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Nick Carraways Coming Of Age In The Great Gatsby Essay

The Great Gatsby, ultimately a fantastically written and intriguing novel, is solely based on Nick Carraway’s growth in matureness and self-dependence throughout the novel. The Great Gatsby is written from the viewpoint of Nick Carraway as the narrator and comes from the perspective of a fresh start. This is a story about Nick and how his views and morals change depending on the people he surrounds himself with. Nick has a strong sense of reality and also learns a lot from the beginning to the end of the book.

He comes into the book not knowing what he wants and looking for a fresh start but ends up finding his way back home. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald intended this to be a coming of age story. First, Nick has a moral center rooted in his beliefs that his dad passed on to him. The writing style is clearly described by Lehan as, “What we have here is the opposite of how time works in a novel by Fielding or Dickens, which resolves the plot around a fixed moral center toward which that novel moves” (Lehan 110).

Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy struggle to keep to their morals. Tom and Daisy both have affairs and justify them by staying together. Daisy is untrue to herself and to Gatsby about her feelings for him. She toys with Gatsby’s feelings by acting like she likes him, potentially leading him on, only to decide that she is going to stay with Tom. Gatsby also loses his moral roots by running a sketchy business and pursuing a woman to the point where he loses touch with reality.

Gatsby was in love with Daisy many years ago and does not idealize the fact that they cannot love each other as they once did. He ignores Nick’s advice that he could do better than Daisy and loses his actuality of the situation. On the other hand, Nick periodically questions the judgment of the other characters as they lose their grip on reality. When Gatsby offers Nick money in return for a favor, Nick refuses and goes through with the favor anyways because that is what he was taught. This was Nick’s first glimpse of the kind of lifestyle Gatsby was living.

Lehan notes that “His story is not as complex as Gatsby’s but it comes to parallel Gatsby’s in interesting ways, and Nick does bring a consciousness to the novel that gatsby does not have” (Lehan 98). Although Gatsby and Nick may have similar backgrounds, at the end of the day they will always be different people. When Daisy decided to stay with Tom, Nick lost a lot of his respect for her. He did not understand why she would choose Tom Buchanan over her true love again, just to remain in the comfort of an unhealthy relationship.

Additionally, Nick remains resilient even when his morals are tested by high society. Lehan acknowledges, “We have critics who think of him almost totally as a snob, as dishonest beyond redemption, and as a kind of wimp who lets Tom Buchanan off the moral hook at the end of the novel” (Lehan 99). Nick chooses to take the upper hand, and walk away from the drama of Tom Buchanan. He chose the more mature route and walked away from a relationship that was potentially detrimental to him. This shows Nick’s mental growth and maturity.

The decision to walk away instead of fighting proves how much he has learned and grown through the book. However, The Great Gatsby is written from Nick’s perspective as the narrator which gives us an inside look on only his emotions. It is written from a viewpoint where we can see his pursuit for a fresh start which results in a growth of maturity. The author correlates that, “As he himself says in his narration, he came out East (where the novel takes place) with ideas about who he wants to be and wants to relate to the world, particularly the world of finance and fashionable society” (BookRags 1).

When Nick first decided to move, he knew he needed a fresh start and advanced not knowing exactly what he wanted in life. One of his main justifications for moving was to start a new job in the bonds business. He also acquired new friends, a girlfriend, and a house of his own. These few things show his growth in maturity and self-dependence. Furthermore, at the end of the novel, Nick is more stable and developed. He came to the conclusion that the midwestern lifestyle is more of who he is. Nick decided to move back home which is a big step in the right direction.

He realized that Daisy and Gatsby’s lifestyle and the moral corruption of the city was not appealing to him. Gross explains, “Even if the narrator is intelligent, honest, and perceptive, what he sees will be colored by his own experiences and his own personality” (Gross 2). Gatsby’s behavior and experiences started to change Nick’s personality to someone he no longer recognized, nor strived to be. Yet he realized this before he had lost all of himself to someone that he didn’t want to be. This shows Nicks independence and mental toughness in the novel, The Great Gatsby.

All things considered, Nick has a substantial outlook on reality and does not get caught up in the chaos of the American Dream. Nick did not accept the ideal choice, he did what was best for him even if it did not lead to fame or fortune. He left Jordan behind because she was dragging him down instead of staying with her because he was afraid to be alone. Fitzgerald states, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (Fitzgerald 180). Nick also came to the realization that you cannot run away or hide from your past because it substantially makes you who you are.

This is one of the most crucial themes of the novel. For instance, Nick also does not follow in Gatsby’s example of getting caught up in the love, popularity, or riches aspect of the novel. Nick is honest with himself and true to his character. Gross reveals that “He calls himself honest, and, unlike many people who say that about themselves, he seems to be so. He is aloof and cynical, but fundamentally good-hearted” (Gross 3). He is also good with people and very selfless when it comes to always listening to their predicaments.

He moved to start his own life but got caught up in everyone else’s drama, through which he eventually found his way. The author declares, “In a young postwar America, is the coming-of-age story of an idealistic young financier who, over the course of a memorable summer, learns uncomfortable truths about the relationships between truth and illusion, between past and present” (BookRags). Overall the choices Nick was forced to make worked out in his favor and taught him many life lessons. Thus, Nick Carraway eventually grasped many concepts of society that he was not yet mature enough to comprehend throughout the novel.

He learned a lot about himself, and how easy it is to change in such a short amount of time. Nick grew in consciousness during this novel without meaning to. Lehan describes that “Nick tells us more than he seems to know, and he knows more than he fully understands” (Lehan 99). He becomes snobby and feels superior to the people around him through intelligence instead of possessions. Lehan describes Nick’s place in society as, “Nick does not have enough money to justify that kind of snobbery, but he does feel morally superior to those around him” (Lehan 99).

Nick is not rich or famous like the people he surrounds himself with but he justifiably feels superior to them. From here on, Nick stops looking up to Gatsby as an authority figure and realizes he himself could do better. He may feel morally superior to Gatsby, but it is justified by the downfall of Gatsby’s sophistication and awareness. In the beginning of the novel, Nick condones Gatsby’s behavior because he empathizes with the problems Gatsby has been struggling with.

Birkerts states that “Our narrator is going to give us a lesson, tells us a story about wising up–about coming to mature terms with human frailty” (Birkerts 124). By the end of the novel, Nick is finished with sympathizing with Gatsby and is unblinded by the ostentatious eastern lifestyle. By the resolution of The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is changed for the better. He is more self-aware and self-dependent. Nick stops being a background character and takes charge. Readers no longer view him as a struggling boy, he is a strong headed man ready to do what it takes to remain an honest person in a complex world.

Nick Carraway takes his dad’s advice to a whole new level and really starts living by it. He is no longer judgmental or snobby, he is a grown man that lost his way in society and found his way back. Gatsby and Daisy changed Nicks outlook on life which completely altered his personality. The symbols in this book such as the eyes on the billboard, and valley of ashes portray the struggle of humanity and a higher power that ultimately controls them. In conclusion, he is no longer just hopeful that he will find his way, he is paving it.

The author confirms that “As the result of the people, relationships, and situations he encounters, however, he “comes of age”, learning that his ideas, in effect his dreams, are in fact illusions and essentially wishful thinking” (BookRags 1). Nick realizes he was judgmental because of his involvement in high society and he walks away to embrace the values he was raised with. The values through which brought him back to his morals and true self at the end of this novel. This shows the expansion of his thoughts into a whole new conception of life he has not yet been exposed to.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is the focus of this coming of age story. Not only does Nick morally embody the idea of reality and put it into action against all odds, he also walks away from the American Dream better off. The author describes Nick Carraway as “A character in such a story emerges into a new wisdom, a new sensibility, and/or a new maturity. This is what happens to Nick Carraway, the narrator and protagonist of The Great Gatsby” (BookRags 1). In the novel The Great Gatsby, Nick substantially grows, keeping his morals intact while being an interesting yet honest character.

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