There is one thing in the relationship between Gatsby and Nick that can’t absolutely be decided. Does Gatsby really want a friendship with Nick or does he just use him in order to get closer to Daisy? Gatsby’s single goal seems to start an affair with Daisy again and it’s probable that at the beginning Nick was only interesting to him because he knew Daisy.
Later becomes clearer and clearer that there is at least some affection for Nick, but it can’t completely be clarified if his interest in Daisy still predominates, the more so as she is the topic in their most private conversation at the end.
THE MONEY AND THE SOCIETY
Although they are neighbors, Nick and Gatsby live in different worlds. While Nick’s house is more small and modest, Gatsby’s lives in a huge mansion with a lawn that extends to the beach and that is so large that there is need for several gardeners.
For Gatsby there exists no status symbol that is more important than financial success. He can’t imagine anyone would like to be his friend if he was poor and to make things worse, he’s at least partially right as Daisy left him because he wasn’t wealthy.
It’s surprising that he likes Nick although he isn’t very rich, because in all of his relationships money plays an important role. Between pages 154 and 157 gets clear that even his love to Daisy is affected by money and her luxury.
Gatsby longs to be a part of the high society but actually he is an outsider. An important symbol for this is that he is very wealthy and has an expensive mansion, but nevertheless lives in East Egg while the “real” high society lives in West Egg. At the end it comes out that Nick was one of his only real friends: When he stopped giving large parties the cars that drove onto his drive waited just a minute. Nick seems to be more or less the only one who cares about him after his death. So he is the one to organize the funeral and is, apart from the drunkard and Gatsby’s father, the only attendant of it.
As it is mentioned in various passages of the book, for example in the foreword (p. 8), Nick is impressed by Gatsby’s “extraordinary gift for hope” and his courage. So he isn’t able to tell him in the conversation at the end that Daisy won’t come back to him because he doesn’t want to destroy his hope.
On the other hand, Nick can’t approve Gatsby’s dishonesty and his criminal energy. Gatsby made a lot of his money in selling alcohol during the time of the prohibition. Furthermore he seems to lack of morals: When Myrtle is killed the only thing that matters for him is Daisy’s reaction. In reference to this Nick thinks “I disliked him so much this time that I didn’t find it necessary this time to tell him he was wrong.” (p. 150)
Nevertheless he stays with Gatsby that evening and they have a very long and intimate conversation in which Gatsby tells Nick the whole story of Daisy from the beginning to the end. This is probably the strongest proof for Nick and Gatsby having a close friendship in the entire book, and it is also a good example for their ambivalent feelings for each other: Although Nick really disliked him for a short moment at the beginning, he finally tells him that “he is worth the whole damn bunch put together” (p. 160).
- Fitzgerald, Scott F.: The Great Gatsby. Stuttgart 1989