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Why Nick Carraway is the Narrator of The Great Gatsby

This seminar should be 90%. Anything below an 80% is bullshit.


on 15 May 2014

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Transcript of Why Nick Carraway is the Narrator of The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
is a book that tells the story of Jay Gatsby or Jimmy Gatz through the eyes of narrator and main character Nick Carraway
Nick Carraway tells us the life of Jay Gatsby through a open minded and supposedly non biased story
He tells us the things gatsby has done in his life and what he achieved and wanted to achieve
Why Nick Carraway is the Narrator of The Great Gatsby
By: Nicholas and Brandon

Can you Answer These Questions?
Who is Nick Carraway?
What was Nick's role in "The Great Gatsby"?
Why was Nick chosen to be the narrator of the book?
Nick Carraway as a narrator is essential to The Great Gatsby because....
Nick is neutral between the rich and the poor
Nick has the most knowledge of East and West Egg
He writes a history of Gatsby, but only hints at his corruption
Nick Carraway is Neither Rich or Poor
Nick foreshadows what is going to
happen later in the book
In the beginning of the book Nick foreshadows Gatsby’s death because of his criminal past
Nick says, “No-Gatsby turned out all right at the end" (Fitzgerald 8)
After he foreshadows this Nick is also implying that Gatsby is also going deal with some conflicts before his tragic end
The foreshadowing in this also indicates that during those times illegitimate success leads to death and it also foreshadows the crimes that took place during the 1920s
When Nick tells the reader what might happen he is hinting at Gatsby’s corruption because his success was achieved through criminal and corrupt actions
Another part of the book where Nick foreshadows what happens later in the book is when Daisy and Gatsby meet for the first time
"Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place. 'I'm sorry about the clock,' he said. 'It's an old clock,' I told him idiotically." (Fitzgerald, pg. 92)
This quote foreshadows what Gatsby is trying to do throughout the book.
Nick foreshadows what is going to
happen later in the book (cont.)
Nick foreshadows what is going to
happen later in the book (cont.)
Nick through this quote tells us that Gatsby causes so much trouble in order to “win” Daisy’s love back, because of the trouble he causes the reader can assume there are going to be many conflicts and tragedies throughout the book
The clock in this case can symbolize Gatsby’s past and how he is trying to relive it with Daisy with the help of Nick
It also foreshadows to the end of the book where “Nick is left to tell the story of the dreamer whose dreams were corrupted.”
Nick Carraway Writes a History of Gatsby that only hints at his
Nick writes a history of Gatsby to make him seem great and not corrupt, hence the title of the book
He writes about all of Gatsby’s “good” side, but sometimes hints that Gatsby also has a corrupt and criminal side
But Nick’s main focus is to prove to the reader that Gatsby is actually a good person, and Nick also foreshadows what is going to happen later in the book

Nick tells the reader all of Gatsby’s Good Points and all of the Conversations

As Nick narrates the story of Gatsby and his experiences with him, Nick only tells the reader of all Gatsby’s good points and only the conversations that take place between the two of them
In the book the reader only learns part of who Gatsby speaks with because we do not know who or what Gatsby talks about with other people, outside his conversations he has with Nick
Throughout the book Gatsby receives mysterious phone calls from different places but we never learn who he is speaking with or what he is talking about with them
Nick tells the reader all of Gatsby’s Good Points and all of the Conversations
A theory that can be made is that these mysterious callers are people from Gatsby’s past that he may still owe favors to
Because the conversations are never mentioned in the book it could mean that it could not put a positive vibe into Gatsby’s character because it is never mentioned
This could mean that Nick as a narrator is not reliable in a sense that Gatsby’s character is not all that “great” because Nick only talks about his good side.
Nick tries to convince the reader
that Gatsby is really "Great"
Throughout the entire book, Nick’s main goal is to convince the reader that Gatsby is a great person
The point he relies on is Gatsby’s persistence in his goal for love. Nick tells the reader that Gatsby is great through this goal
Nick claims that all of the criminal actions Gatsby had done was for a noble cause. Nick is also impressed by Gatsby’s hope.
In the book Nick describes that Gatsby believed in the green light. The way Nick describes the other characters is very negative while he describes Gatsby as a good person.
Nick tries to convince the reader
that Gatsby is really "Great"
Nick tells the reader that Daisy and Myrtle are cheating because of the money and Tom is cheating because he can. Nick makes everyone look bad except Gatsby
When Myrtle is killed by Daisy, Nick tells us that Gatsby told him he would take the blame but never did as he was killed in the end
He shows us that Gatsby’s love for Daisy is unconditional because even if she killed someone he would still be there and take the blame for whatever she had done
Nick also tries to convince the readers that Gatsby is great through the title of the book
Nick tries to convince the reader
that Gatsby is really "Great"
When we think of someone as “The Great Gatsby” our immediate thoughts can be of a magician
They act and play the part of a magician but in reality there is no magic just illusion
Nick describes that Gatsby needed to be a new person in order to achieve this goal and he achieves this by changing who he really is
To Nick this illusion of Gatsby created by Jimmy Gatz is what makes Nick believe he is great
In the end we discover that Nick tells us that although everything he had done to achieve what he wanted, he was just a normal person trying to impress one person and live a happy life
Explanation of the Video
The video can describe the life of Gatsby. Charlie can represent Nick, Willy Wonka can represent Gatsby, and the community, the different participants and Charlie’s family can represent Daisy
Willy Wonka is the Gatsby of the film because he owns a big factory that makes plenty of money and he tries to impress the community by holding contests for special guests to come and have a tour
In everyone's eyes Willy Wonka is this magnificent person because he is so successful in life meanwhile in the movie he is actually depressed.
Explanation of the Video (cont.)
Charlie in this case is Nick because he not very rich and he becomes good friends with Willy Wonka
Charlie is also a quiet person and a good listener just like Nick when he describes himself in the beginning of the book
Willy tells charlie all his secrets and how he feels about the factory. In the end of the movie the viewers learn that all Willy Wonka wanted was a family, in this case a “Daisy” in a sense and charlie believes he is a great person until the end when he learns he's just a regular person looking for happiness in life
Explanation of the Video (cont.)
This is shown when the narrator says:
“In the end, Charlie Bucket won a chocolate factory. But Willy Wonka had something even better, a family. And one thing was absolutely certain - life had never been sweeter.”
Nick grew up in family of "prominent, well-to-do people"
His family calls themselves the descendents of the "Dukes of Buccleuch," even though they actually made their money two generations ago in the "wholesale hardware business"
He went Yale; he likes literature and considers himself one of those "limited" specialists known as a "well-rounded man"; he fought in World War I, which he found kind of exciting; and now he's moved East to work in finance in New York City
Nick Thinks His Judgement is Best
"Whenever you feel like criticizing me anyone, just remember that all of the people in this world haven't had the same advantages that you've had." (Fitzgerald, 7)
This quote is what starts the book, and it helps us introduce Nick Carraway. It shows us that Nick is not judgemental and he wants to judge everyone fairly
Due to this fact, Nick thinks his judgement is best as he believes that everyone else judges people poorly
Nick Thinks His Judgement is Best
This is also seen when Nick says:
"He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgments" (Fitzgerald, 1)
"I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known." (Fitzgerald, 59)
This is essentially why the book is read through Nick's point of view, as he is able to trust in himself to present the truth

Nick is the most Knowledgeable about
East and West Egg
According to Matthew J. Brucolli, and Judith S. Baugman, authors of the article: "
Nick Carraway
"Nick Carraway is a Midwesterner—probably from Fitzgerald's St. Paul, Minnesota—and belongs to a "prominent, well-to-do" family. He was educated at Yale and served in World War I. Nick moved to the East in 1922 to work as a bond salesman, and the events of the novel occupy the three summer months during which he rents a cottage in West Egg, Long Island, next to the mansion where the mysterious Jay Gatsby hosts lavish parties."
Nick Originated from the Midwest
Nick hails from the upper Midwest and has supposedly been raised on stereotypical Midwestern values (hard work, perseverance, justice, and so on)
He is a little more complex than that, however. His family, although descended from the "Dukes of Buccleuch," really started when Nick's grandfather's brother came to the U.S. in 1851.
By the time the story takes place, the Carraways have only been in this country for a little over seventy years.
Also, the family patriarch didn't exhibit the good Midwestern values Nick sees in himself. When the civil war began, Nick's relative "sent a substitute" to fight for him, while he started the family business.
Nick moves to the West, where Gatsby
originated from
Originally, Nick moved East in order to start a new job and to experience a new lifestyle
A big cause of his feeling a need for a change was the fact that he had just returned from fighting in World War I
This is explained in the quote:
"I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm centre of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe — so I decided to go East and learn the bond business"
(Fitzgerald, 9)
Nick moves to the West, where Gatsby
originated from (cont.)
Though his parents are not especially happy with his decision, his father agrees to finance him for a year
This income, of course, is in addition to anything he can earn at his work
Nick initially planned to live in New York City close to work, but "when a young man at the office suggested that (they) take a house together in a commuting town, it sounded like a great idea." (Fitzgerald, 9)
In this way, he ends up living next to Gatsby in West Egg. The other man, however, ends up taking a job elsewhere, so Nick lives in his bungalow alone.
Nick moves back to the Midwest
The East is a completely alien land compared to the Midwest. The Midwest was alive, calm, and comfortable.
The East seemed empty to Nick. He thought that the East is filled with reckless spending, classy lifestyles, and cowardice. There seemed to be little to no morals in the Eggs.
The wealthy hide behind their money in order to disregard responsibility and consequence.
Nick has seen the East’s true character. The East is uncaring and dead.
Nick moves back to the Midwest
It may seem full of life and people, but in reality, it is completely barren
He could not stand to be around that kind of life any longer. He needed morals, truth, and comfort
Moving back to the Midwest gave him a great perspective on life and the human condition
Rules of the Game:
You will be shown pictures and you 30 seconds to analyze the image shown
After the 30 seconds are over, you will have to tell us why you see this specific image
If your explanation on what you see is the best in the class, then you will receive a treat
Nick as a narrator tells us a accurate story of Gatsby and tells the reader many things about him, making him a reliable source to the truths of the story.
Throughout the book The Great Gatsby....
Nick is neutral between the rich and the poor
Nick has the most knowledge of East and West Egg
He writes a history of Gatsby, but only hints at his corruption
Works Cited
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., and Judith S. Baugman. "Nick Carraway." Student's Encyclopedia of American Literary Characters. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 12 May 2014 <http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&WID=101973&SID=5&iPin=SEOALC244&SingleRecord=True>.
Sova, Dawn B. "The Great Gatsby." Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds, Third Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2011. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 12 May 2014 <http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&WID=101973&SID=5&iPin=BBSO3135&SingleRecord=True>.
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