Write about some of the ways that Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby                 

Write about some of the ways Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 1

In the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, the reader is introduced to the main characters in the novel, including the narrator Nick. It also outlines Nick’s background, including his upbringing and new life in New York’s prestigious West Egg. It is within this chapter that the reader is first introduced to the fundamental themes of the novel - money and ideas of social class -  and this sets the tone for the rest of the book. The famous Gatsby is also first characterised in this chapter, along with Daisy and Tom Buchanan and it is here that their relationship is vitally conveyed to the reader.

From the onset of the book, the narrator Nick Carraway is portrayed as well off and privileged through his lexical choices, however he seems to take this for granted in the way that he separated himself from being like others, marking himself as somewhat superior. He also seems to have a close relationship with his father as he listens to the advice given to him when his father explains that ‘all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’.  Following this, Nick continues to imply that he, as a result is ‘inclined to reserve all judgements’ and therefore does not judge people before getting to know them. This sentence is both criticised and contradicted by Nick before he even finishes the sentence which we see when he describes the people who’s problems he has been subjected to as ‘veteran bores’ – a harsh judgement in itself. It is from this evidence that begins to suggest that perhaps Nick is not as morally upright or understanding a person as he may have himself believe and is, in fact a hypocrite. The use of the word ‘advantages’ also introduces the theme of money, as it would suggest that Nick comes from a good background.  

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Having said this, throughout the first few pages Nick does seem tolerant, open-minded, quiet and a good listener, resulting in people perhaps being more inclined to trust him. He is however very secretive and this is shown through his narrative voice. He does not share with the reader the entirety of his knowledge and delays revelations in the plot, choosing instead appropriate moments to add to the story. We can see this from the structure of the novel and how he starts the narrative, beginning with an anecdote. This nature of storytelling and manipulation of time is fore grounded by ...

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