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Write about some of the ways Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 2

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Introduction

Fitzgerald begins the chapter with a vivid description of the valley of ashes to show its contrast to Tom's opulent party. Fitzgerald has Nick's description lack colour as he describes the 'ash-grey men' walking through the 'grey land' as 'rising smoke' crumbles through the 'powdery air'. The lack of colour imagery gives the impression the area is the poor result of an economic boom, and is highlighted by Fitzgerald's use of the 'solemn dumping ground'. Fitzgerald does this to establish the setting of America in the 1920s, showing that Gatsby's rich life is a complete opposite to those living in the valley of ashes. The imagery of 'an over-enlarged photograph' and 'a set of tapestried furniture' at Tom's apartment is a stark contrast to the valley of ashes, and is used to display the divergence of wealth in America. ...read more.

Middle

The reader learns that 'everything that happened has a dim, hazy cast over it' and the fact Nick has been 'drunk just twice' in his life suggests the chapter is over exaggerated and constructed. Fitzgerald ensures the reader realises Nick is an observer throughout the chapter, having him note 'I was within and without'. Fitzgerald does this to highlight how Nick is either too close to events, having him describe minuscule details of 'bloody towels upon the bathroom floor', or too distant from events as he watches Myrtle 'wet her lips' for Tom. Fitzgerald makes it clear Nick is uncomfortable and forced into these situations to show his lack of importance in many events, with Tom insisting 'we're getting off' to meet Myrtle. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is evident in Nick's perception, albeit drunken, claiming that as Mrs Wilson 'expanded the room grew smaller' whilst she revolved on a 'creaking pivot through the smoky air'. This fragmentation of Nick's narrative is epitomised as Fitzgerald has him write 'people disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go elsewhere' to show the insignificance and dream-like status of events. Fitzgerald ends the chapter with time skipping considerably as Nick's narration reflects his drunkenness, speaking to Mr McKee and then suddenly 'lying half asleep' at the train station. Chapter 2 is therefore used to represent the drunkard society of America, emphasising Fitzgerald's aim for the novel to be an American Tragedy as he has Nick focus on the obsession of those in East Egg with materialistic wealth. Fitzgerald frustrates the reader further by using small voices of rumour as Catherine tells 'a man named Gatsby' has parties, developing the mysteriousness that surrounds Gatsby and his past. ...read more.

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