How Is Nick Carraway Gatsby Reliable

974 Words4 Pages

In the words of William Shakespeare, “A reliable narrator, by any other name...”-or at least it went something like that. Despite being identified as Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, he could have been named Ishmael or Huck Finn, and the following would have remained true: Nick is a reliable narrator. A reliable narrator does not have to be completely honest, but should be able to accurately convey the overall message of the story and assist the reader in understanding the bigger picture by remaining impartial. Fitzgerald’s decision to have Nick as the narrator, Nick’s character development, and his ability to remain neutral exemplifies how Nick is a reliable narrator. Nick’s reliability as a narrator is due to his …show more content…

Some may argue that Nick’s relationship with Gatsby is detrimental to Nick’s reliability; however, Nick’s relationship with Gatsby helps clarify who Gatsby is and his role in the novel. If anyone else were the narrator, he or she would not be reliable when it comes to Gatsby, lacking the depth and insight on who Gatsby really is. Nick is the only one who really knows Gatsby’s motivations and his history. Thus Nick is the one most able to offer a reliable account of Gatsby. Nick’s relationship also does not offer a jaded perspective of Gatsby. In the last scene between Gatsby and Nick, Nick compliments Gatsby and immediately follows through by admitting, “It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end” (154). Although this moment adds to the complexity of Nick and Gatsby and essentially shows that everything previously said about Gatsby was not misconstrued by a personal appeal, it also serves as a greater purpose. Nick puts this comment at arguably one of the most important and memorable scenes of the novel: it was the first time Nick audibly complimented Gatsby, and it was the last scene between Gatsby and Nick. Due to this being at a very memorable spot, as well as at the end of the novel, it would have been very likely for the reader to remember the compliment and the line admitting Nick’s disapproval. Nick wanted the reader to remember that Gatsby was good and bad, showing both sides of Gatsby. This better grasp of who Gatsby is helps in understanding the bigger picture, as Gatsby’s role goes beyond

Open Document