How Is the Story Told in Chapter 2 of the Great Gatsby

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Write about some of the ways in which Fitzgerald tells the story in chapter2 of The Great Gatsby? Chapter 2 is the chapter in which Tom takes Nick to meet his lover Myrtle; they meet in the Valley of Ashes which is home to Myrtle and George. The Chapter then changes scene to New York where Nick attends a party; during this party Tom breaks Myrtle’s nose by punching her. The Chapter is used to portray the true colours of Tom Buchanan and to emphasis the mystery surrounding Gatsby. The narrative voice in the chapter is Nick; Fitzgerald has presented Nick as a retrospective first person narrator which creates a number of effects on the novel. The reader will only see Nick’s view point on things, however Fitzgerald tries to present Nick as an impartial narrator. The reader gains certain opinions on character for example the aggressive nature of Tom “his determination to have my company bordered on violence”. As Nick is a retrospective narrator it is clear that he is aware of the outcome of the events of the novel, the fact that he chooses when and when not to inform the reader of certain information implies that he is withholding key points about certain characters. Fitzgerald presents Nick as withholding information as this gives the reader the chance to find out information in the same order Nick would have done; thus creating a more trusting bond between the narrator and reader. Fitzgerald’s descriptions of the settings in chapter 2 also help to tell the story. Two main settings feature in this chapter; the valley of ashes and Myrtle’s apartment. Fitzgerald describes the valley of ashes as ‘a certain desolate area of land’ and ‘a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens’. The valley of ashes is significant in this chapter, and in the whole novel, as it symbolises the huge contrast between the rich and the poor in American society. The Valley of Ashes symbolises the loss of the “American dream” for so many....
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