How Is Nick Morally Ambiguous In The Great Gatsby

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The novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, who comes to 1920's New York to fulfill the American dream. Instead, he realizes the hollowness behind industrial wealth driven ideals. After Nick gets settled in West Egg, he finds himself in the company of millionaires Daisy, Tom, and Jay Gatsby; all of whom demonstrate either an inability or unwillingness to acting with consideration to those around them. Even Nick, who is meant to be reflective and unbiased, ended up being a morally ambiguous character at best. The one thing contrasting the stories ubiquitous impropriety, is the billboard of T.J. Eckelberg's bespectacled eyes. Through the symbolic meaning of the eyes, Fitzgerald is able to highlight …show more content…

Eckleberg's eyes watch over an industrial dumping ground from a washed out billboard across from Wilson's garage. They are described by Nick as being, “blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. . . But his eyes, dimmed by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood over the solemn dumping ground”(Fitzgerald 23, 24). From the beginning of the book, the eyes are personified as a disapproving observer. This personification, is what allows the billboard to take on a heightened meaning. Given that the world of The Great Gatsby lacks a moral center, characters rarely face repercussions past basic cause and effect, allowing them to continue there lives as ethically inept as there money will take them. The presence of the eyes throughout the novel was really the only outlet for recognizing the gravity of the fraudulence and treachery that took place. The glasses themselves stand for a corrected perspective, worthy of judging the corruption of both the characters and the world they live in. Additionally, the symbol is built upon in the quote, “They look out of no face”(Fitzgerald 23). The specification that the eyes aren't accompanied by a face, solidifies the signs inanimacy. Even though Eckleberg's eyes put the events of the story under a critical lens, the sign cannot act as a moral influence. In the end they are just an …show more content…

Eckleberg's eyes witness some of the novels largest ethical collapses. The first of these is evidenced in Fitzgerald's quote “But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessy over it, you percieve, after a moment, the eyes of T.J. Eckleberg”(23). Nick refers to this area as “the valley of ashes”(Fitzgerald 23). The site of the billboard doubles as a representation for the poverty and class system that persisted in the time period, accompanied by the hypocrisy of the country's wealth boasting attitude. In the most literal sense, Eckleberg's eyes are an advertisement, which eludes to the harsh effects of capitalisim on the people who were unable to make it big. Later in the book, in the same place, Mertyl is killed by Gatsby's car in a hit and run. This is first mentioned in the dialogue between Tom and a policeman in the quote “'She ran out ina road. Son-of-a-bitch didn't even stopus car'”(Fitzgerald 139); though it is later revealed that Daisy was the one behind the wheel. This calamity marks the denouement for the casts lack of integrity. From this event alone the characters manage a record amount of delusionment, myopia, and egomaniasism. Beginning with Daisy, not only does she neglect to stop the car; she lets Gatsby take the fall because she knows she can exploit his love for her, to cover her own ass. Then there's Wilson, who in wake of his wife's death goes looking for the guilty party; he is told by Tom that the car belonged

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