The Great Gatsby
The Role Of Nick Carraway as Narrator
The novel "The Great Gatsby" can be best described as a narration of a series
of events as viewed through the eyes of an important central figure (Nick Carraway)
around which a story takes form. A general lack of importance associated with
the part a narrator holds, is a generalized notion deduced from the analysis
of most novels. However, a reevaluation of the narrative process played by Nick
Carraway is required when it comes to the novel, "The Great Gatsby" as such
a concept holds little truth within the domains of this work of literature.
The process of portraying virtually all physical and emotional actions and the
inferred establishment of a moral norm are two of the main perspectives achieved
through the author's usage of narration. Nick's vital role is to enhance the
flow of the novel.
Physical and emotional actions/reactions of characters within a story reflect
their individual personality and help the author create an image of a certain
person or group of people within the mind of the reader. Nick who is endowed
with a keen sense of observation is able to reveal the nature of each character.
Through Nick, the reader is able to sense the shallowness of Tom Buchanan's
emotions as well as his harsh attitude. The brutality of Tom towards his mistress,
Myrtle Wilson, as described by Nick (page 37, line 5 - below) is a vivid example
of this. In contrast, we see Gatsby, as being a physically and emotionally reserved
person (but not when it comes to Daisy). His general hospitality and mysteriousness
as described by Nick creates an air of splendor and establishes him as a source
of profound curiosity in the minds of others. It should be noted that unlike
most other narrative description of events, Nick's role in "The Great Gatsby"
extends even further as he also describes the characters personalities.
Nick 's first person viewpoint allows the reader to see how the novel is being
constructed as well as participate in his sense of discovery as the separate
strands of the narrative take on meaning. He also has a very trustworthy personality
and his physical proximity to the main characters serve him ideally to know
details of the story from many points of view and observe much of the action
It is through such an analysis that the true importance of the narrator in
the novel is realized. Through physical and emotional observations by Nick,
we are allowed a general feel for each character. A greater depth is also added
to each personality as the reader distinguishes between the moral standard Nick
holds and the morality of those around him. The duality of Nick's role in the
novel is thus a clear indication of the importance he holds in the progress
of the story.