The Problematic point of view of the I-narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Gatsby'

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2003

11 Pages, Grade: 1 (A)


Abstract or Introduction

Nick Carraway is one of the major characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great
Gatsby. He is a young man from Minneapolis/ St. Paul who graduated from Yale University
and served his country in the First World War. Carraway was raised in a small town in the
Midwest. He finds his hometown to be stifling and decides to move to the East Coast in the
early 1920s to learn the bond business. He hopes to find a sense of freedom and identity in
New York. Carraway lives next door to the wealthy Jay Gatsby in a district of Long Island
called West Egg.
However, Nick Carraway is not only a character taking part in the story, he is also the
I-narrator that the author uses to recount his story. The Great Gatsby is told entirely through
Nick Carraway’s eyes; his thoughts and perceptions color and shape the story. The Great
Gatsby actually functions as a personal memoir of Carraway’s experiences with his
mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby in the summer of 1922. The story becomes more realistic by
means of using an first-person-narrator. Because Nick Carraway is experiencing events and
telling the reader about them in his own words, the plot becomes more believable. Rather than
imposing himself between the reader and the action, a first-person- narrator can bring the
reader closer to the action by forcing him to experience the events as though he was the
narrator himself. The I of the narrator becomes the I of the reader who is, like Carraway, left
wondering who Gatsby is, why he gives these huge parties and what his background and past
may be. The reader might identify more with the story than it is the case when an omniscient
third-person narrator is used. The reader cares about Gatsby because the narrator does; he
wants to find out more about Gatsby because the narrator does; he is angry that no one comes
to Gatsby’s funeral because the narrator is... Carraway’s position as the narrator, placed
between the reader and the narration, gives him the only authoritative role of interpretation.
Therefore the narrator’s point of view and his credibility should be examined.
Nick Carraway seems to be the perfect choice to narrate the novel. He is the cousin of
Daisy Buchanan, he was in the same senior society as Tom Buchanan at Yale, and he rented a
house right next to Jay Gatsby. He knows all the characters well enough to be present at the
crucial scenes in the novel. [...]


The Problematic point of view of the I-narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Gatsby'
Southern Connecticut State University  (English Department)
American Literature of the Early 1900s
1 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
526 KB
Problematic, I-narrator, Scott, Fitzgerald’s, Great, Gatsby, American, Literature, Early
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2003, The Problematic point of view of the I-narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Gatsby', Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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