A narrator, by definition, is how an author chooses to portray information to readers in their work. An author’s choice, in how to tell a story is ideal to the effect it has on readers. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway tells the entire story as a first-person, peripheral narrator. Fitzgerald purposefully chooses Nick as a partially removed character, with very few emotions and personal opinions. By doing so, readers experience the same ambiguity of other character’s thoughts, are carried smoothly throughout the plot, and Nick’s nonjudgmental character lets readers form opinions of their own.
To begin with, because Nick is merely another character in the unfolding tragedy readers can never see into other characters’ minds. Other characters’ thoughts and opinions are completely unknown. Readers are forced to use their imaginations to figure out what characters are thinking. For example, readers are left just as clueless and curious as Nick himself when Gatsby declares: “I’m going to make a big request of you to-day, so I thought you ought to know something about me. I didn’t want you to think I was just some nobody. You see, I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad thing that happened to me. You’ll hear about it this afternoon.” (67) This is an effective example of the narrator giving the story depth and suspense because readers are left intrigued by this statement and no hints, given by thoughts of characters, is revealed. Carraway being ignorant to other character’s thoughts is effective in the portrayal of Gatsby’s tale; because half of the intrigue of the story of Gatsby’s downfall is his mysterious manner. If readers were able to understand Daisy’s or Gatsby’s personal thoughts, there would be no suspense in the outcome of the novel. Nick happens to be rather clueless about Daisy, Tom, and Gatsby’s true feelings, which is why he makes such an excellent narrator...
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