Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: Narrative in Chapter II Essay

Submitted By AdamGray17
Words: 771
Pages: 4

Fitzgerald uses an array of literary devices to unravel the story behind “The Great Gatsby” through narrative means. The opening of chapter two is illustrated by a descriptive detail of the Valley of ashes as Nick journeys to New York with Tom to meet his mistress. He then generalizes his focus onto the events of the party which is abruptly ended by Tom who breaks Myrtle’s nose. The chapter ends using a page break to display Nick’s isolation from the group as it shows him returning home via the train station in a drunken state, “lying half asleep in the cold” his drunkenness affects the chapter as parts of it are skipped due to his hazy memory with only key events being told. This chapter is mainly told chronological albeit retrospectively as Nick tells events of that day in precise order with no references to previous events. Fitzgerald does this to keep in tone with the fast pace of the party and the many events that unfold.
The novel is told from a first person narrator, Nick who is a self conscious story teller and author who observes and participates in events. The impact of this on the reader is that Nick is unreliable as he does have preferences and bias therefore depicting Tom to be more arrogant than he seems, as shown through his inept knowledge of dogs, “that’s not a police dog” however the reader does gain a perspective of Nick’s character and his generalisations of the people around him. Chapter two allows further insight into Tom’s character as he boldly strolls around New York with his love affair, however, he hides her on the train in the presence of other “East Eggers”. The description of Myrtle and her characterisation prove her to be a lot different to Daisy as she believes herself to be royalty when accompanying Tom, as she throws “a regal homecoming glance” this demonstrates her snooty attitude as she believes she is better than others. This is further explored at the party as her movements display a sense of authority, “implying a dozen chefs awaited her orders” this metaphor creates the illusion that she is someone of importance, when in fact she is a poor women from the valley of ashes who is put in her place once annoying Tom. She repeats the word “Daisy” to aggravate Tom as she thinks she has the rights to say her name. Fitzgerald uses assonance to portray Tom slapping Myrtle, “short deft movement” he describes it as it happens as the event is quick and is over with no more talk about it, showing the aggressive nature of Tom but also his own jurisdiction. Modern day readers would be surprised by this act however it was more common for men to hit women in the early 20th century as women were seen as not equal to men.

The Valley of Ashes is important towards the novel as it possesses a major theme in the poem represented by the blue and gigantic eyes of T.J Eckleburg. The billboard could be seen as