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Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis

“The Great Gatsby” is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, first published in 1925. When referring to the relationship between money, love, and happiness, it can be said that there is no better example illustrating such relation than Fitzgerald’s novel. The novel main idea can be described as the portrayal of the destruction of norms and values going up, through the social ladder’s hierarchy. Nevertheless, the characters of the novel can not be described as weak-willed, where the destiny of each of them was determined through their personal distinctive characteristics, as well as tragic events.

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In that regard, this paper compares and contrasts two characters from “The Great Gatsby”, which are Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway, who represent the novel’s protagonist and narrator respectively.

Describing Jay Gatsby, the question that should be answered is what is so distinctive about him, that Fitzgerald named his novel “The Great Gatsby”. This factor can explain through the dual nature of Gatsby’s character. On the one hand, he is tawdry great in his role of the wealthy man with a mysterious reputation, and the host of absurdly-pompous parties, which he arranges in order to bring Daisy’s attention. Such characteristics give rise to the irony of the moralist narrator – Nick Carraway.

On the other hand, Gatsby is definitely great in the power of his feelings, in his loyalty to his dream, and “extraordinary gift for hope”, which as stated by Carraway, he had never found in any other person. (3) The significance of such attributes in Gatsby, who matured in the art of making money, can be seen in that as soon as he realizes that Daisy, for whom he entered this path, rejected him, loses interest in his wealth and everything related to it, and practically gave up his life before the bullet of the George Wilson reach him. (103)

Nick Carraway’s character can be described from the moment that he met Gatsby, as their friendship produced a moral shift in his moral values’ assessments. Meeting with Gatsby, Carraway said that he represented everything for which he had unaffected scorn (3), while the Buchanans, Jordan were more appealing to him. At the end of the novel, the change in perception can be seen through his statement to Gatsby that “They’re a rotten crowd “and that he is “worth the whole damn bunch put together” (98).

The contrast between the characters can be seen in that Gatsby could not divide between the ideal of love and wealth, where such position was firm throughout the novel, while Nick’s position after witnessing the tragedy made him reject moral compromises, and considered that it was of his moral responsibility to honestly retell what he saw without coloring the truth.

It can be concluded that the main differences were through the rejection of Fitzgerald to moralize Gatsby in the novel, giving the role to the moral counter-part to Nick. The closeness in the friendship, however, can be perceived as a reflection of the same position or as a justification of the events and positions. Both characters acknowledged that as soon as real emotions come to power, the illusion of shine and all this sham are destroyed.

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Works Cited

Fitzgerald, Francis S. The Great Gatsby. Wordsworth Editions, 1993.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 7). Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/jay-gatsby-and-nick-carraway-character-analysis/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 7). Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis. https://studycorgi.com/jay-gatsby-and-nick-carraway-character-analysis/

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StudyCorgi. "Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis." November 7, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/jay-gatsby-and-nick-carraway-character-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis." November 7, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/jay-gatsby-and-nick-carraway-character-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis'. 7 November.

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