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Rishu Bagga
Mrs. Mozzone
11 January 2016

Nick Carraways Dishonest in The Great Gatsby

In Francis Scott Fitzgeralds novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald shows the life of a man
named Jay Gatsby, through the eyes of Nick Carraway. Nick has just moved in to his new home
in West Egg, New York, and Gatsby is his neighbor. Gatsby is a very rich and popular man,
though no one knows how he has become rich, and many hypotheses have been made by society.
Gatsby is in love with a woman named Daisy, who happens to be Nicks cousin. Gatsby used to
see Daisy 5 years ago from the time the book is set in. Gatsbys love for Daisy remains
unconditional, even though Daisy is now married to a rich polo player named Tom, who is even
richer than Gatsby, and is much more respected as he resides in a mansion in East Egg, the
classier of the two eggs, and has a prosperous and respectable family. As Gatsby gets involved
with Daisys life again, conflict occurs, and Nick finds himself trapped in the center. The reader
may interpret Nick as a reliable narrator for understanding the conflict, as Nick appears to be
very wise from early on in the book. However, although Nick seems honest and also claims that
[he is one of the most honest people that [he has] ever known (59), there is ample evidence
that proves that Nick possesses instead a rather deceitful character.

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When Nick finds himself in tense situations, he tends to be dishonest about his intentions
to avoid conflict. For example, Nick mentions very casually to the reader that he was in a
relationship with a girl, but her brother began throwing mean looks in [his] direction, so when
she went on her vacation in July, [he] let it blow quietly away. (56) If Nick was a truly honest
character, he would have at least told his partner he was leaving her, instead running away the
moment she wasnt there to see him. Nick lies to himself, and consequently the reader about his
relationship with a girl back home (O Rourke).Nicks dishonest character questions his
reliability is a narrator. If he believes that he is honest, then he is obviously a nave narrator, and
therefore unreliable. Near the end of the novel, Daisy is driving back home with Gatsby in his
car, when Daisy accidentally hits Myrtle, the woman with whom Tom is having an affair, and
kills her. Gatsby takes the blame for it, and Myrtles husband Wilson kills Gatsby in an act of
revenge and then himself. When the police arrive at the scene, Nick observes that Catherine
(Myrtles sister), who might have said anything, didnt say a word., and that she showed a
surprising amount of character about it too, and as a result Wilson was reduced to a man
deranged by grief in order that the case might remain in its simplest form (163 -164). Nicks
obligation if he was in fact an honest narrator would be to explain to the police the case in its
truest form, not its simplest form, which was the easy way out. Nick had the opportunity to bring
justice to Gatsby, and not only does he not choose to, he praises Catherines character for lying
(O Rourke), and not taking that opportunity as well. Nicks dishonesty proves that Nick is not
necessarily a protagonist in the novel, as the reader perceives him to be. A protagonist would do
everything in his power to do what he believes is right, unlike Nick, who stays silent.

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Nick is dishonest about how he judges other people. In the beginning of the novel, Nick
describes himself as a man who is inclined to reserve all judgments (1). However, throughout
the novel, there are few, if any instances where he doesnt judge any of the characters. When
Gatsby first meets Nick, he treats him very well. He invites him to his party, which is rare, as his
parties generally dont require an invitation, he takes him out to lunch, and spends time with him.
After a few days Gatsby tells Nick he has a favor for him, and Jordan, Daisys friend, will let him
know its details. Nick immediately judges Gatsby as a rich man who wants a big and impossible
favor from him. He is sure the request would be something utterly fantastic, and for a moment
[he] was sorry [hed] ever set foot upon his overpopulated lawn (68). After Jordan tells Nick
that Gatsby simply wants him to invite himself and Daisy over for tea, Nick is shook by the
modesty of the demand (78). Nicks assertion that he does not judge people may lead many
readers into believing that he is a reliable narrator, when he is in fact not. Nick judges Gatsby in
this instance, and it becomes clear that he does not hold a neutral viewpoint throughout the
novel. He can mislead the reader as [he] is capable of being an unreliable narrator at moments
that are crucial to the story's development (Cartwright 1). After Gatsbys death, he assumes that
Tom told Wilson to kill Gatsby. After he learns hat Tom did not tell Wilson to kill Gatsby nor
known that Daisy was driving the car, he realizes that what he had done, was, to him, entirely
justified. Still, he judges Tom and Daisy as being careless people (179). However; when
taking a deeper look into the situation, Tom is at no fault in Gatsbys murder. Gatsby interfered
with his marriage, came to his house, and disrespected him. Nick has no right to judge Tom as
being careless, and so his judgment proves that he is biased towards Gatsbys cause, and that he
even strains judgments out of inconclusive evidence. (Cartwright 2). A narrator who strains
judgments out of inconclusive evidence cannot also be honest and reliable.

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Perhaps Fitzgerald was attempting to show in his book not only the story of Gatsby, but
to also show a phenomenon of human nature, that everyone has their own viewpoints and
judgments. No matter how much a person believes him or herself to be honest, the way Nick did,
it is impossible to make sense of the world without having some judgments or biases. As
conflicts emerge today, everyone has their own opinion, and everyone believes their views are
the honest, and unbiased ones, just as Nick did.