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Storytelling in Chapter 6 of F Scott Fitzgerald's, The Great Gatsby

By freyabrooks Apr 19, 2015 913 Words
How does Fitzgerald tell the story in Chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby? In Chapter 6 we find out about Gatsby’s past from Nick, Tom and Daisy attend Gatsby’s party for the first time and the chapter ends with Nick’s description of Gatsby and Daisy’s first kiss. Gatsby’s true life story is revealed as is his real identity, “It was James Gatz”. This shows Gatsby’s more vulnerable side rather than the glamorous, public façade. The name “Gatz” is monosyllabic and unglamorous which is representative of Gatsby’s working class background rather than the upper class persona that Gatsby has created for himself. Gatsby’s persona is eventually his downfall, “to this conception he was faithful to the end”. This foreshadows Gatsby’s death as only Nick is around afterwards; he is the only one who truly sees that Gatsby’s façade lead to his demise. This also demonstrates Gatsby’s fierce loyalty and determination to convince people to only see what he wants them to see of him as he is desperate to distance himself from his working class roots. The theme of time is continued in this chapter with the clock of Gatsby’s washstand, “the clock ticked on the washstand”. Before the broken clock symbolised Gatsby’s still nervousness that is associated with his relationship with Daisy. Now the mechanical movement of the clock hands show how Gatsby’s world before he met Daisy was turbulent and ever moving because he did not have a clear aim in life before he met Daisy. The theme of old and new money is also continued as Gatsby’s inheritance from Dan Cody is manipulated and Ella Kaye receives it instead, “He didn’t get it. He never understood the legal device used against him.” This shows how the garish, new money West Eggers will always be of a lower class and will be controlled by the old moneyed East Eggers. It demonstrates that regardless of Gatsby’s wealth he will never fit in with the old money of East Egg. It also shows that Gatsby is clearly not as educated as those will old money and is the beginning of Gatsby starting to twist the system to try and get what he wants. “It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.” This could refer to the loss of Gatsby’s dream of Daisy because he now sees that Daisy looks down on West Egg and realises that she cannot be with Gatsby because he is part of West Egg rather than East Egg. It could also show that Daisy is upset to see West Egg because she knows that the life she wants with Gatsby is in West Egg but she cannot have it. This could also foreshadow Nick’s future feelings about Gatsby because he is disappointed when he learns the truth about Gatsby’s criminality. It may show how Nick has become adjusted to the craziness of West Egg whereas Daisy still sees West Egg for what it is – false, overly extravagant and excessive. The true nature of West Egg is shown through Daisy and Daisy’s snobbish nature is also revealed, “She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented ‘place’ that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village – appalled by its raw vigour that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing.” The use of the word “appalled” is very emotive which emphasises how disgusted Daisy is by West Egg. The reference to “Broadway” could demonstrate the façade and falseness of new money and its seedy undercurrent. The “fishing village” could be a subtle reference to Gatsby’s beginnings when he worked in the fishing industry. The “raw vigour” refers to the determination that drives the new moneyed West Eggers to try and have the wealth and status of the old moneyed East Eggers and to try and achieve the American Dream. This quotes shows how Daisy is very class conscious and snobby as she believes that you shouldn’t have to try to be wealthy and successful, that you should just be able to drift aimlessly through life. “nothing to nothing” could show how having new money will not get you anywhere in life as you will eventually end up with nothing. This is true for Gatsby as his pursuit of Daisy has led to him losing her and his death. There are the first hints of Gatsby’s criminality and Tom’s jealously of his relationship with Daisy in this chapter. “’A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootleggers, you know,’ ‘Not Gatsby,’ I said shortly” This reinforces the faith that Nick has in Gatsby as he doesn’t believe that he would be involved in anything criminal. However it is ironic as it is later revealed that Gatsby has made his money through bootlegging. “’I’d like to know who he is and what he does,’ insisted Tom. ‘And I think I’ll make a point of finding out’” This is the beginning of Tom looking for a way to expose Gatsby’s criminality. Tom may recognise Gatsby as a threat to his and Daisy’s relationship. He sees the only way to turn Daisy away from Gatsby is to expose Gatsby rather than trying to win Daisy over romantically. This is another example of how Tom and Daisy’s marriage is a sham and of Tom’s dominance over Gatsby because he is old money and Gatsby is new money.

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