The Great Gatsby Summary
The author has brought forward the concept of using a narrator so as to make the narrator an integral part of the story. The narrator’s work is not easy and rather a tedious one as he has to observe and relate to all the incidents that take place and those are interpreted by the narrator in his own words. The author in the novel The Great Gatsby has put his own views and opinion in the narration. This kind of style in a novel provides a certain platform to the story where the readers empathize with the narrator rather than the characters of the novel. The style of the narrative follows the Freytag Pyramid comprising of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution/ denouncement.
The novel begins with Nick Carraway, the narrator speaking about himself and his approach towards the narration. The way he presents himself implies to the readers that the character of Jay Gatsby the protagonist of the novel is totally opposite to that of the narrator. While the newly rich people stayed in West Egg the narrow-minded old-fashioned people lived in the East Egg. Nick stayed as a neighbor to Gatsby who lived in an extravagant, and vulgar style. The first scene exposes the Buchanans including the narrator’s cousin Daisy who had an affair with Gatsby in the past. he eventually exposes Jay Gatsby and his luxurious lifestyle, grand parties and his huge Gothic mansion. The first chapter ends by introducing Gatsby who is a handsome man and tries to reach out to the green light in an attempt to grasp it (Fitzgerald, 21). This scene is symbolical and indicates reaching out for illusion. He seems to assume a pose for religious worship.
The narrator then moves on to describe the parties he attended and through his interactions with Gatsby, he gradually reveals the affair of Tom (Daisy’s husband form the East) and Myrtle. The rising action in the novel takes place almost parallel to the exposition. The author reveals the characters he portrays events and uses devices such as clothes and colors to depict the mood of the characters. We understand Tom’s violent and narrow-minded nature as he hits Myrtle for taunting him about Daisy. Nick stays neutral to the world of Myrtle and her family but remains a keen observer of the events. In the third chapter, the narrator describes the parties at Gatsby’s mansion where the host himself remains as an observer and does not participate in the revelry. Later, we learn that Gatsby held these parties in order to attract Daisy to his wealth. His lifestyle was also an example of the Jazz age and its show and extravagance. The character of Jordan is introduced with whom the narrator begins an affair. Again, unlike Nick’s honesty, the events reveal Jordan as a dishonest and careless young woman.
In chapter four the rising action part of the novel mainly unfolds with further exploration of the characters. In this chapter, the narrator learns the involvement of Daisy with Gatsby in the past. Gatsby plans to arrange a reunion with Daisy and seeks Nick’s help who arranges the meeting for them. The story begins to develop form this part when Daisy tries to evoke Tom’s jealousy and purposely makes him understand this. Meanwhile, Daisy and Tom had an argument after which Gatsby leaves with Daisy in his cr. initially, he was driving but later hands over the steering to Daisy in order to help keep her nerves calm. But Daisy loses focus and runs into Myrtle killing her. The climax scene follows soon after in the eighth chapter when the author for the first time directly appraises Gatsby saying that he was worth the whole bunch of the Buchanans. In this scene, Gatsby is shot dead by Myrtle’s husband George Wilson who kills himself too. These events bring the end tot he protagonist whose romance ends and so does the illusion he reaches out in the first chapter.
The falling action begins immediately after the climax part. Reporters and other people come in and spread rumors on his death. The author makes an attempt to arrange a grand funeral for him but most of the people who were always at his parties suddenly disappear. The Buchanans leave town while the other friends refuse to attend. After a month the narrator learns from Tom the truth about Gatsby’s death and Tom feels no regret for it. He rather thinks that Gatsby deserves death. With the end of Gatsby’s life, the touch of glamour and luxury seems to have come to an end and the author makes a resolution to return to the Midwest. The Great Gatsby tells the readers about a man whose life changes after he pursues his dreams that can never be realized.
The narrator has been correct in giving his views about Western life at the end of this novel when he contemplates about Daisy, Tom, and Jordan after two years. (Fitzgerald, 112) The anxiety of the narrator at the death of Gatsby has been expressed so realistically that the readers can feel it too. The narrator leaves the readers’ minds questioning the role of Daisy in the tragic death of Gatsby. Nick’s judgment about the various characters is supposed to be apt and accurate. The thoughts of the narrator through this novel as in the end he also understands the fact that people from the East could never adjust in the West. Thus the story follows the perfect pattern of Freytag’s Pyramid.
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby. Wordsworth Editions, 1993.