Some of Nick’s best characteristics include strong moral values, his ability to perceive the true nature of others, and
an innate friendliness and openness that inspires trust.
Strong Moral Grounding
Nick’s strong moral fibre is shown throughout the novel. It is something he believes he inherited from both the West and his father. One example of this is how he goes to a great deal of effort in his attempts to arrange a large funeral for Gatsby, simply because he felt that Gatsby would have wanted it, and that it would be something he would have liked.
Nick’s ability to pierce the façade that hides other’s inner natures is one of his defining traits. He demonstrates this in his judgement of Gatsby as a good hearted, innocent, but naïve man, and of Tom and Daisy as self-centred people who destroy at will, retreating behind the safety of their wealth to escape the consequences.
Friendly and Open
Nick is open and friendly and has the capacity to inspire those qualities in other people. This trait is exhibited in the way Nick and Gatsby quickly strike up a friendship, the fact that Tom trusts Nick with the secret of his mistress, and Meyer Wolfshiem’s offer of a “business goneggtion” to someone he has never met before.
Nick, like all of mankind, has natural limitations and failings, such as his tendency to remain a bystander and his inability to adapt.
Nick tends to watch rather than become involved in situations. When he encounters a problem, he rarely tries to solve it, and when he encounters an issue that he disagrees with, he tends not to do anything about it. For example, when Nick sees Tom and Daisy holding hands in the kitchen, despite Gatsby’s vigil at Daisy’s bedroom window, Nick does not help Gatsby through this time of emotional upheaval, but simply walks away into the night.
Nick’s lack of adaptability causes problems as he struggles to make a life for himself in the East. Throughout the book, Nick has issues adapting to the fast-paced life in the East, such as when he gets drunk and doesn't enjoy Gatsby’s party in Chapter Six. This is ultimately one of the reasons he leaves to return to the West.