4 October 2012
Dishonesty of the “whole damn bunch” Honesty is the major human trait that can separate an admirable person from a deceptive person. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, most of his characters are dishonest. Each character that lies or is dishonest affects someone else. Through the perspective of his narrator, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald demonstrates that dishonesty can tear apart friendships and can affect society as a whole. Jay Gatsby is one of the most well-liked characters for readers, but he is dishonest in many ways about himself. Gatsby lies to Nick in the beginning when Nick asks him, “What part of the Midwest” he is from, and Gatsby replies, “San Francisco,” a city that is clearly not in the Middle West (Fitzgerald 65). Gatsby does not lie to hurt anyone or make people feel inferior but rather to hide his past and his road to wealth. He is nervous that his true past as a North Dakota farmboy might reflect badly upon him, so to explain his wealth he continues, “My family all died and I came into a good deal of money” (Fitzgerald 65). Gatsby lies only to augment his life in the past, and never is out to hurt anybody. Nick also describes Jordan Baker as being dishonest when he utters, “She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness” (Fitzgerald 58). Jordan is a professional golfer, and Nick tells us that she cheated on her first golf tournament by changing the lie of her ball. Her lies mostly affect Nick because she lies to make other characters think she is more honest than she actually is. Jordan’s lies served to show the reader that she was part of the “damn bunch” that is dishonest and who didn’t care about anyone else but themselves. Although Jordan was a minor character; she was dishonest in ways, which portray her brutal attitude towards others and even herself.
A more vicious liar is Tom Buchanan, another major character that possesses the trait of dishonesty. He has several moments when he lies to people, and eventually his lying is the cause of Gatsby’s death. Tom has been cheating on his wife Daisy with Myrtle Wilson, who is also married. They both lie to their spouses about where they’re going and head to New York. Tom’s biggest deceit, however, leads to Gatsby’s death by lying to George Wilson about who runs over and kills Myrtle. Tom tells George that the driver of the yellow car that hits and kills his wife is Gatsby. The real driver is Daisy, but by Tom telling George that Gatsby committed the crime, Wilson immediately became enraged. George’s adrenaline kicked in and he went straight to Gatsby’s house and killed him for something that he didn’t even do. Whether or not Tom knows that Daisy is the actual driver of the car that kills Myrtle, he decides to say that the driver is Gatsby because Tom knew that Gatsby was falling in love with her. Nick may be thought out to just be an observer, but he has several moments of dishonesty within this novel. Nick believes that he is the only true honest character, and that everyone else around him is untrustworthy. He is the narrator of the story, so Fitzgerald makes him out to be a good honest person. Nick even says, “I am one of the few honest people that I have known”(Fitzgerald 64). Nick tries too hard to make