F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: The Story in Retrospect

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Write about some of the ways Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter one of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 1 of ‘The Great Gatsby’ by introducing Nick as a first person narrator, telling the story in retrospect. The first chapter of the book contains the instantaneous realisation that the book is ‘a novel about writing a novel’ – “Only Gatsby, the man who gave his name to this book”. Fitzgerald also establishes Nick as a narrator of mild temperament and one who hints that he will inevitably fulfil the role of an invisible character who is “Inclined to reserve all judgements” and prefers to observe and comment rather than dominate the dialogue. Fitzgerald quickly creates irony in Nick’s description of his personal outlook and self-evaluation due to the fact that despite Nick’s claim to reservation of judgement, he believes that “a sense of fundamental decencies is parcelled out at birth”. In this contradiction, Fitzgerald reveals Nick as a self-conscious and unreliable narrator, both of which are traits he is to show throughout the novel. Although it is clear that Fitzgerald has made it clear that Nick is our narrator it also becomes apparent that he is neither passive or unbiased; it seems that he hasn’t quite understood his Father’s wise words that he told him years ago “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Fitzgerald gives Nick Carraway has a special place in this novel. He is not just one character among several others, it is through his eyes and ears that we form our opinions of the other characters. Often readers of this novel confuse Nick’s stance towards those characters and the world he describes with those of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s because the fictional world he has created closely resembles the world he himself experienced. Fitzgerald’s exceptional and creative writing allows him to take even stronger control of what he wants us to...
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