Contrast and Compare Young Goodman Brown and The Ministers Black Veil
The Great Gatsby
In the book “The Great Gatsby” the character Nick Carraway is a young man who comes from money which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on ones character. People with great financial freedom who lived in the 1920’s seemed to have such a lavish life style. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tells of the differences in his novel by showing the varying virtues that come with this type of lifestyle. As Nick Carraway makes his way to New York City he does not loose his sense of self. And as we go through this story with Nick an read about the extravagance that was so prevalent in that era, we see that Nick holds on to some of the simplicity of being from out West, as a symbol of this his house is in West Egg the lesser of the two Eggs.
He also holds on to the lessons his dad taught him, one in paticular: “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”(F.Scott Fitzgerald, 5). Nick has learned this lesson so well he watches what he says about everything that he see and he is also careful of his own actions. At one point Gatsby asks Nick if he makes enough money as a bonds man; and offers him a job with Wolfsheim. Even though there is the possibility that he could make better money, this business is illegal, and it would go against his character. But Nick says, no thanks chooses to not judge Gatsby on what is right or wrong. The rich of East Egg want to be seen as proper and they put on a great facade, however, Nick sees right through it and is disgusted by the culture and the individuals that live there.
After spending one afternoon with his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan Nick realizes that they are a dysfunctional bunch. And even though they are related to him Nick dislikes the environment of East Egg. In fact, Nick notices that they are more interested in gossiping then they are in him, a family member. And thinks to himself”Their interest rather touched me and made them seem less remotely rich~nevertheless, I was confused and a little disgusted as I drove away.”(F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24-25). Here, Nick demonstrates that he sees the Buchanan’s fake concern towards him which makes them seem lesser then what they portray. He also perceives the constant lying that goes on as people choose to confide in him, but what is said is never truths and Nick never actually admits to anyone he knows about their lies.
Catherine who is Myrtle’s sister, tells Nick that Daisy will not divorce Tom because she is Catholic, Nick is, “a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 38). At this point, Nick knows that the only reason Tom told Catherine this is because he hopes to make his marriage seem real. Tom knows that the only reason Daisy is married to him is because of his money. Nick sees how the the people of East Egg cannot take the reality because they have to maintain that facade at all cost. And even though Nick comes from the same background and money he is troubled by the life these individuals pursue. As I read on, Nick seems to me to be very honest and living in the present, not in lies of the others. He also is steadfast in his beliefs and does not deviate from his convictions.
Nick explains his honesty when he affirms, “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (F. Scott, Fitzgerald, 64). Nick is not only honest with himself, he also wants others to see the truth as he sees it. Even though he is aware that the money of East Egg brings with it a certain status and power, Nick sees Gatsby from the inside and realizes that he is better then the Buchanans. The Buchanans and the residents of East Egg tell lies with no purpose other then selfishness. Nick becomes aware that Gatsby’s lying ways are due to the fact that he is in love with Daisy and he lies to impress her. And in all this discovery, Nick says to Gatsby, “They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn, “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” (F. Scott,Fitzgerald, 162).
Nick’s personality clashes with his friends inability to be honest, in order to maintain his honesty and not loose himself, he always tells the truth. Even though the characters in the novel continue to tell stories to survive their own lives, Nick chooses to stay true to who he is, an honest man. Nick sets a tone through his narration that he did not want to be intertwined into these characters lives or lies for that matter.And with everything that goes on around him he seems cool and collected. But at one point in the story you could feel his uneasiness, when Gatsby asked him to invite Daisy to lunch. Nick just seemed to be able to stay on the margins, maybe because his old fashioned up bringing taught him to respect boundaries. Or maybe Nick was just one of those characters that knew to mind his own business.
When Gatsby burst out saying that Daisy was in love with him and never loved Tom, Nick wanted to leave and he wasn’t the only one trying to excuse himself, Jordan Baker to wanted to make her way out, “At this point Jordan and I tried o go out but Tom and Gatsby insisted with competitive firmness that we remain” (F. Scott, Fitzgerald, 138). As we see Nick keeps on the outside, orbiting his friends lives, but it shows that as hard as it might be because he knows everything about everyone he chooses to not make a vocal judgement on any one.
For Nick being from money didn’t change him as he experienced life in he East. He chose to stay with the simplicity of the Midwest by staying on West Egg even though he was neighbors with Gatsby, and this is shown by the simplicity of the small cottage he rented for that summer. His virtues as taught by his father, the values that come from growing up in the Midwest were so ingrained in his person that he did not fall pray to the eccentric and lying ways of the rich of East Egg. Nick Carraway told the story from an honest and non judgmental perspective.