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MonkeyNotes-The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald-Free Booknotes Summary
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OVERALL ANALYSES

CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Nick Carraway

Nick Carraway is the narrator of the entire novel, the protagonist of his own plot, and the moral judge of the events that surround him. He is a practical and conservative young man who turns thirty during the course of the story. Raised in a small town in the Midwest, he believes his hometown to be stifling and decides to move to the East Coast to learn the bond business. He hopes to find a sense of identity and freedom in New York. He rents a small bungalow out from the city on a fashionable island known as West Egg. His next door neighbor is Jay Gatsby, and his distant cousin, Daisy Buchanan, lives across the bay with her husband, Tom, on the more fashionable and wealthy island of East Egg. Nick plays an important role in the main plot of the novel, for he is responsible for reuniting Gatsby and Daisy.


During the course of the novel, the naïve and innocent Nick becomes totally disillusioned with the lifestyle of the wealthy on the East Coast. For most of the book, he is disgusted by Gatsby, with his wild parties, ostentatious dress and manners, and his shady business dealings. He is horrified when he meets Meyer Wolfsheim, a racketeer and business associates of Gatsby, who wears human molars as cuff links and who fixed the World Series. He feels shame for Jordan Baker for her incurable lying and cheating, both on and off the golf course. He is shocked that Tom has a mistress to whom he wants to introduce Nick and horrified that he hits her in the face, breaking her nose. His greatest disillusionment, however, comes with Daisy. He sees her shallowness and carelessness and knows that she is trifling with Gatsby. More shocking is the fact that she hits and kills Myrtle while driving Gatsby's car and does not even bother to stop; she then willingly lets Gatsby take the blame for the accident. When Gatsby is killed, he is appalled that Daisy does not even bother to telephone or send flowers to the funeral. It is not surprising that in the end he judges Gatsby to be worth more than the whole bunch of the Buchanans and their wealthy friends.

Nick Carraway does indeed find his identity on the East Coast. At first he is hesitant to take a stand or to judge those with whom he comes into contact; however, as the novel progresses, he begins to find everything about New York disgusting. He realizes that he has no desire to marry the likes of Jordan Baker, or live the careless, purposeless lifestyle of the Buchanan's, or be associated with immoral characters like Meyer Wolfsheim. As a result, on his thirtieth birthday, Nick realizes that his place in the world is in the Midwest, a symbol of morality and conservatism. In an orderly fashion, he fulfills his personal responsibilities in the East, including an explanation to Jordan of his feelings for her. He then returns to live in his small hometown and marry his old girlfriend, who has faithfully waited for him. As a result, Nick's plot ends as a comedy, for he has found himself and his place in life; he has also matured enough to make wise, moral judgements.

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