The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzferald
Ms. Berrisford by A. Brohman
The protagonist in The Great Gatsby is Nick Carraway. This is surprising, since the book focuses on the character of Jay Gatsby. Nick is the narrator who tells the reader about a man he knew named Gatsby. The novel begins with a brief description of Nick's life; his family was from the Midwest, and they had money (2). He fought in World War One after he graduated from university. In the spring of 1922 he came east to New York to try and find a job in the bond business (3). This is where he eventually meets Gatsby. Details like these make the narrator easy to relate to. You feel like you are getting to know him and he's willing to share details about himself. Nick is interesting and different because, instead of writing a novel about himself and his experiences when he chose to move to New York, he is writing about a man he meets on the way, Gatsby. Nick moves in wealthy and party going circles, but he is often content to observe. He sees what others are doing and this helps him learn about them, and their character. Nick seems believable, since he established trust with the reader, and it wouldn't be as sensible to write a story about someone that isn't true. Even though Nick is easy to like, his is the only perspective you get. He is a first person narrator, so he can say whatever he wants. So, his perspective seems reliable, but there is no way for the reader to verify that he is telling the truth.
"My own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbour's lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires--all for eighty dollars a month" (5). This quote shows a number of things. It shows that despite Nick's family money, he is less affluent in New York. He is living in a humble house. Despite his lack of money, he is able to live in a house that has a good view of the water, one that his millionaire neighbours also want. Based on where he lives, it is likely that Nick will socialize, or at least meet many wealthy people. "I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn't call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone-- he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness" (22). This quote draws in a number of themes that will be repeated throughout the novel, namely Nick ending up alone. He has a hard time connecting with the partying crowd he falls in with and often ends up in moments like this, in contemplation alone. This quote also reflects Gatsby's solitude, and his longing, or reaching for something else, something outside his grasp that will be explained later.
Daisy is Nick's cousin. Though they are cousins they hadn't seen each other in years. When Nick comes by for dinner he is thrust into a strange situation, where Daisy and her friend Jordan are talking, and it becomes clear that Daisy's husband is having an affair. At the end of the night Daisy says to Nick, "'In fact I think I'll arrange a marriage. Come over often, Nick, and I'll sort of --oh-- fling you together. You know-- lock you up accidentally in linen closets and push you out to sea in a boat, and all that sort of thing--'" (19). Despite her good intentions, Daisy is doing what she wants. Nick has expressed no desire in being married, and has not asked for help from Daisy. Daisy is merely amusing herself with these things. It seems that what she wants to amuse herself and what others want will likely come into conflict. She is focused on what she wants, which could be a problem for Nick's good nature, since he seems pleased to make others happy. Likely, she wants something to distract from her own life, since her husband is having an affair, and is willing to meddle in the affairs' of others to give her that distraction.