Inspiration: Nick Caraway
“Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known”
Nick Caraway is one of those characters you either love or hate him. Over the years I have asked people said question and the majority say they didn’t like him as a character. The better question is why? I’ve read Great Gatsby a handful of time over the years and I have grown to appreciate him as a character. Yes he’s simple, Yes he’s predictable, Yes he’s innocent and he certainly not complex. A protagonist like Caraway is necessary to make a story somewhat believable. Love is blind and love is careless but love is not innocent. Without innocence, I think The Great Gatsby would not have been the success it became after it was published. The story is savage circle of vices with lack of innocence but without Caraway’s trip down the rabbit hole would make the novel lost.
What I love about Scott’s novel is his ability to paint character’s a look and style, right down to their socks. Caraway, while not a sharp dresser like Gatsby, Nick’s sense of style fit the every day dapper gentleman style of the 20’s. From the boater hats, bow ties to the oxford stripe shirts, Caraway was a class act. But was he Gay? His friendships with Daisy and Jordan are comical and his passion for them is more of admiration for the lust for life than of the skin. His obsession is certainly that of Gatsby and all things Gatsby. Fitzgerald seemed to write Nick as a doting fool in love with a man, more than man witnessing the rise and fall of his new found friend.
Whether or not Fitzgerald mean’t for Caraway to be gay, he certainly left many clues laying down the assumption. In terms of portrayals between the two movie, Sam Waterston is certainly the Nick, that I fell in love with. McGuire’s portrayal while young and witty, was to fake or too much of farce on the character. So would I place a green carnation in Caraway’s lapel, Yes!