Narrative perspective plays a very big role in The Great Gatsby - Nick's role as the narrator
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THE NARRATIVE: * Narrative perspective plays a very big role in 'The Great Gatsby.' As we the reader comprehend the whole affair through the eyes of Nick Carraway * Nick brings us closer to the action by forcing us to experience events as though we were Nick. The I of the novel becomes ourselves, and we find ourselves, like Nick, wondering who Gatsby is, why he gives these huge parties, and what his past and background may be. By writing from Nick's point of view, Fitzgerald is able to make Gatsby more realistic * Nick Carraway's first-person viewpoint, allows the reader, on the one hand, to see how the narrative is being constructed and, on the other, to participate in Nick's sense of discovery as the separate strands of the narrative take on meaning. * Because we are viewing people with Nick's eyes, we tend to like who he likes and to dislike who he dislikes.
Having established the characters and setting in the first three chapters, Nick then narrates the main events of the story in Chapters 4 to 9, using Chapters 4,5, 6, and 7 to gradually reveal the story of Gatsby's past. The past and present come together at the end of the novel in Chapter 9. * Nicks narrative returns to the present of his writing, so up until chapter 9 (P. 155) nick has been re-explaining what happened two years ago. "After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the rest of that day, only as an endless drill of police and photographers and newspaper men in and out of Gatsby's front door WHY DOES F. SCOTT FITZGERALD USE NICK AS THE NARRATOR? * Scott Fitzgerald uses Nick as narrator because he is perfect for the role: o His position in relation to the other characters gives him a perfect vantage point from which to tell the story-he is Daisy's cousin, Tom's old college friend, and Gatsby's neighbour, and all three trust and rely on him.
This also could be true for some other instances, such as parties, where he may also be slightly drunk. But he is extremely careful throughout the novel, never to tell us things that he could not have known. If he was not present at a particular occasion, he gets the information from someone who was. I.e. from Jordan Baker, who tells him about Gatsby's courtship of Daisy in Louisville; or from the Greek, Michaels, who tells him about the death of Myrtle Wilson. Sometimes Nick summarizes what others tell him, and sometimes he uses their words. But he never tells us something he could never know. * Although nick is a well fitted for the role, as a narrator he is deeply flawed. He uses such words as: "I suppose", "I suspect", "I think", "possibly", "probably", "perhaps", "I've heard it said", "I have an idea that", "I always had the impression", "As though" and "as if." But we trust nick just as the other characters do. ALEX DAY 10-12-2001
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