This article will make a comparison and contrast between the characters Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. Despite their obvious differences, they share a great lot in common. This is why I want to compare and contrast both personalities to show how and why they vary and are similar.
Nick Carraway was born and raised in the state of Minnesota before moving to Los Angeles. He's not well-off, but he's also not in dire straits. Took part in the First World War when he was a student at Yale University. Nick heads to New York City at the start of the story to learn more about the bond market. He relocates to Long Island's West Egg, a fictitious and story-bound neighborhood. As Jay Gatsby's next-door neighbor, he is introduced to and becomes acquainted with the wealthy socialite. Nick has a hard time committing himself to women. He doesn't appear to be able to form any sort of bond with them. Back home, he had an engaged girlfriend, but he broke up with her, moved to the east coast and now denies it to Daisy when she presses him on it (p.21, Ch.1).
Nick is the narrator and a participant in the tale, and the novel is written entirely through his perspective. A friend and neighbour of his, Jay Gatsby, recalls the tale.
The plot revolves around Jay Gatsby, who may be considered both the protagonist and the "star" of the piece. He has a large home in West Egg and is quite well-off. Saturday night bashes are legendary, and he never disappoints. No one has any idea who he is or how he got rich in the beginning of the tale since no one knows anything about him. Jay was born James Gatz, and he was raised on a farm in North Dakota. He obtained his riches via illicit activities. Nick discovers this information during the course of the novel. Nick and Jay both participated in World War One, and after the war Jay attended Oxford University to further his studies. A second cousin of Nick's, Daisy Buchanan, is Jay's current love interest. During his time in Louisville, Gatsby fell in love with her, but they lost contact and now he is eager to do whatever to rekindle their relationship.
Despite the fact that they live next door to one other and are good friends, Nick and Gatsby have quite different perspectives on money. Jay is a very successful businessman who lives in a mansion and is quite affluent. He earns a living by engaging in illegal activity, such as rigging sporting events. Money and opulence have an impact on even his connection with Daisy. The house Nick lives in is a small one, but he cherishes the few things he has. Though he isn't very well-off, he's determined to live the American Dream. Taking the train into the city every day, he earns his living by working for a company that deals in bonds.
In order to get Daisy back, Gatsby is prepared to do everything; he has never been able to get her out of his mind. His one wish in life is to relive the good old days with Tom, but that is impossible while he is still around. That she must tell Tom that she never loved him and that she has always loved Jay is something that he keeps repeating. Finally, Gatsby is so desperate that he informs Tom himself. This does not go well for anybody (Ch. 7, p.138).
Nick, on the other hand, is incapable of committing to a woman without fleeing. As previously stated, Nick has a fictitious fiancée back in Minnesota, a woman he refuses to acknowledge. Miss Jordan Baker, on the other hand, is a unique case. Playing golf is a pastime for this single woman. Nick and her have a brief fling at the conclusion of the novel, but everyone else goes their own ways as well.
While Nick and Gatsby have their differences, they also have certain parallels. Firstly, both of them were born and raised in the Midwestern United States and relocated to West Egg. Gatsby is a native of North Dakota, while Nick is a native of Minnesota, as previously established.
Daisy is another commonality amongst them. Gatsby's long-lost love, Daisy, is Nick's second cousin. They met in Louisville, but Gatsby had to leave for war right away. After the war, Jay went directly to Oxford to try to earn a good degree so that he could live up to Daisy's opulent expectations of him. Daisy married Tom two years after he left to war, despite the fact that she was meant to wait for him. Gatsby's memory of Daisy was etched in stone. Think on the reasons why Jay brought Nick into his life in the first place after reading this. Is it because he wants to get closer to Daisy? Is there something fishy about Jay and Nick's relationship?
The fact that both of these guys participated in World War One and attended prestigious universities is an evident connection between them. Prior to his service in World War I, Nick attended Yale University alongside Tom. Even though he only stayed for a few weeks, Gatsby went to Oxford once he returned from World War I. The narrative portrays Nick as an outsider. He is the only one among Jay and Daisy's friends who isn't affluent, and this makes him feel out of place. New York's fast-paced, exciting lifestyle intrigues Nick, but it also horrifies and devastates him. In his quiet way, he watches the lives of everyone around him with integrity and intelligence. Nick is not the only one who may be considered an outsider in the narrative; Gatsby might also be considered one. While he may be well-off in West Egg, the more affluent residents of East Egg tend to be more well-dressed.
Despite their differences, the characters really share more similarities than differences. When you look at the characters later, you may realise that the reason they seem so different is because they have different values or standards. This could be difficult to understand when reading the novel. It's possible to say that they grew up in similar circumstances, but when it came time to select a course in life, Nick choose to work hard and rise through the ranks, whereas Gatsby opted for illegal acts in order to achieve what he wanted quickly. For reasons that are unclear, we learn at the end of the novel that Nick is Gatsby's sole genuine buddy. Is it possible that Gatsby's invitation to his own life is a result of these qualities?
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