• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the effectiveness of the opening chapter of Fitzgerald’s ‘the Great Gatsby’.

Extracts from this document...


DISCUSS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE OPENING CHAPTEROF FITZGERALD'S 'THE GREAT GATSBY' In order to discuss the effectiveness of an opening chapter it is first necessary to outline what defines an effective first chapter. Undoubtedly it is essential that we be given a 'feel' for the book, a clear sense of the writers' style. Moreover it is within this section we would expect to be introduced to the main characters of the novel and hints as to what may happen next. Finally it is equally important the author describes the setting; both of the physical surroundings and references that allow us to place the text in terms of time and place. In the first chapter Fitzgerald sets up a first person narrator, Nick Carraway, who is omniscient due to his seemingly non-judgmental nature. Within the opening paragraph Carraway informs us he is "inclined to reserve all judgments" and as a result is "privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men". Consequently we are able to witness interesting revelations as Nick "opens up many curious natures" which enhances the effectiveness of the opening chapter. Some admissions add to our enjoyment of the book for example Daisy tells a humorous, anecdotal "family secret...about the butler's nose". ...read more.


This mystery is later developed as we discover she is a famous golfer who Nick once heard a "critical, unpleasant story". We are lured into reading on to discover her secret. Gatsby is introduced only at the very end of the chapter as Nick catches his first glimpse of the mysterious Gatsby. At this point he is the only character we have not met and this coupled with the fact he is only a "figure...from the shadow" creates a sense of mystery. His behaviour is perhaps troubling to us: "alone...stretched out arms toward the dark...trembling" before he vanishes. To what he is stretching to we are not informed, simply a "single green light" in the distance. Perhaps it symbolic, a green light indicating going forward or future with its connotations of advancing. This makes for an effective ending of the first chapter, as we are certainly intrigued as to what and why he was behaving so strangely. This is particularly so as he is the "man who gives his name to the book" and his importance within the plot is also suggested is frequently mentioned throughout the first chapter. Despite never meeting Gatsby, we are given a sense of his character for example he had "an extra ordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness". ...read more.


This indicates that they have no purpose in their lives; their days are filled with nothing. Moreover Daisy retorts she had been "trying" to get to New York, it is an effort for the women to exert themselves. This is again indicated when she reveals, "I always watch for the longest day of the year" as it suggests she looks trivial milestones in her life as she has nothing to look forward to. We also see Daisy's childish, immature side through her speech; "Look!...I hurt it" and "you did do it". In conclusion the first chapter of 'The Great Gatsby' is effective as it does succeed the criteria outlined. In particular Fitzgerald is successful in introducing the main characters especially through vivid descriptions and direct speech. Additionally the narrator, as a character with an understanding of the rich due to his background and non-judgmental nature, is used to comment on the events and characters gives greater insight into these characters and the life of the rich. Throughout the first chapter we are given enough hints as to what may happen within the novel to keep an appropriate pace and enough mystery through characters such as Gatsby and Miss Baker to keep us intrigued. Furthermore we are encouraged to read on to the end of the novel due to the peculiar ending that concludes an effective first chapter. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Response to the question

This question engages superbly with the question. There are numerous paragraphs analysing the techniques used in the first chapter, always referring back to why they make it effective. I liked how they defined what an effective first chapter is, however ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This question engages superbly with the question. There are numerous paragraphs analysing the techniques used in the first chapter, always referring back to why they make it effective. I liked how they defined what an effective first chapter is, however this could be slightly more sophisticated. For example, when talking about the "feel", I would've spoken about a genre. Instead of simply mentioning characters, I would've explored Nick's introduction as a narrator. To make the introduction slightly stronger, it would've been wise to summarise the main techniques Fitzgerald uses to ensure the introduction doesn't feel detached too much from the context of the book.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is strong, as it always gives evidence for a technique, and then analyses its effect and the consequence on the narrative. It was nice to see this, compared to some essays which think analysis is as easy as retelling the plot! The breadth of analysis is great, but I would note that to get top marks it would be wise to cut some of this down. Yes, you want to include as much analysis as possible, but with the length of this essay it is clear that it loses focus at points. This is evident when the analysis of the technique focuses on what the reader learns, yet loses that sharpness to link it back to the question and evaluate why it makes it effective. There are times when the analysis could be a bit more technical. When exploring the description of Tom, the essay quotes a few adverbs. If I was doing this essay, I would mention how the use of adverbs allows the reader to associate traits with Tom easily, allowing Fitzgerald to characterise him quickly in the first chapter. Language, setting, characters, structure and style are all explored with strength.

Quality of writing

This essay has a clear structure, with a strong introduction and conclusion. As mentioned earlier, I would personally cut down some of the points to ensure a concise argument. The style and sophistication of writing make this essay very convincing, and the way quotes are embedded allows the argument to flow nicely. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are flawless. Although there are a few improvements which still can be made, this essay should be admired at GCSE level!

Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by groat 02/03/2012

Read less
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Beneath the Surface Glitter, The Great Gatsby is a Profoundly Pessimistic Novel. Do You ...

    4 star(s)

    Some say that it represents the eyes of God. Pessimism is drawn from the fact that the sign is very old and very faded, forgotten about. We can see this as God having left the valley of ashes and given up due to it becoming too corrupt and unnatural and no longer having an interest.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Comparison between Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Jack Clayton's cinematographic adaptation.

    4 star(s)

    "Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers, and set it back in place", then he said "I am sorry about the clock" (p84).

  1. Great Gatsby Reading Questions and answers.

    What does it mean? The image the author uses to describe Jordan Baker was a young cadet. She is being portrayed as a feminine character that attributes masculine characteristics. She is described as hard, boyish and small-breasted. Her name 'Jordan' also contributes to her masculine.

  2. Examine the contradictions in The Great Gatsby, including its narrative styles.

    This shows us that the parties are regular events, held every weekend by Gatsby. It is also the first hint of the utter waste, carelessness and immorality that lurks beneath the surface of this seemingly wonderful lifestyle: '...conducted themselves according to the rules of behaviour associated with an amusement park.'

  1. Compare and contrast the characters Tom Buchanan and Gatsby.

    The attitudes of Tom and Gatsby towards each other are evidently clear - they never liked each other from the start of the novel.

  2. Choose a novel or short story in which an element of mystery plays an ...

    was prompted to think more not only about the character of Gatsby but what he has been chosen by Fitzgerald to represent. "and anyone would have said they were conspiring together." Set at the end of Chapter VII, this single line is the source of a great deal of mystery and speculation.

  1. Explain the importance of Nick Carraway as a narrator in, "The Great Gatsby" by ...

    Nick represents the traditional moral codes of America. Himself from the Midwest (which contrasts to the East of Long Island and the world of the Buchanans), Nick is attracted by the beauty, the wealth, and the sophistication of "The Wasteland" but comes to understand the essential emptiness, the gaudy display of "nothingness" which characterizes the Wasteland itself.

  2. Write about the ways Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 5 of The Great ...

    the anxiety that is present between many of the characters in the novel mainly due to the societal background. Fitzgerald clearly forces the disjointed and in some ways dysfunctional relationship that many of the characters seem to have upon the reader, simply through the sentence structure that is evident through the entirety of the chapter.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work