how does fitzgerald tell the story in chapter 1 of the great gatsby
Fitzgerald opens the first chapter introducing us to Nick Carroway, who is clearly of first person narration and he is telling the story from the future. By telling the story as though it has already occurred, Fitzgerald has created the illusion that his main character has already experienced the events that are unfolding. This ensures that Nick is a retrospective narrator throughout the book but also obviously a bias story teller. Fitzgerald makes it known that Nick has already met all the characters and knows them and their story, he openly has his own personal judgements and opinions of them, also making It clear he is going to be a bias narrator, giving out inaccurate and one-sided information to the reader.
The chapter also tells us about Nick’s life in New York when he lived in 1922 and his life in West Egg. Fitzgerald’s purpose of chapter one is mainly to introduce the characters of the book and to drop hints and revelations for the events in the rest of the book, such as suggesting themes of class and characterisation of Gatsby. The chapter also presents us the relationship between Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Furthermore, the housing is deeply described by Fitzgerald, “A sunken Italian garden, a half-acre of deep, pungent roses, and a snub-nosed motor boat that bumped the tide offshore”. This presents an image of wealth and the strong themes of money linked with social class due to the immense description of the expansive home Tom and Daisy took for granted. The author’s description of the houses shows the difference clearly between Nick’s home which he’d “Rented […] in one of the strangest communities”, inexpensive in comparison to Tom and Daisy’s house which was a representation of old money. This is again also shown in chapter one with Gatsby’s home which Nick had described as a “mansion”, implying that his house is huge and could possibly link to Gatsby’s personality from what we know of him. This shows that Gatsby has new wealth and that he simply bought his mansion to fit his stereotyped personality and ego.
Fitzgerald still telling the story from Nick’s point of view, makes the audience aware that Nick is new into this lifestyle, and that he is not particularly wealthy within his own devices. However I think it's clear from the start that Nick will have to change his personality also in order to fit in with everyone else and his friends. This is due to the fact that when Nick leaves the Buchannan’s’ house, he is “confused and a little disgusted.” This is aimed at the attitude Daisy has towards Tom's evident promiscuity and blatant affair he has going on with a girl from New York as Daisy is aware and doesn’t show any sign of caring that her husband is having an affair as she is not making any effort to stop it. He's confused as to why Daisy doesn’t simply leave Tom and find someone else, but as I said he has yet to adjust to the mind-set of the rich and foolish upper-class. This is done well by Fitzgerald however, as it gives Nick a sense of lower status in comparison to his friends in that before he becomes involved them he must first adjust his personality. Not only does this work on a human level, but it also reveals more about Nick's character as he explained how genuine and non-judgemental he is at the beginning of the chapter, proposing he is not like his father, though he acts completely fake in front of these friends he has made. This can Introduce and theme of people being ‘fake’.
The author starts off the story in chapter one, talking to the reader through Nick, "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one...just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." – This is the first case of Fitzgerald pointing towards the reader and asking them to look at themselves. This is because of the fact that we all judge our friends, our family“How does Fitzgerald tell the story in chapter 1 of ‘The Great Gatsby’?”, and other members of community in our mind, but we do not all have the courage to come out and say it. Nick does not talk of his opinions as far as I know from chapter one to his friends, the story tells us all his accurate judgements of the other characters. However I don’t think we can trust his completely as he is bias. I think Fitzgerald has purposely done that to leave a mystery of Nick from what I can tell from chapter one alone, but also Nick can be considered reliable as he speaks his opinions to the readers and doesn’t hold back what’s on his mind.
Nick is portrayed to us as an honest guy in the first chapter, however I think he is of the theme ‘fake’ a he is being nice to the people he has met so far despite the judgements he has formed of them. So he gets along with everyone in public but judges them in private which is only revealed to us readers. I think that Nick is a very real and genuine character, and that Fitzgerald has created an accurate depiction of the average American man. He isn’t born to old money, and isn’t born in to new money, he’s just born into a normal family, making his own judgements.
Even though Nick can be considered a secret hypocrite. And even though he claims to be appalled and disgusted by the ways of the rich and upper-classes due to the cheating that goes on, on Tom’s behalf, it fascinates him, and he wants to know more. I think that this is where Fitzgerald has made us somewhat ‘like’ Nick as he is just a normal person trying to change to fit in with his surroundings and peers. So I think that Fitzgerald is telling us the story in chapter one through Nick as us readers can relate to him being a regular person, so in some ways we live the story and there is a part of Nick in all of us.