The Great Gatsby Narrative Analysis

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In The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald utilizes the subjectivity of narration to provide further insight into the characters of the story. Because the novel is told through a first-person point of view, objectivity is nearly impossible. That would require the narrator to disregard their personal feelings and opinions. Therefore, The Great Gatsby is a subjective narrative full of biased opinions about the lives of the wealthy in New York, during the roaring twenties. The individual that expresses these biased views is the narrator Nick Carraway, who is born into the upper class. He claims to be honest and holds himself to a moral standard that, in turn, causes him to pass critical judgement onto the actions of others. Nick’s reactions…show more content…
By stating this in the beginning of the novel, Nick prompts the audience to keep in mind that his writing is not truly objective, and makes them consider the implications—that what he writes may not always be the truth. With that in mind, upon paying closer attention to Nick’s narration, the way he portrays other characters displays his bias. The one character that receives the majority of his harsh judgement is Tom Buchanan. The first time Nick describes Tom’s physical appearance, his disdain is apparent. He creates the picture of “...two shining arrogant eyes...”(7) and “...a cruel body...”(7) for the reader to imagine. Not only do these descriptions of Tom appear when Nick is directly talking about him; throughout the whole book, he places Tom in a similar light. When Tom meets Nick, Myrtle, and the McKees’ in an apartment, Nick still goes as far as to say that, “Tom looked at [Mr. Mckee] blankly” (32). And Tom is also constantly portrayed as controlling, such as when “Tom carried [Wilson] into the office, set him down in a chair, and came back.”, and then said, “ ‘If somebody’ll come here and sit with him,’ he snapped authoritatively” (141). When describing Tom’s conversations, his expressions, and even his simplest actions, Nick exaggerates Tom’s masculinity and aggressiveness.…show more content…
At first glance, it may seem that Nick does not change from start to finish. However, this is due to The Great Gatsby being told by himself. It is often hard for humans to reflect and realize their changes over a short period of time, whether physical or mental; people live in a stream of consciousness that feels continuous and unchanging. This applies to Nick as well. Because the audience sees the story from his perspective, it is hard to find any change in Nick. However, bias can be used as a tool to analyze the narrator. It is bias which reveals a person 's inner thoughts, therefore, changes in thought can show changes in a character’s mindset. In the case of Nick, his changing of biases pertaining to Daisy and Gatsby demonstrate his development. Initially, Nick finds Daisy and her lifestyle enchanting. When describing the warm effect Daisy’s voice had on him he said, “That was a way she had… I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her… an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming”(9). Even in the beginning, there are hints that Daisy is aware of the effect she has on people and is manipulative with how she utilizes her charm. Nick just doesn’t find this behavior problematic, which shows his biased opinion. However, towards the end of the novel, when Gatsby told Nick that “her voice is full of money”, Nick responded with “That was it.
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