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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – Nick Carraway as Narrator

The narrative point of view adopted by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby supports the novel’s criticism of the upper class and the importance of wealth in society. Fitzgerald uses Nick Carraway as the narrator who views the upper class as entirely superficial. Through his observation of people at Gatsby’s party, at the beginning of chapter three, Nick seems to feel that the wealthy are clones of a stereotype accepted and created by themselves. To him it seems as though this society is based on appearance and recognition and judges people according to how much they own rather than what they believe in. Nick’s criticisms are accepted by the reader as impartial because Nick is the only major character who is not preoccupied with wealth. This is established in the first few pages of the novel where Nick describes himself and his upbringing in a manner that immediately secures the trust of the reader. This allows Nick to act as a measure for other characters who are in a relentless pursuit of money and power.

Fitzgerald creates a particular impression of Nick in the first few pages of the novel in order for Nick to present himself as honest and to secure the trust of the reader. Fitzgerald does this by describing Nick’s upbringing and his opinion of himself. Nick states that he is ‘inclined to reserve all judgments’ which is ‘a matter of infinite hope.’ This has the immediate effect of presenting Nick as an unbiased narrator. When he states that his tolerance has a limit, the reader feels that he would only judge people if they have gone too far. The importance of this is that Nick does form very strong opinions of characters later in the novel. This encourages the reader to view these characters so that they will develop …

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…ween the reader and Nick in order for the reader to accept Nick’s opinions as impartial. He places Nick in a typical situation where wealthy people interact. The reader is encouraged to view the upper class as superficial and as a group of clones who choose to fit into a single self-created stereotype. By focusing on only a few individuals at Gatsby’s party, Nick presents the entire class’ pretentious behaviour quickly and effectively to the reader. The importance of appearance and recognition to these people is noted several times by Nick when he describes groups of people behaving in their typically superficial manner. The narrative point of view adopted by F. Scott Fitzgerald thoroughly supports this novel’s criticism of wealthy people and how they choose to lead their lives.

Works Cited:

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Macmillan, 1992.

Use of Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

Symbolism plays an important role in any novel of literary merit. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses symbols to portray events, feelings, personalities and time periods. Throughout the narrative, Fitzgerald uses strong contrasting symbols such as West Egg and East Egg. His superior use of other predominant symbols such as color and light are also evident throughout the novel.

The story begins as the narrator, Nick Carraway, describes his arrival to West Egg. One can immediately spot “new-money Gatsby and no-money Nick on one side of the bay and old-money Buchanans on the other” (Tanner x). The superiority of East Egg to West Egg is instantly apparent and has much meaning. East Egg represents the high class, the dignified and the elite. The people who live in East Egg come from wealthy family lines. In opposition to this, West Egg represents the newly rich or those with almost no money at all. There is much arrogance and disdain between these two groups as can be noted on page 16 of the novel when Jordan Baker “remarks contemptuously” on the fact that Nick lives in West Egg.

The symbolism of eggs can be further explained. During one of Gatsby’s parties, Nick is offered an egg. He cracks it open and finds a beccafico, a delicacy, and a treasure. Tanner remarks on this striking parallel to the “New World”. If one looks at America and what it has created, does one see a “disgusting, aborted, stunted and still-born thing, fit only to be thrown away? Or a treasure, something special (…) and marvelous and rare?” (x). The Eggs in the novel represent the two parts of America: one (East Egg), materialistic, superficial and self-indulgent and the other (West Egg), which is always awaiting the coming of someth…

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…ott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of America.” Modern Critical Interpretations: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 11-27.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. England: Penguin, 1990.

Tanner, Tony. “Introduction.” The Great Gatsby. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald. England: Penguin, 1990. vii-lvi.

Way, Brian. “The Great Gatsby.” Modern Critical Interpretations: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 87-108.

Hack, Robert and Libby Stockstill. “Colour in The Great Gatsby.”

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