The Impartial Judge

June 3, 2008
By Vibha Ramesh, Mason, OH

The narrator’s feelings of envy or hatred are not supposed to drain into context of the book. In The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway’s role as the narrator is limited because he does not know how to separate emotion from facts.

Even though Nick is considered to be a major character, his actual impact to the story is limited. Right at the very beginning he says that he scorns upon Gatsby so how is the audience supposed to believe that he is a neutral character in the novel? Nick’s emotions on how he views the different situations with Gatsby and Daisy seep through every page of the book. Nick’s feelings added with everything else in the book makes it hard to realize if Nick is narrating or explaining the story I his own words.

Nick tries to be the tolerant judge in the book, but he is not able to let go of his emotions. This book is like a memoir of Nick’s relationship with Gatsby. Nick says in chapter 1 that he is tolerant, open-minded, quite, and a good listener. But throughout the novel, Nick’s voice becomes Fitzgerald’s voice and that is the connection between Gatsby and Fitzgerald.

By being the narrator, Nick has to pay attention to everything that goes around him. He knows that he has to play in a little bit, but he’s eating beforehand. Even though a narrator is supposed to be in the pit, Nick plays from the back. Nick has to be responsible for every moment of the text even though wee can’t see it all. It’s an added load of extra-security that hey didn’t have before.

Describing a scene or doing something about the bags is very hard to do. The narrator has to be the person that knows exactly what is going on and where everything else is. Nick has to learn to separate between color and emotion but the question is if he can do that. Can he or can’t he?

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