The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Introverted Feeling (Fi): Nick’s consciousness about his values flow into every part of his life. He left is home to come to New York because of value clashes with his father. Nick is the only person who is not morally “burned” by the end of the novel, and the reason for this is that he considers his ethical standing in everything that he does. His morals stem from within, not from his external environment. When he decides whether or not to help Gatsby connect with Daisy, he asks himself whether it is right, rather than asking someone else whether it is right. Nick does not have a wide social circle, but rather seeks out extremely close connections with a few. He is deeply loyal to his friends and actively seeks to support them in their struggles, though he is reluctant to share his own feelings with them. When Nick feels that he has been wronged, he doesn’t try to talk it out with them, but instead expresses his disapproval through action. When he discovers that Jordan’s values do not match his own (and that she cheats her way through life) he doesn’t try to discuss it with her. Instead he simply breaks off the relationship with no explanation.
Extroverted Sensing (Se): Nick isn’t afraid to try new things, and quickly begins investing in the stock market despite the fact that he is relatively un-lucrative in this regard. He makes friends with people who are extremely different from himself and is unafraid to spend time doing what they want to do with them (Gatsby wants to show-off his stuff and talk about his life, Daisy needs a confidant, Tom wants to be promiscuous, Jordan wants to silently complain about people etc.). In this regard, he loves to experience everything, not just his quiet life at home, but the craziness of New York. Although his introverted side makes him much less of a partier than his fellow characters, Nick certainly experiences the party in full force. He notices the sights, smells sounds and even the aura of the places that he goes. Nick has an eye for beauty and often uses lyrical language to describe his environment and the occurrences in it. He notices things that others don’t and manages to find beauty in the ugly parts of New York. Although Nick is a dreamer, he still manages to remain incredibly down to earth.
Introverted Intuition (Ni): Nick is easily able to recognize when something is going on behind the lines. He catches the unsaid words and understands and there is even evidence for this on the very first page of the book (“we’ve always been very communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.”) Gatsby relies heavily on Nick’s advice, and it is evident that both Gatsby and Daisy feel more justified in their actions when Nick is nearby –thus his awkward obligation to third-wheel. Nick foresees dangerous possibilities that will eventually result from current happenings, but does not necessarily act to prevent them (because his Te is inferior). Compared to the other people around him, Nick is incredibly calm. He is tolerant where other people are biased, which is why in the end when Gatsby’s legal and sexual affairs are revealed, he remains Gatsby’s only true friend. Nick loves symbolism, which you can see woven throughout the entire novel, from Gatsby’s green light to the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.
Extroverted Thinking (Te): It is clear that Te is Nick’s inferior function, because although his intuition allows him to see that something is happening behind the scenes, he frequently fails to draw logical conclusions about these things. For instance, despite the fact that Gatsby introduces him to a number of relatively shady people (namely Meyer Wolfsheim), he doesn’t connect this with Gatsby’s illegal business. Nick is responsible and careful with his time, though he doesn’t particularly keep a strict schedule. He is a believer in quick rewards and joins in the enigma of the day to invest in the stock market, rather than focusing on his long-term goals as a writer.
6 thoughts on “Nick Carraway: ISFP”
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How recently had you read the book before typing this character? I finished it a couple days ago and I don’t remember him leaving to New York because of a clash of values with his father. Instead, he left because, after serving in the army, he grew restless in his hometown and decided to pursue business on the east coast. Although his family was skeptical, his father agreed to help him financially for a year.
Also, it seems like he uses fe as opposed to fi. First, he is very in tune with others’ emotions. He can tell when Daisy lies to him because of the lack of emotion he felt from her. He goes to introduce himself to Gatsby one night, but stops because he seems to be in personal distress (Gatsby was reaching out for the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock). His morals don’t seem as internally derived as you said. When asked to help reconnect Daisy and Gatsby, he agreed immediately (although I had the impression he was more conflicted internally). When he went with Tom Buchanan to meet Tom’s mistress, he got sucked into the group, despite inner reservations. Finally, the second half of the fi paragraph (starting with ‘Nick does not have a wide social circle’) doesn’t necessarily mean he’s fi. I use fe as my second function and I do all the things listed there. It doesn’t help me to talk through my emotions, I don’t have or want a wide circle of friends, and I have a hard time talking through problems in a relationship (despite that being my go to for advice, “talk about it!”).
Please let me know if I’ve gotten it wrong, or how I’ve gotten it wrong!
Oh, another reason I think fe. Not only does he recognize the negative emotions going on around him, he seems to feel them himself, at times. There was one night near the end (I don’t remember when) that he couldn’t sleep because he was so wrapped up in the worry and other emotions going on. Not that those with fi can’t care for their friends and worry for them, I just remember being under the impression that he was more wrapped up in the emotions and feeling them himself than I would think an fi would.
I saw him typed as an intp on funky mbti fiction and those functions (especially the ti/fe) seem to fit him more, in my fairly uneducated mind. Would you explain why you chose isfp as opposed to another?
I read the book two years before I wrote these posts and brushed up on the details for the characters right before I wrote them, so factually speaking, they might be a little off.
This is also one of the older posts on my blog, so not all of the examples I’ve listed under each function strictly applied to only one or the other (I realised the problem with writing posts this way a little while after this and corrected).
No, having a small circle of friends doesn’t = Fi, it just happened to be a part of Nick’s emotional as a characteristics (regardless of whether that’s Fi or Fe).
Since you’ve presented decent evidence for the questioning of this typing, I will re-read the book and re-evaluate the posts. Sound good?
Thank you! That made my day; I feel like I’m getting the hang of this!
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