was married, Gatsby spent the next five years of his life acquiring wealth and prestige in the hopes of impressing Daisy and winning her back
Gatsby uses Nick to get closer to Daisy, but he also values his friendship.
Throughout the novel, it becomes clear that Gatsby struggles with insecurity, childish illusions, neurotic behavior
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