How Fitzgerald Tells the Story in Chapter 1 Essay

Submitted By JessParkes1
Words: 1199
Pages: 5

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

In Chapter one of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses many narrative devices in order to tell the story throughout the chapter. At the beginning of the chapter, we are introduced to Nick Carraway, the narrator. He is a self-conscious narrator, as he speaks what he is thinking. This can be seen when he talks about his family, and the uncle that he is supposed to look like “with special reference to a rather hard-boiled painting”. This, however, helps us to learn more about his background. This is not what the reader first expects to hear about, as the book is named after Gatsby, not Nick, and the fact that we don’t meet Gatsby officially until Chapter two, but we meet most of the other main characters before then, is unexpected. Nick tells us that he is “descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch”, which may be to show off to the reader, and then goes on to show us his transience, as he describes himself as “restless”, but then says that he has come to the East “permanently, I thought”. The “I thought” at the end may suggest that he moves on in the future, which links to the end of the novel where he moves on, as “the East was haunted for [him] like that” after Gatsby’s death. Nick lives in West Egg, and describes it as “the less fashionable of the two”. He is in very close proximity to East Egg and New York, which further enforces his narrative style as an onlooker, rather than getting involved. His house is also sat between two mansions, which suggests that he is stuck between two worlds; his life at West Egg, and his life with Tom and Daisy in New York. We are then introduced to Tom Buchanan, later on in the chapter. He is described with negative adjectives, such as: “arrogant” and “cruel” which immediately makes the reader see him in a negative light. This shows Nick’s omniscient narrative, as he is putting across his opinions and making them seem like fact. This makes the reader perceive Tom as an immediate threat, and that his powerful body is beyond his control. This foreshadows when he breaks Myrtle’s nose in chapter two. Tom’s life also links to the American Dream, as Nick says that Tom has reached such an excellence before the age of twenty one, that: “everything afterward savours of anti-climax”, which is how many people may have seen the American Dream; once it has been achieved, everything afterwards is an anti-climax. It is also suggested that Tom “would drift on forever seeking…some irrecoverable football game” This may show that Tom has no purpose, but also foreshadows him drifting away from Daisy to Myrtle. Tom is also very possessive, as he says to Nick: “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are”, which shows his need to control other people and their opinions. Another example of this is when he says: “I’ve got a nice place here”, in which he is using his ego in order to control Nick’s opinions. When we are first introduced to Daisy Buchanan, she is under the title “the Tom Buchanans”. This suggests that she is a possession, and is a complete contrast to the attitudes of the time, as women were becoming more independent, and more equal to men. When Nick goes to meet them, he uses an oxymoron, as he says: “two old friends who I scarcely knew at all”, as these terms are contradictory. We first meet Daisy when she is sitting inside the house with Jordan. They are both wearing white, which has connotations of innocence and purity, and when Tom closes the windows with an onomatopoeic “boom”, the lack of wind causes the two women to “balloon slowly to the floor”. This, again, shows Tom’s control, as he is repressing the once free atmosphere. Daisy is also controlling, however, as she speaks quietly in order to “make people lean toward her”, which shows her manipulative qualities, and her need to control herself in order to control others. This can also be seen in the musical quality of her voice, as it is easier to control.