Honesty and Dishonesty in the Great Gatsby
The Jazz Age created a great deal of change for the people of America. Men and women became obsessed with material possessions, becoming materialistic and dishonest, leaving very few with the virtue of honesty. The dynamism in people slowly faded from this cause. This is portrayed by Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby, where characters are defined as honest, dishonest and materialistic. Through the examination of the characters, Fitzgerald depicts Nick Carraway as an honest man, and Jordan Baker as a dishonest woman. While reading The Great Gatsby, it is evident how Fitzgerald depicts Nick Carraway as an honest man.
The reader notices how Nick does not judge anybody by avoiding that the person he is looking at is different. Nick is non-judgemental about a person’s view or opinion because he says “a sense of fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth” (7). This explains why Nick does not want to argue with people; because he points out that people don’t choose to be different, but are born with these differences. With this fact, Nick is “inclined to reserve all judgements” (7), showing that he listens to their opinion about a certain problem without any arguments towards it.
The most important fact about Nick Carraway is that even he himself knows about his pure honesty, he supports this fact by stating “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (59). While reading about honesty in Nick Carraway, the reader notices that there is a woman that is the complete opposite of Nick, named Jordan Baker. Jordan is depicted as a dishonest woman, which is bluntly stated by Fitzgerald, stating that “She was incurably dishonest” (58). Jordan is a woman that lies out of every given situation with her dishonesty, without people noticing.
Such as the time when she was at a big gold golf tournament, where there was “a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round” (58). By now it is evident how Jordan Baker is completely dishonest and will lie in any given situation, and does not care for what other people think about her as long as they “Keep out of my way” (59). With the Jazz Age changing the way people are, Fitzgerald uses Nick Carraway to represent the handful of men that were left with the virtue of honesty, and Jordan baker as the rest of the people that fell for material possessions, and became dishonest during this time period.
Jordan’s dishonesty was depicted through her actions, such as the accident with the car top open, and from moving the golf ball at the gold golf tournament. As for Nick, he gained honesty through is experiences in life, by not judging anyone differently and being open to their thoughts, and secrets, relating to his statement which said “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope” (7). With this evidence, it is clear that through the examination of the characters, Fitzgerald uses Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker to depict honesty and dishonesty in The Great Gatsby.