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Ethnic Prejudice In The Great Gatsby

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Nick’s comments on the ethnicity are less direct and brutal than Tom’s, but still show the upper-class negative and suspicious attitude towards the ethnic groups emphasizing the importance of ethnic hierarchy. Nick suggests, “ A dead man passed us…The friends looked out at us with the tragic short upper lips of southern Europe, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby’s splendid car was included in their somber holiday” (Fitzgerald 69). The statement that Nick makes is not as absurd as the ones of Tom but still have discriminatory motifs. He believes that black people who experience sorrow and huge pain, would have a better day only because a beautiful car is passing by. Nick does not directly attack anyone but ethnic prejudice underlines some…show more content…
Slater suggests, “As narrator he tends to pint out the ethnic affiliation of the individuals with whom he comes in contact whenever their ethnicity is not of an Old American type as is his own” (Slater 55). Whenever Nick introduces new characters of different races than white, he usually makes it clear what ethnic group the character is from, “ a gray scrawny Italian child… the young Greek, Michaelis” (Slater 55). Nick does not intend to discriminate any ethnic group, but he rather shows the social attitude of the cultural awareness of his time. He is a typical American who was raised in the society where whites are superior to any other races that affects his approach of others. The ‘20s is usually described as anti-immigrant, anti-Semitist, anti-change time, so all the factors shape the minds of the “superior” characters in a way that might seem irrational nowadays. Even when Nick interacts with Gatsby for the first time, he comments, “I would have accepted without a question the information that Gatsby sprang from the swamps of Louisiana or from the lower East Side of New York” (Fitzgerald 49).Consequently, Nick emphasizes Gatsby’s belonging to the neighborhoods that were populated by poor and not ethnically superior people highlighting Gatsby’s ignoble past. Even the possession of wealth cannot fix the problem of racial cautiousness and
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