The Great Gatsby Essay
"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
In his famed book, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald shows his readers the main idea behind the whole story in the opening paragraph. This is done purposely. Immediately Fitzgerald has the narrator, Nick, say what his father told him when he was young. That quote is the foundation with which the rest of the book is built around, and is also the reason Nick reacts the way he does throughout the story. This is important because it allows Nick to see the events around him, and to tell about them without tainting them with his judgment. This is crucial to the success of The Great Gatsby, and allows readers the freedom to make their own judgments about F. Scott Fitzgerald's characters.
Nick, the mild mannered and tolerant narrator, finds himself in the world of the rich and filthy rich throughout the entirety of the story. He is repulsed by the way these people conduct themselves. Yet he patiently interacts with them and learns more about them before judging. It does not take him long to figure out his cousin Daisy and her husband, Tom, are so wrapped up in their money that it has made them immoral. Throughout the story, Nick meets many of these sorts of people, and finds them all to be alike: all except for Gatsby.
The reason Nick's tempered judgment is so key in this story is that it allows him to learn about Gatsby. At first, he could have easily dismissed Gatsby as being just like everyone else. After all, Gatsby did own the huge house next-door to Nick. He threw gigantic, wild parties where the partygoers were not even invited. Nick could have easily judged Gatsby, and decided he was sick with money just like all the others. Yet, if he had, he would not have seen Gatsby for who he was: the only good apple of the bunch.
The placement of the advice given to Nick is also critical to the story. It tells the reader why Nick behaves the way he does in certain situations. One such situation Nick found himself in was when Tom took him on a trip to meet his "girl". Nick's first impulse was shock. Cheating on his wife appeared to be normal to Tom. Although Nick clearly does not believe this is right, he went along with what was happening. Why is it so important that he does this? Because the reader is then able to learn many important things from what transpires in these scenes; scenes that go against what Nick knows to be right. If he had not been patient with his judgment, many key elements would be missing from the story.
Because of what he learned from his father, Nick is able to pick Gatsby out from all the other wealthy and fake people of "East Egg" and "West Egg". He is able to find the goodness within him. He likes Gatsby although he does not agree with him on many things. Yet, by following what he was told, Nick is able to deliver the events of the story through neutral eyes, and find the one person who is worth his while. Also, without casting judgment, he can tell the story as is, and allow the reader to come to his or her own conclusion. This is what makes F. Scott Fitzgerald's book, The Great Gatsby, a great and important staple of American Literature.