Write about some of the way Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby

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Calum Hughes

Write about some of the way Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 8 of “The Great Gatsby”

Chapter 8 begins the night after Myrtle Wilson’s death, the narrator, Nick Carraway attempts to persuade Gatsby to relocate due to his involvement in Myrtle’s accident, yet he refuses to do so until he knows what Daisy will do next. Gatsby’s past is revealed as well as the immediate aftermath of Myrtles demise, the chapter concludes with the death of both Gatsby and Wilson, the latter having shot the former then killed himself.

The chapter opens with vivid description of Nick’s situation ‘half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams’, the word ‘grotesque’ reminding the reader of the brutal death of Myrtle in the previous chapter. Chillingly, Nick appears to be the only character at this moment to be emotionally affected by Myrtle’s expiry—her lover, Tom, is described as not being ‘unhappy’, whilst her killers, Daisy and Gatsby, have expressed no real remorse except over the inconvenience of the situation. Using Nick as the moral guide, Fitzgerald distances the reader from Gatsby, Daisy and Tom, reinforcing the tragedy—or rather—lack of tragedy present as a result of Myrtles sudden death that works to expose the incompleteness of these characters—products of their own self-indulgent decadence.

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This chapter is not told in liner chronology, at numerous points analepsis is used by the narrator (and therefore, implemented by Fitzgerald) to detail past events that have shaped the narrative into the plot existing in the current chapter. The first usage of analepsis is used to explain Gatsby’s infatuation—or more correctly-obsession with Daisy. Fitzgerald has waited until this penultimate chapter to reveal the reason why Gatsby so fervently desires Daisy, the tension built throughout the novel due to the withholding of this information is a feature typical of the Romantic Thriller genre. The enigma that Gatsby appeared as ...

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