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"The Great Gatsby" By F. Scott Fitzgerald

739 words - 3 pages

David Lai12/11/02LiteraturePeriod 7"Narration"Considered by some to be one of the greatest American novels of all time, F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" contains some of the most unique and interesting features, such as its narration form and literary techniques.In this novel, Fitzgerald chooses one of his main characters to describe the scenes and action of this novel as he sees it. This person, Nick Carraway, is one of the most reliable narrators in literary history. He gives us his perspective of the story in first person limited, he knows only what he sees, what he describes to us.To help the reader understand more clearly, Fitzgerald gives us a narrator who is impartial and observant. To account for this, the very first sentence in the book describes advice Nick says his father once gave him. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages you've had." ...view middle of the document...

It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end."Another interesting point of Nick's narration is his choice to withhold information from the reader. Halfway through the novel, in chapter 6, Nick reveals what he knows about Mr. Jay Gatsby. Nick explains that his reason for doing so was "exploding those first wild rumors about his antecedents, which weren't even faintly true."Another useful literary device Fitzgerald uses is flashbacks. These help to describe some missing parts of the story, it fills in the reader on what has happened in the past, and how it is connected to the present. For example, Nick uses flashbacks to describe Gatsby's past, and how Gatsby came to be. He says that "Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.....He invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end."However, there are flaws with Fitzgerald's narration style in this novel. Many times, Nick is placed in awkward situations, and he often becomes a third wheel. For example, Nick is present when Gatsby first reunites with Daisy, all the way up into Gatsby's bedroom, where Nick is in a most strange and uncomfortable position. But his presence is crucial so the reader can fully understand what happens throughout this novel.There are, however, times when Fitzgerald denies Nick as the narrator and he chooses to recount some situations without Nick's presence. For example, we are told everything of the conversation between George Wilson and his neighbor, Michaelis. Wilson tells Michaelis of Myrtle, saying "I told her she might fool me but she couldn't fool God." This entire conversation persists like normal, but Nick is not there. The same occurs with Gatsby's death. Though vague, it is described to us despite Nick's absence.As a character, Nick plays an important role in the story. He, at first, is wary of Gatsby's character, but over time grows to become Gatsby's close friend. This allows him to observe many situations involving Gatsby from a closer perspective, thus making him a very successful narrator.

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