Saturday, November 29, 2008


In the season finale for 'Entourage' this week, Martin Scorsese (playing himself) offered the role of Nick Carraway in his upcoming version of 'The Great Gatsby' to Vincent Chase.

Here's a great analysis of the character Nick Carraway:

Nick Carraway

The novel's narrator, Nick is a young man from Minnesota who, after being educated at Yale and fighting in World War I, goes to New York City to learn the bond business. Honest, tolerant, and inclined to reserve judgment, Nick often serves as a confidant for those with troubling secrets. After moving to West Egg, a fictional area of Long Island that is home to the newly rich, Nick quickly befriends his next-door neighbor, the mysterious Jay Gatsby. As Daisy Buchanan's cousin, he facilitates the rekindling of the romance between her and Gatsby. "The Great Gatsby" is told entirely through Nick's eyes; his thoughts and perceptions shape and color the story.

If Gatsby represents one part of Fitzgerald's personality, the flashy celebrity who pursued and glorified wealth in order to impress the woman he loved, then Nick represents another part: the quiet, reflective Midwesterner adrift in the lurid East. A young man (he turns thirty during the course of the novel) from Minnesota, Nick travels to New York in 1922 to learn the bond business. He lives in the West Egg district of Long Island, next door to Gatsby. Nick is also Daisy's cousin, which enables him to observe and assist the resurgent love affair between Daisy and Gatsby. As a result of his relationship to these two characters, Nick is the perfect choice to narrate the novel, which functions as a personal memoir of his experiences with Gatsby in the summer of 1922.

Nick is also well suited to narrating "The Great Gatsby" because of his temperament. As he tells the reader in Chapter I, he is tolerant, open-minded, quiet, and a good listener, and, as a result, others tend to talk to him and tell him their secrets. Gatsby, in particular, comes to trust him and treat him as a confidant. Nick generally assumes a secondary role throughout the novel, preferring to describe and comment on events rather than dominate the action. Often, however, he functions as Fitzgerald's voice, as in his extended meditation on time and the American dream at the end of Chapter IX.

Insofar as Nick plays a role inside the narrative, he evidences a strongly mixed reaction to life on the East Coast, one that creates a powerful internal conflict that he does not resolve until the end of the book. On the one hand, Nick is attracted to the fast-paced, fun-driven lifestyle of New York. On the other hand, he finds that lifestyle grotesque and damaging. This inner conflict is symbolized throughout the book by Nick's romantic affair with Jordan Baker. He is attracted to her vivacity and her sophistication just as he is repelled by her dishonesty and her lack of consideration for other people.

Nick states that there is a “quality of distortion” to life in New York, and this lifestyle makes him lose his equilibrium, especially early in the novel, as when he gets drunk at Gatsby's party in Chapter II. After witnessing the unraveling of Gatsby's dream and presiding over the appalling spectacle of Gatsby's funeral, Nick realizes that the fast life of revelry on the East Coast is a cover for the terrifying moral emptiness that the valley of ashes symbolizes. Having gained the maturity that this insight demonstrates, he returns to Minnesota in search of a quieter life structured by more traditional moral values.

Nick would be a good character for Vince, who's not a good actor. Like Alan Swan declares in "My Favorite Year", "I'm not an actor; I'm a STAR!", and that applies to Vince as well. So as Gatsby's friend, serving as the observer to the actions of the those people swirling about him, Vince wouldn't need to call on anything more than the expression in his eyes, and he does have very expressive eyes.

As for any other casting on the picture, if we had to at least guess on who would play Gatsby, I would think Scorsese's televersion wouldn't stray too far from the real Marty. And that would mean he more than likely might cast somebody with whom he had worked in the past - I'm thinking Leonardo DiCaprio. And maybe Matt Damon either as Tom Buchanan or the mechanic George Wilson, whose wife is having an affair with Tom. (Maybe Mark Wahlberg for that role?) And Daisy? Scarlett Johanssen, perhaps?

Scorsese told Vincent that he planned to do a modern version of the story, setting it on the Upper West Side rather than in West Egg. I'm not sure that would work; in fact, I think the real Martin Scorsese would rather take on the challenge of filming it in its 1920s period on Long Island. But Toobworld does have its differences with the "Trueniverse" and this would be one of them.

Who knows? Maybe one of the actors he hires turns out to be an alien posing as a human!

For more analysis of Nick, click

From there, you can also read about the other characters, the mores of the times, and even a synopsis for each chapter of the novel.


Toby O'B

"Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures."
Nick Carraway
"The Great Gatsby"

1 comment:

Mercurie said...

Definitely. Vince Chase needs to play Nick Carraway at some point.