February 8, 2005

Deception in The Great Gatsby

Although this novel is rife with deceptive characters, Nick Carraway is, by far, the most effective in his dishonesty. While Gatsby and others blatently lie to Nick, in order to manipulate him, he quickly discerns their motives behind their fabrications. In this fashion, Gatsby, Miss Baker and others are "sincerely insincere." Nick can "read" their lies like a doctor would diagnose medical syptoms, since they stem from underlying character weaknesses and insecurities. Conversely, Nick is studiously honest in a literal sense, never deceiving others by outright lying. However, he is aware that Gatsby, Tom, Baker, Daisy etc all view him as naive and unsophisticated and he encourages this misperception by never revealing that he sees through their machinations. His statements are purposively simple, direct and seemingly innocent, in contrast to the internal editorializing Fitzgerald has him make throughout the story. In this sense, Nick is "insincerely sincere," using the appearance/illusion of simplicity and naiviety as a way to keep himself free from entanglements and outside of the games within which the others consider him to be merely a pawn.

Posted by JamesStutzman at February 8, 2005 3:04 PM

I definitely have to agree about Nick being dishonest. I recall some statement, correct me if I am wrong, in the story between to characters saying how "so and so would never take my wife he's too good of a friend". However, Nick doesn't seem to bothered by the fact that he is helping his supposed friend (Tom)'s wife practically cheat on her husband with Gatsby. Not only that, he fools Daisy into coming to meet him and she thinks that he (Nick) likes her and wants an afternoon-soiree when meanwhile he has Gatsby there waiting for her. I don't know. It just blew my mind that fact that he seemed to be such great friends with Tom until Gatsby came around and then he was willing to do what he did. Also...very meddlesome.

Posted by: Lesley at February 8, 2005 7:18 PM

I totally agree, gatsby totally wanted to stick his D in Daisy's A
(get it? get it? d in her a?)

8=====) )

Posted by: STDephan at April 23, 2007 6:14 PM
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