In The Great Gatsby Scott Fitzgerald presents a study of wealth and ambition through the prism of pathetic characters for whom almost no redeeming social values ​​can be found.

What The Great Gatsby portrays is the sordid tale of a small group of weaklings involved in deceit, adultery, cheating, and debauchery. The lavish parties -Jazz-age style- that Jay Gatsby organizes to recover Daisy Buchanan (his lost illusions and perfidious lover of hers) are anything but wild bacchanalia.

When one thinks of the rest of the nation, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the rest of the American people are engaged in the productive enterprise, in rebuilding the nation after the waste of resources that was World War I. The sleaze of the story applies, almost entirely, to that small group of fringe, misguided, and unlikable characters. It is not a book about the spiritual dismemberment of America (as many have interpreted the book to be) that occurred in 1927 with the Great Depression.

Whereas in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Killers” we experience the objective voice of a disinterested narrator, in The Great Gatsby we are misled by the relentless biases of Nick Carraway, a likeable character –and narrator– who not only has an interesting story to tell, but also has an agenda. His agenda is a long list of things “to clear,” events to smooth over, and a guilty conscience to clear. In a similar vein to the Confessions written by Augustine, Rousseau, and Ben Franklin, Nick exacerbates other people’s crimes and misdeeds while he obscures and minimizes his own.

From the beginning of the narration, Nick Carraway makes it clear that the story he is about to tell is a very personal one and that he will be the protagonist. So with these words: “In my youngest and most vulnerable years…” he begins to tell the story of himself and the young people coming of age, people who are right now in the midst of finding his own identity, groping for goals and a more secure future. It is a generational story in which the ambitious Dough Boys, returning from fighting in a world war, vie for position in the sun, vying for a place not in the tedium of poverty or disenchantment, but for a piece of splendor. in wealth and love. .

Although Nick makes the calculated decision to come East to pursue a career on Wall Street, his heart moves him in a different direction; His heart is in literature, and he lets us know what his intentions are: “I was pretty literary in college – I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the Yale News one year – and now I was going to bring back all such things. in my life and return to being the most limited of all specialists, the ‘complete man'” (GG, 4).

Having attended Yale University, he is justified in calling himself a ‘whole man’ who is fully equipped by experience, education and talent to become a writer, a literary man.

As the narration begins, he even indulges in the author’s pleasure of even knowing the title of his book: “Only Gatsby, the man after whom this book is named, was exempt from my reaction.” (GG, 2). He also engages in meta-narrative moments. When in the second book of Don Quixote the hero learns that he is the subject of spurious adventures by a spurious author, we can only enjoy the pleasures of metanarrative. Nick Carraway also engages in bits of metanarrative, such as when we read that he is reviewing his work as he writes:

“Reading what I’ve written so far, I see that I’ve given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that sucked me in. Rather, they were merely chance events in a crowded summer, and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs”. (GG, 56).

In fact, they were nothing more than mere chance events, but very much intertwined with his own personal life. Although Nick presents Gastby’s life as the main thread, his own autobiographical threads of data are woven into the fabric of the story.

While the narrator of the absurd man of Meursault-Camus The stranger Choosing stark, mind-bending slang to represent his alienation from the world, Nick Carraway chooses lyrical and often charming language to embellish the seedy world of low-key American tragedy.

Nick takes licenses and reports on hearsay, a storyteller’s sin that jeopardizes his credibility. What’s sickening is that, in the end, Nick doesn’t report his cousin Daisy, even though he knows that Daisy was the driver that fated night, and that Daisy kills Myrtle Wilson (Tom’s mistress). Was this really an accident? Or did Daisy really run over Mrs. Wilson on purpose? We can only go by the memory of Gatsby’s accident when he tells Nick about it.

It is clear that Daisy was driving and was maneuvering to pass an oncoming car. What follows is that Daisy first tries to avoid hitting Myrtle, but it is possible that by recognizing Myrtle she will change her mind and run her over. After all, Myrtle Wilson has been a constant thorn in her flesh all summer, causing her much pain, anxiety, and depression.

While Nick tells us that there was an investigation, he fails to tell us that he did not testify, even though his truthful testimony would have implicated his cousin Daisy. Nick is then complicit in the cover-up of a hit-and-run crime. Also, on the night of the accident, when Nick plays peek at Tom, he watches Daisy and Tom in a conspiratorial tête-a-tete:

“They weren’t happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the beer, and yet they weren’t sad either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anyone would have said they were conspiring together.” (GG, 145).

In the novel by García Márquez One Hundred Years of SolitudeWhen Remedios la Bella ascends to heaven, the reader accepts this fact because the woman in her simplicity never sees that her beauty hurts people; or even she kills them. But when Nick Carraway paints Daisy as a southern belle full of charm and innocence, he strikes a jarring note, because her actions belie that.

Is Nick gay or bisexual? Nick has a fixation on noses and we see this surface below the text throughout the narrative, and the only way to break the habit is to “break” it violently, just as Tom Buchanan does when he breaks his lover’s nose. Also, Daisy compares Nick to a flower: “Nick, you remind me of a rose, an absolute rose.” Is she hinting that Nick is a closeted gay? Well, Nick never goes after Jordan with the vigor of a male in heat. And there is a scene where another male takes off his clothes.

During a meeting in New York, Nick meets Mr. McKee, a photographer: “Mr. McKee was a pale, feminine man from downstairs. He had just shaved, because he had a white patch of foam on his cheekbone (30 )”. Later, McKee takes Nick to his house where they spend the night. Nick later recalls, “I was standing over his bed and he was sitting between the sheets in his underwear.”

To confirm McKee’s homosexuality and by Nick’s implication, we see a phallic image when the elevator operator warns “hands off the lever”. To which McKee replies “I beg your pardon…I didn’t know I was touching it.” Was McKee touching the lever or the elevator operator? At the beginning of the 20th century, American literature had certain taboos that an author could only tackle and conquer as the Jew conquered Jericho: round and round and with noise. The noise is the carefully selected word codes and phallic images.

Can anyone imagine a straight man obsessed with another man?:

“Mr. McKee was asleep in a chair with his fists clenched in his lap, like a photograph of a man of action. Taking out my handkerchief I wiped from his cheek the remains of the dried foam stain that had troubled me all afternoon. ” (p. 36)

Nick Carraway, the narrator, never acknowledges that he is a nice pimp. Nick rents out his West Egg house with a man, “when a young man in the office suggested we rent a house together in a passing town, it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weather-worn cardboard bungalow in eighties a month, but at the last minute the firm sent him to Washington, and I went out into the field alone. (p3).

If Nick isn’t gay, then he’s bisexual: “I even had a brief fling with a girl who lived in Jersey City and worked in the accounting department, but her brother started giving me mean looks, so when she went on vacation in July I let it fly quietly”. (p. 56).

And as she wanders through midtown Manhattan, she fantasizes: “I used to like walking down Fifth Avenue and picking romantic women out of the crowd and imagining that in a few minutes I was going to walk into their lives and no one would know or not.” sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on hidden street corners, and they turned and smiled back at me before disappearing through a door into the warm darkness” (p. 56).

Note Nick’s self-examination that bears the desperate musings of spinsters, spinsters, and spinsters: “I was thirty years old. Before me stretched the portentous, threatening path of a new decade (p135).” As he looks down the path of being single at this point in his life, Nick considers a life, presumably a sex life, with only single men: “The Thirties, the promise of a decade of solitude, a dwindling list of men singles to meet, a dwindling briefcase of enthusiasm, dwindling hair.” (p. 135). This is a touching comment that confirms his loneliness and how he will take solace in his singleness.

Nick Carraway presents himself as a simple, unassuming and likeable character, who thrives on earning the trust of friends and strangers alike. However, there is nothing simple in it. As he progresses through the narrative of him and we get to know him better, we come to the conclusion that he is a complex character with many facets.

While many aspects of his personality are interesting, the reader cannot help but be seduced by the moralistic preponderance of his judgments. On the surface, Nick presents himself as the voice of measure, reason and virtue, but when we delve into his deeper layers we find a wild array of emotions, impulses, desires and irrationalities bordering on an unstable and sexually confused life. , as he himself admits: “Behavior can be founded on hard rock or wet swamps, but after a certain point I don’t care what it is founded on.” (GG, 2).


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