Method of narration is the writer’s crucial tool in conveying his story and with it his characters and message. In ‘The Great Gatsby’, F Scott Fitzgerald deploys this tool effectively to tell the tale of Jay Gatsby, a self-made man on a quest to find and win back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, through the eyes of Nick Carraway. As well as reflecting on the dreams and tragedy of that summer in Long Island, Nick’s narration gives us essential insight into the characters and key issues that Fitzgerald addresses.
Most importantly to the readership, Nick comes across as a narrator you can trust.
Opening statement ‘I’m inclined to reserve all judgements’.
Father’s advise about criticizing people ‘people… haven’t had the advantages you’ve had’ Amusing story of pretending to be asleep so people don’t tell him secrets.
Awareness of human nature to condemn others and consciously works against it. Suggests will give people a chance. Last anecdote suggests that he was an unwilling participant in the events of the summer – he didn’t have anything invested therefore, though not unbiased, is objective as anyone can be. Reader trusts him.
Fitzgerald’s use of a first person narrator cleverly lends a vividness and immediacy to the key incidents of the novel as Nick is there experiencing them.
Myrtle’s death – gives gruesome details ‘her left breast was swinging loose like a flap’.
Reunion scene in chapter 5 – relates details of weather which track Gatsby’s mood, from ‘damp mist’ to shining sun, as he despairs then rejoices as he meets Daisy again.
Party in chapter 3 – present tense
Argument in Chapter 7 – reality of dialogue as Daisy confesses to loving both men
Conveys the mood of the scene and manipulate reader’s mood. We should be horrifed at Myrtle’s death, empathise with Gatsby’s readily shifting mood and feel the excitement and electricity in the air at he party.
The way Nick structures his retelling of the Gatsby story very much reflects his own personality and agenda.
In chapter 3 he comments that he has given the impression that they were ‘all that absorbed [him]’ but were just small events in a ‘crowded summer’.
Much of his narrative revolves around significant, even controversial, events – Tom’s affair, parties, Daisy and Gatsby, Myrtle’s death, Gatsby’s death that seem to happen one after another – he creates the climax and tension. Stops to relate Gatsby’s story.
Nick previous life in army and back west was reserved – this dynamic and decadent lifestyle v new to him, particularly the parties. Suggests his impressionability and that he is unaccustomed to this setting (later comments he was ‘unadaptable to Eastern life’) He sees their way of life as extreme, perhaps judgementally, and relates these episodes successively for maximum, climatic effect – perhaps to emphasise the tragedy and the injustice of the ending . Also most of the events revolve around Gatsby and most often Nick is with him, emphasising...