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The Great Gatsby Essay

Perspective of the Narrator

The great Gatsby, a novel by F Scott Fitzgerald, is narrated through one of the characters in the text., The use of this perspective can greatly affect our reading of the text.

The Great Gatsby is primarily a love story. The narrator, Nick Caraway, moves east where he is caught up in the dealings of those around him. His neighbor, Jay Gatsby, is trying to win the heart of Daisy, whop is married to Nick's college friend, Tom Buchanan, who is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson, the wife of a gas station attendant.

The mere first person narration would not affect our reading of the text if we could believe Nick's early statements that ""I'm one of the few totally honest people I know"" and ""I'm inclines to reserve all judgments."" In this second aspect, particularly, he shows himself to be very judgmental and partial. For example, he does not think it right that Jordan Baker, the ;'woman golfer,' should cheat in a mere golf game, but he overlooks he shady business dealings, associations with organized crime and speakeasies of Jay Gatsby.

Because the first person narrative is limited in perspective, some of the facts we hear from Nick may have been distorted or even lies. For example, one day Tom drags him along to Myrtle's apartment in New York. While he is there, he gets drunk, so this is a prime area for distortion of facts. Another time is towards the end of the novel, where Daisy runs into Myrtle in Gatsby's car. Lots of what we hear is gossip and second hand news, also distorted or changed by media persons or innocent bystanders. We also cannot overlook the possibility of a direct lie in the novel. The text deals with murder, affairs, material love and secrets. It would be quite p[ probable that Nick was lied to a few times.

The narrator can position us to like or dislike certain characters. For An example, Tom is trying to have an affair. Gatsby is trying to steal someone's wife. Nick likes Gatsby and dislikes Tom, so we like Gatsby and dislike Tom also. Nick extends a level of friendship, trust and tolerance to Gatsby that he is quite unp[ unprepared to offer anyone else. Gatsby is on a Quest, a perfect exa, example for the American Dream, moving up the class system from poor to rich. Tom is ""a brute of a man,"" an aggressive bully who buys love. We sympathize with Gatsby, who works hard for the love of Daisy, because she would never love him as a person. To her, he is still that poor delivery boy of many years ago. The process of which Gatsby gains his wealth is never mentioned directly in the novel;l, and we overlook the associations often completely.

In conclusion, we can see that there would probably be a more fair view of the world of the novel if the novel was narrated in the third person. This would also allow us an insight into the thoughts of characters that we cannot gain as the novel stands now.

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