The Role of Nick Carraway As Narrator in The Great Gatsby


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 is a generalized notion
deduced from the analysis of most novels. However, a reevaluation of the
narrative process played by Nick Carraway is in place when it comes to the
novel, "The Great Gatsby" as such a concept holds little truth within the
domains of such 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 through Nick. His vital role is the flow of the novel
is hence an indication as to his importance as a character in general.

This vital role can be first of all seen in the primary role of Nick
as a narrator. Physical and emotional actions/reactions of characters
within a story relates a great deal to individualistic personality which in
turn helps the author generate his/her idea of a certain person/group of
people within the mind of the reader. Such a function is undertaken by Nick
who is endowed with a keen sense of observation which he uses to reveal the
nature of each character. Through Nick, the reader is able to sense the
shallow emotional depth Tom Buchanan is capable of experiencing and his
apparent harshness of attitude towards others. The brutality of Tom
towards his mistress, Myrtle Wilson, as described by Nick (page 37, line 5
- below) is highly demonstrative of this fact. In comparison, we see
Gatsby, on the other hand as generally being a physically an emotionally
reserved person (but not when it comes to Daisy). His general hospitality
and mysteriousness as described by Nick creates an air of splendour and
establishes him as a source of profound curiosity in the minds of others.
In their own way, other characters are exposed to the reader as well when
Nick comes into contact with them. He is thus seen to play a vital role in
portraying the emotional disposition underlining each character through
their physical involvement in the novel. It should be noted that unlike
most other narrative description of events, Nick's role in "The Great
Gatsby" extends even further into the lives of each of the other
characters.

The moral standard by which all other persons are uniquely judged is
created through the establishment of a central view point of single
narrative character in the novel. The word "unique" is used to describe
the form of evaluation Nick partakes in due to his total absence of any
form of critical analysis. This lack of personal judgement is seen to
manifest itself in the mind of the narrator from the very beginning of
Nick's youth through the words of his father. Nick's realization of the
equality of man altered through his origin sets him up as a morally sound
standard by which all other characters can be measured. It is this
personality trait of his which leads him into relationships with people
with a great array of morally sound/deficient values. Jordan Baker is
described by the author as a woman with an "incurably dishonest"
personality. Yet Nick accepts her into the emotional side of his life;
proving his firm belief in the concept of being morally reserved in
judgement. As described by the author, Nick is not blind to the
heartlessness of the Buchanan family and it is only through a crisis that
Nick sees how far his limits have actually been surpassed. His acceptance
of such people through the course of the novel allows the reader to observe
a contrast between these characters of society. Their moral values are
exposed for the reader through this and we are hence allowed a greater
insight into what the true nature of the character really is. Nick thus
plays an important function in portraying the deviation of each person in
the novel as related the moral standard the Eastern society which the
author uses as the norm.

It is through such an analysis that the true importance of the
narrator in the novel is realized. Through physical and emotional
observations through Nick, we are allowed a general feel of each character.
A greater depth is added to each personality as the reader distinguishes
between the moral standard Nick holds and the morality of those around him.
The duality