When I was reading chapter 3 of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a few lines made me pause. On page 38, paragraph 1, an extremely drunk Nick Carraway says the following about his artist friend Mr. McKee, who, it should be noted, is described as “pale and feminine,” (Fitzgerald 30), “…I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear,..”.
Additionally, there are several other passages in the chapter that could be described as euphemistic. “‘Keep your hands off the lever,’ snapped the elevator boy.” (Fitzgerald 37) and “…I wiped from his cheek the remains…of dried lather…” (Fitzgerald 36) could both have sexual subtexts? These euphemisms and Nick’s closeness with McKee throughout the entire night occur simultaneously to Nick’s avoidance of Myrtle’s sister Catherine, who is described as “…very beautiful by people who ought to know.” (Fitzgerald 28). Clearly, Nick isn’t as suave with the ladies as the time would expect him to be, in fact, it seems like he isn’t interested at all.
Original photo from flickr.com
People who don’t think that Nick is gay argue that he may just not “fit in” among the old money and opulence of 1920s long island. They argue that he’s simply a shy man who doesn’t feel like he’s in the right place, and they point to his pursuit of Jordan Baker as evidence and granted, he does kiss her in chapter four, and may also go further later in the book, although I have not read that far at the time of this writing.
However, as opposed to many other passages in the book, his kiss of Jordan Baker is described very dryly and without the flowing prose of many other scenes, almost as though the writer, in this case, Nick himself, does not view the situation as sensuous or exciting. Specifically, saying that he “drew her up…to [his] face”, instead of saying something like lips or describing the kiss in any detail, supports the point I made above.
In conclusion, from what I have seen so far, I think that it is very likely that Nick Carraway is gay or at least bi-curious. However, I’d love to know what you think. Is he gay? Is he not? And why?