narrative;How Is the Story Told in Chapter 1 of the Great Gatsby

Throughout chapter one of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald varies in technique to tell the story. He uses the character Nick Carraway to start off the chapter by having him narrate. And throughout Chapter 1 we are introduced to many other characters such as Tom, Jordan, Daisy and Gatsby. The use of narrational voice is very important in The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald has created the character Nick, not only to narrate the story, but also be a key person in the novel.

This adds a personal touch, but it could also make parts of story bias or inaccurate. We get hinted at this inaccuracy when Nick says ‘I have been drunk twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon’. We can see that his narration may be inaccurate as he was under the influence of alcohol, so he may not be able to remember parts of the story so well. Each character is described through the narrator’s voice and therefore the perceptions and thoughts of each character are effected by Nick and his views. The personal delivery of the story compels us to read on.

This is down to Nick’s creative style of telling the story. Fitzgerald has created the character Nick to essentially tell the story and to have the opportunity to add personal judgements. Although the character repeatedly admits that he doesn’t make these judgements; this is a contradictory statement, and throughout the first chapter Nick continually breaks this. The first few pages can be described as a brief summary of Nick Carraway and his life where as a reader we begin to create and establish our perceptions of his character.

Through the early summary, “In my younger and more… ” , Nick is summarising his life; it is as if he is shortening and quickly describing snap shots of his life. Fitzgerald has created the character of Nick as a participant of the story, although he is more of a spectator. The brief beginning summary is then followed by “And so it happened that on a warm windy evening.. ” which can mark the beginning of the narrative and again shows the clever way that Fitzgerald has used Carraway’s character as a participant and a writer of the Gatsby story.

This narrative technique focus’s the reader’s attention and creates a link between the reader and the character of Nick as it feels like he is personally relaying the story. Whereas through the later stages of the Chapter “the other girl, Daisy, made an attempt” is much more descriptive and film like. Overall Fitzgerald uses different techniques to tell the story on Chapter 1. One of these being, having Nick not just be a narrator but also a character. This adds to the overall delivery of not just Chapter 1 but the whole novel.