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Write about some of the ways Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 7

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Fitzgerald uses a semantic field of references to heat to build the tension at the start of the chapter. Fitzgerald has Nick claim 'the next day was broiling' whilst saying it was 'the warmest' of the summer. Fitzgerald has Nick use the superlative to suggest that the events in the chapter will be significant as those around Nick 'perspired' and 'simmered', The build up of tension allows the chapter to contribute to the novel's form as an American Tragedy, with the build up of heat preparing the reader for Gatsby's seemingly inevitable downfall. This tension is displayed by Fitzgerald through the use of Nick's commentary on various pieces of speech, telling Tom's 'temper cracked a little' and telling how the butler 'roared'. ...read more.


Unlike Nick's narration, Fitzgerald has Michaelis use blunt descriptions whilst telling 'her left breast was swinging like a flap' to show the lack of emotion associated with the event. Fitzgerald has the chapter lack chronology, having Nick's personal account of the death occur after Michaelis' voice to show the disjointed nature of Myrtle's death. Fitzgerald does this to show Nick's narration is not focused on Myrtle's death, but more so on Gatsby's consequences as he learns it was a 'big yellow car' which killed her. By doing this, Fitzgerald draws attention to the beginning of Gatsby's downfall as he tells Nick that Daisy was driving, yet foolishly claims 'I'll say I was'. ...read more.


Fitzgerald contrasts Nick's dream-like perception to T. J. Eckleburg's eyes being 'vigil' earlier in the chapter; this contrast highlights Nick's narrative position, showing his hazy position to foresee Gatsby's inevitable downfall, yet the 'giant eyes' had 'warned of something behind'. By doing this, Fitzgerald angers the reader as they want Nick to be in a position to prevent Gatsby's downfall, having followed his retelling of events; however, due to his hazed perception the reader cannot foresee him being able to intervene. As a result, Fitzgerald's end to the chapter with Gatsby 'watching over nothing' frustrates the reader, as it seems his tragedy will soon climax due to Nick simply being an observer. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay is superb, showing detailed understanding of the story as a construct. This is enabled by focusing on the narrative techniques and always exploring the reader's response such as "Fitzgerald uses this technique to make it clear to the ...

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Response to the question

This essay is superb, showing detailed understanding of the story as a construct. This is enabled by focusing on the narrative techniques and always exploring the reader's response such as "Fitzgerald uses this technique to make it clear to the reader that the chapter is significant in creating Gatsby’s tragedy". This sort of response will gain high marks in an exam due to the clear focus on the narrative, and the range of analysis throughout.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is strong, focusing on language, voices and narrative perspective. What I particularly like about this essay is that the analysis isn't simply feature spotting. For example recognising the "semantic field of references to heat" shows strong language analysis, but it goes further to explain how this affects the story. I liked how this essay explored the genre throughout, making references to the American Tragedy, as this shows the examiner that they understand the context of production. I was pleased to see quotes embedded well, as this allowed for close analysis of Fitzgerald's techniques rather than retelling the plot which is a common downfall seen! There is a clear appreciation that the story is a construct of Fitzgerald when saying "Fitzgerald has Michaelis use blunt descriptions" rather than writing it as if Michaelis chooses his actions. This naturally lends itself to a progression into explaining why these techniques are used, and this essay does this well. When focusing on one chapter, it is key to discuss its significance in the novel, and the chapter does this well. By exploring significance, it shows awareness of the plot to the examiner, and why Fitzgerald has chosen to use the techniques in the particular chapter.

Quality of writing

This essay hasn't got an introduction or conclusion, but as far as I am aware this is an exam question which does not need one. It is key to check the assessment objectives for each question, as sometimes style and craft is not assessed, allowing you to spend more time on analysis. Saying that, the structure is good with clear signposts being used for each paragraph. I particularly like the style as it uses critical vocabulary throughout such as "Fitzgerald angers the reader" allowing a convincing argument.

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Reviewed by groat 26/02/2012

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