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How is the story told in chapter 2 of the Great Gatsby?

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Introduction

´╗┐How is the story told in chapter 2 of the Great Gatsby? The Story is told very similarly to chapter one, it all revolves around some party that Nick gets dragged along too. The chapter begins with a description of the desolate plains of the ?valley of ashes?, with the eyes of TJ Ekleburg, looking over the valley. This is more of the slum between West Egg and New York. Tom takes Nick to Tom?s mistress?s house, in New York for a party. Nick always finds himself being dragged in to situations that he doesn?t always want to be in. Tom controls him almost. In this chapter we are introduced to Myrtle (Tom?s mistress), George Wilson (Myrtles husband), Tom seems to have the control over these two characters because they are of lower social class compared to him. Tom seems to have a very violent personality as we begin to see more of his character come though as the story is unveiled. The party seems to be a very awkward occasion that Nick finds himself being included in again. ...read more.

Middle

It lacks a glamorous surface and lays fallow and grey halfway between West Egg and New York. The valley of ashes symbolizes the moral decay hidden by the beautiful facades of the Eggs, and suggests that beneath the ornamentation of West Egg and the mannered charm of East Egg lies the same ugliness as in the valley. The valley is created by industrial dumping and is therefore a by-product of capitalism. It is the home to the only poor characters in the novel. The undefined significance of Doctor TJ Eckleburg?s monstrous, bespectacled eyes gazing down from their billboard makes them troubling to the reader: in this chapter, Fitzgerald preserves their mystery, giving them no fixed symbolic value. Enigmatically, the eyes simply ?brood on over the solemn dumping ground.? Perhaps the most persuasive reading of the eyes at this point in the novel is that they represent the eyes of God, staring down at the moral decay of the 1920s. The faded paint of the eyes can be seen as symbolizing the extent to which humanity has lost its connection to God. ...read more.

Conclusion

This contradiction suggests the ambivalence that he feels toward the Buchanans, Gatsby, and the East Coast in general. The party also underscores Tom?s hypocrisy and lack of restraint: he feels no guilt for betraying Daisy with Myrtle, but he feels compelled to keep Myrtle in her place. Tom emerges in this section as a boorish bully who uses his social status and physical strength to dominate those around him?he subtly taunts Wilson while having an affair with his wife, experiences no guilt for his immoral behaviour, and does not hesitate to lash out violently in order to preserve his authority over Myrtle. Wilson stands in stark contrast, a handsome and morally upright man who lacks money, privilege, and vitality. Fitzgerald also uses the party scene to continue building an aura of mystery and excitement around Gatsby, who has yet to make a full appearance in the novel. Here, Gatsby emerges as a mysterious subject of gossip. He is extremely well known, but no one seems to have any verifiable information about him. The ridiculous rumour Catherine spreads shows the extent of the public?s curiosity about him, rendering him more intriguing to both the other characters in the novel and the reader. ...read more.

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