He knew that when he kissed this girl… his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. Some narrators deliberately lie to the reader. He apparently tries to be as truthful as possible.
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He tells us right away that he has an uncanny ability to reserve judgment and get people to trust him, which encourages us to see him as a reliable narrator. Nick is also unreliable because of his fondness for Gatsby, which affects his view of the story and is contrasted by his clear distaste for the other characters in the book. He sees Gatsby as a symbol of hope, which makes his perspective biased and occasionally makes us question his representation of Gatsby or Daisy as characters.
Nick feels contempt for Tom, and, to a lesser degree, Daisy, and his personal feelings for the characters similarly color his presentation of events. The Great Gatsby by: F.
But in the end Daisy turns to Tom again because, like Nick, she expects that men will have integrity, at least outside the sexual realm. It should be noted that Gatsby similarly denies Daisy her full humanity. His insistence that she declare that she had never loved Tom, born out of his need to restore Daisy to her younger self, points to his inability to perceive Daisy as a person who has grown and changed. By so simplifying the moral complexities of this situation, Nick avoids having to take responsibility for his own actions.
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By deciding that Daisy is a child and that the truth is an unutterable fact, he does not need to worry about the morality of his failure to tell the police or to testify at the inquest that Daisy had been driving. Nick seeks a similar simplicity when it comes to his understanding of Gatsby and to his own choice of retreating from the world that Gatsby represents. To support his displacement of responsibility from the dreamer to the dream, in this case from Gatsby to the American dream, Nick repeatedly points to ways in which Gatsby was molded by American culture.
But Nick is riot content with this reading of Gatsby.
He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor. Nick evidences the same sort of contradictions when it comes to his own choices. On the one hand, he is deeply aware of the ways in which the modern world lacks order, purpose, and morality. It is he who identifies the valley of ashes as a wasteland and who so lyrically explains at the end of the novel that the vision of America as a New Eden was always and only an illusion. In the foreground four solemn men in dress suits are walking along the side-walk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress.
Her hand, which dangles over the side, sparkles cold with jewels. Gravely the men turn in at a house—the wrong house.
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Nick knows that such associations are merely fanciful. Unlike Leatherstocking, he has no frontier to which he can retreat. Unlike Columbus, there are no new Edens he can find. In contrast to Whitman, who eventually merges with the lives of those he observes, Nick decides to move out of the game altogether. He does so, even though he is aware of the cost.
Even with his understanding of the dangers of indifference and moral apathy, even with his insights into the complexities of life, Nick makes a series of choices which essentially negate his consciousness. For example, he will, as he had in college, refuse intimacy with others. To make such choices, Nick oversimplifies the complexities of what he knows and overlooks the contradictions in his thought.
He no longer wants his angle of vision threatened by any other perspective.
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Thus he will even deny what he has most learned from watching Gatsby. He overlooks the fact that he is embracing illusions he knows are empty and instead portrays his return to the Midwest as exiling himself from a corrupt East. He retreats from involvement with other people but continues to see himself as a mature, responsible adult, as the one who cleans up messes and erases obscene remarks on sidewalks.
But most significantly, Nick, to some extent, negates his criticism and his analysis of contemporary America. Instead of confronting the implications of these lessons, Nick does the opposite and justifies that as well.
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He does not argue that individuals should make judgments and act on them. Such a reading, however, offers a fairly bleak vision. Only the unreliable Jordan is critical of his carelessness. At the same time, as Matthew J.
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There is evidence that during the decade following the publication of The Great Gatsby , Fitzgerald began to confront more directly the issues which the novel raised but did not resolve. The Scott Fitzgerald who wrote The Great Gatsby does then appear to have been much like his narrator.
jaroslaw.rotary.org.pl/modules/2019-06-15/2813.php That both were concerned with the question of individual responsibility is readily apparent. View cart Subscribe Login.