Great Gatsby: How Does Fitzgerald Tell the Story in Chapter 8

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Throughout the whole novel, Fitzgerald uses Nick Carraway as the narrator to tell everything, and let the readers understand the characters and incidents from Nick’s point of view. Nick has a vivid imagination that he uses to interpret people’s reactions and feelings, this is especially found in the chapter eight in which Nick creates the past of Gatsby and Daisy; and the last movement of Gatsby at the end of the chapter. When Fitzgerald is presenting Gatsby and Daisy’s first meet, ‘he had never been in such a beautiful house before.

But what gave it an air of breathless intensity was that Daisy lived there’ suggests Nick thinks Daisy has already created a very good and elegant impression in Gatsby’s mind. Based on the acknowledgement of Gatsby’s ecstatic fancy towards Daisy, Nick then continues to describe Daisy’s house as “a ripe mystery” and believes “bedrooms, of gay and radiant activities taking place through its corridors, and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender but fresh and breathing and redolent of this year’s shinning motor cars and of dances whose flowers were scarcely withered. In this case, Nick shows he is quite sure about the curiosity of Gatsby towards Daisy when he first met her, and the desire of Gatsby to know more about the gorgeous lady in front of her, this made the romance of Gatsby and Daisy to be more memorable since there is a gorgeous crush between them at the very beginning. But the whole thing is all invented by Nick, the only thing Nick is sure of is, Gatsby has been deeply in love with Daisy starting from there first meet. Furthermore, “it increased her value in his eyes” does tell how much Nick thinks Gatsby is in love with Daisy.

This can be implied as Daisy is Gatsby’s fantasy, which symoblises the American dream and it is a dream that fancy many people and everyone wants to chase the dream like “many man had already loved Daisy”, suggests the American dream is such an invaluable dream. On the other side, Nick also invents the scenes of Gatsby’s last movement even if he was not there witnessing the whole incident. Similar to the case he creates Gatsby’s romance, he uses what he knows about Gatsby and makes guess of what Gatsby is probably thinking or doing at his last moment.

He says Gatsby “left word with the butler that if anyone phoned word was to be brought to him at the pool”, it seems Nick knows really well what Gatsby is going to do next and what is on his mind. But in the third last paragraph of the chapter, Nick changed his tone from telling the “story” to making a guess, “I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. This can reflect the own point of view of Fitzgerald towards the American dream, a high cost dream with disappointment at the end as a tragic fact. Fitzgerald has chosen to modify the narrative and employ a narrator who is only partially involved. At times he relies on the testimony of other characters. However, Nick’s unreliability leads us to question his account of what he claims others have told him, so different interpretations of events are possible. This means that key scenes of the story can be left to the reader’s imagination, thus enhancing the mystery.

Fitzgerald’s choice of narrator allows us to glimpse the glory of Gatsby’s illusion and simultaneously makes us aware of its hopelessness by keeping us in touch with reality. In addition, we actually lean more about Nick’s feeling about Gatsby, especially in this chapter, than we do about the man himself, as Gatsby never tells his own story whereas Nick interprets for him. Fitzgerald makes use of this strategy to arouse the readers’ interest in Gatsby, and this makes Gatsby himself to be a more mysterious man.