“Whenever You Feel Like Criticizing Anyone…” What Is the Significance of this Quote?

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald introduces Nick as a modest and courteous character, which creates sympathy towards him among readers. This quote also serves as a social commentary on the times the book was written. The author highlights the incredible competition and change in morals in society that accompanied the United States’ phenomenal economic rise in the 1920s. Fitzgerald urges readers to be less biased towards each other, regardless of their social status.

The quote also touches upon the failure of the American Dream as a life purpose, where inherited wealth plays a crucial role. More wealth means more opportunities and easier upward mobility. However, this also implies that people who do not inherit such wealth will struggle to achieve the same success. For instance, despite his earned fortune, Gatsby could never become a full-fledged part of the American elite. Fitzgerald exposes the irony and denial of the American national idea through this statement.

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This phrase also highlights Nick’s middle-class background and the advantages he has had in life. It shows that he is not as privileged as other characters, such as Tom and Gatsby. Despite this, Nick remains neutral towards the characters, allowing readers to form their own opinions about them. However, Myrtle’s tragic death will break this neutrality, showing the consequences of the characters’ actions.


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