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"The Great Gatsby".How does Fitzgerald tell the story in Chapter 1?

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Introduction

How does Fitzgerald tell the story in Chapter 1? Chapter 1 is successful in portraying that there is a 'first person narrator' who is a participant and an observer in the novel. The narrator serves to give an insight into the story, and therefore ultimately, we create our own opinion of him. Through the grammatically-complex sentences in the first page such as "when I came back from east last autumn...", we establish the idea that he is giving an account retrospectively, therefore highlighting that the narrator is perhaps unreliable. This is effectively portrayed as Nick perhaps followed his fathers advice of "reserving all judgements", because he's had "advantages" other people haven't had. Perhaps this advantage is in the form of cognitively thinking he is better than "normal people", therefore highlighting that his retrospective account may be flawed. The idea that this is a 20th century novel reflects on the form of this novel being a 'novel about writing a novel'. Writing in one style can't reflect Fitzgerald creative ability, so he uses Romanticism to express his literary creativity. ...read more.

Middle

An example could be in the descriptions of body language, such as "cruel body" and "spanking new". Also, vivid descriptions such as "the broken fragments of the last five minutes at the table" decelerates time to create more tension and conflict, and allow us to realise the difficulty the characters have in connecting with each other (e.g. Daisy having to put up with Tom having another 'woman'). This prolepsis is perhaps frustrating for some, but personally it is giving us a vague destination to the novel: corruption. Another aspect of narrative which is conveys an important concept in this chapter is characterisation via setting. The eggs may symbolise a 'promise to a new life', even though they are sterile rocks. However, on a deeper level, Fitszgerald cleverly portrays the sense that Women are corruptive the East-egg exterior is merely a fa´┐Żade which hides corruption from within. This is through the use of artificial and natural light; at the start of the chapter, the French windows "glow" with light (of the sun) ...read more.

Conclusion

Although his descriptions are often dry and factual which suggests although Nick may be wanting to better himself and become the 'all-rounded man', he is not as successful in his observational skills as he may think. Once again suggesting a contrived view that he has on himself. Nick's conscious feelings towards his father's advice is also portrayed in this chapter. This is displayed when Nick describes Tom as 'gruff' and speaks of people who 'hated his guts'. This would seem fine; however Tom has also had many advantages with-in the past and therefore the reader would expect Nick to be able to relate to Tom. However this divide could be due to Nick's own dislike for his father's views. On the other hand it could be interpreted as an indication of the divide between new and old (or actual and contrived) money. Therefore Nick's father's advice has allowed Nick's narrative to offer an argument as to whether it is opposed to that view or as to whether it abides to the stereotype; as well as highlighting any divides that there may have possibly been in the higher society classes at the time of writing. ...read more.

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