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The Struggle to be Honest in a Corrupt World: Narration and Relations in The Great Gatsby
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English. (BA LIT)
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (university diploma), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Although many attempts have been made on determining the trustworthiness of the

narrator in The Great Gatsby, I would like to argue that there is more to say on that

matter. Critics like Gary Scrimegeour and Colin Cass claim that the narrator Nick

Carraway is hypocrisy embodied. They argue that his statements do not coincide with

his actions, and that the author Fitzgerald was clumsy and made Nick a hypocrite by

mistake. On the contrary, I would like to argue that Fitzgerald very much knew what

he was doing when he portrayed the character of Nick. In Nick, Fitzgerald succeeds to

depict a person with human faults but his heart in the right place, who struggles to be

honest in a corrupt world. His hypocrisy in the narrative should rather be viewed as

turning points in his moral growth, as he seeks to understand the new ways of the

west. By investigating Nick’s different relationships in the novel and analysing them

one by one, I collect proof to strengthen my claim. Beginning with the smaller

characters of Daisy, Tom, and Jordan, I then continue to analyse Gatsby and finally

the relationship between Nick and the reader. One of my main points in this essay is

that the paths of Nick and Gatsby are closely linked and that Nick shadows much of

what Gatsby does. Therefore Nick’s statement about Gatsby, “[Gatsby] believed in

you as you would like to believe in yourself” (53) is essential in understanding Nick’s

actions. Nick thinks he was given the promise of the impossible and therefore took a

leap at life, although everything he had ever known was against it. When Nick

eventually realizes that Gatsby’s dream would fail, he still shows tribute to the man

whom this narrative is ultimately written for, so the sacrifice for the dead Gatsby must

be seen as an action of an honest man.

Keywords: Narration, honesty, dishonesty, reliability, morality, moral journey,

ambivalence, moral growth

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 24
Series
Stockholm studies in English, ISSN 0346-6272
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-138980OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-138980DiVA, id: diva2:1070090
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Examiners
Available from: 2017-03-06 Created: 2017-01-31 Last updated: 2017-03-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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