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The great gatsby nick as an unreliable

Yet to call Nick unreliable is perhaps to look for the wrong kind of truth.

  1. But Tom and Daisy are the ruling elite; Jordan is a professional golfer and minor celebrity; for all the falseness everyone rightly saw in him, Gatsby was at least potent and widely known until he was murdered, and then only in lieu of someone else.
  2. Nick came East with the same insecurity, the same dream Gatsby had. The reality is that Gatsby is not a tragic dreamer but rather the kind of entitled, status-obsessed crook you used to glower at from Zuccotti Park.
  3. But what a lovely thing to have failed at!
  4. And the attempt is brave when compared to its subject.
  5. They do not shy from meaning.

I contend that that impression the book left on you in high school is purposeful. It is the story he needs it to be, and that is inherently distorting. Yet we are all unreliable narrators of own lives, so we cannot accuse him of some gross narrative crime. Rather the book is a necessary step toward self-knowledge. That feeling you got, that this was a tragedy about the American Dream, where does that feeling come from? The reality is that Gatsby is not a tragic dreamer but rather the kind of entitled, status-obsessed crook you used to glower at from Zuccotti Park.

He comes back from war and is heartbroken that the lover he won by pretending to be rich has chosen someone who is actually rich. He then commits literally untold crimes to acquire riches greater still and sets out to tease her predilection for nice shirts until she loves him again.

After a successful campaign to manipulate his neighbor our Nick into setting up an ambush, The great gatsby nick as an unreliable convinces Daisy to throw her life away, neglect her own feelings that she did once love Tomand set off with him. So this impression Nick left when you first read the book can be safely put aside.

Why does he portray Gatsby that way? Certainly not out of a sense of intimacy. Gatsby is the consummate host and manipulator. How much self-loathing does it take to mythologize someone who played you this bad? Nick came East with the same insecurity, the same dream Gatsby had: In that process, Gatsby surely objectifies Daisy—she is not a lover but rather a trophy of sexual-economic achievement and legitimacy for a life that has none of its own.

But Nick objectifies everyone: They are all reduced to their status and their function because Nick, in his effort to win acceptance into this world, has done the same to himself: He is relatable, sympathetic, and has what we think we want; yet he has been destroyed by the very system that made him and that we made. Nick says, as he leaves New York to return home, that all the Midwesterners in his story—Tom, Daisy, Jordan, Gatsby, Nick himself—were somehow inherently ill-suited to the East.

But Tom and Daisy are the ruling elite; Jordan is a professional golfer and minor celebrity; for all the falseness everyone rightly saw in him, Gatsby was at least potent and widely known until he was murdered, and then only in lieu of someone else.

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Nick is the only one who failed out East. But what a lovely thing to have failed at! The book is full of things half said or said without discernible meaning.

When two girls recognize Jordan at a party the honor is not mutualJordan responds with what Nick thinks is tact, but which is in fact sheer enigma: I have no idea why she would say such a thing to the moon, and neither does Nick, but we can feel him trying to loosen up, trying to take this world on its own worthless terms.

In the second chapter, Daisy uses the most dramatic language to tell the most un-dramatic story about her butler. The day after he left Daddy died. These symbols are heavy like the symbols of your dreams, and not at all realistic. They do not shy from meaning.

In Defense of Nick Carraway

By the time Nick writes the book, this empty, distorted feeling he left West Egg with has turned to righteous indignation. I imagine Nick going back and rediscovering himself among the comforts of home. I imagine him feeling like I do when I, hung over, call my mother on a Sunday afternoon.

Back home, again seeing yourself as these people have always seen you, the sincerity or falseness of recent experience is suddenly illuminated. And the attempt is brave when compared to its subject: In this world, Nick stakes a claim for self-expression and vulnerability. He does not belong in this world and he extricates himself from it proudly. Nick is compensating for too much softness, steeling himself for a reformation.