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Narrative Structure in the Great Gatsby

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    n the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there is a definitive line in the narrative structure of this work. While reading this novel, one can follow the events from start to finish without having to do much guess-work in between. Fitzgerald shows exposition in the beginning of the novel by explaining the key characters and the setting of the book as well as the point of view and narration; and very early on, we learn of his distaste of a fellow character. The rising action of the novel is quite clear when one of the main characters’ personality shows through.

    The high point, or climax, of the novel is by far the most memorable. The author builds the reader right where they expect to be and just what the reader is assured that what they were thinking all along, was in fact correct with a reunion of old lovers and confrontation of testosterone. Finally, as the story slowly comes to an end, Fitzgerald wraps it all up in a neat little package with a murder, a new love, and a getaway. Fitzgerald starts the novel off by introducing the reader to the main characters of the novel, Tom, Daisy, Myrtle, Nick and of course, Gatsby.

    The setting is conveniently laid out in the 1920s in bustling Long Island and New York City where money, for those who had any, was the only thing holding some families together and love was fluttering about. We learn quickly on that the story is told in past tense from the eyes of a main character, Nick Carraway, who narrates and also suggests that he is the author of this novel. From this, we know that the story will be very one-sided, portraying the images and minds of others throughout the novel, as Nick sees them, despite how they really are; leaving the reader to come up with their own assumptions in between the lines of the author.

    One key observation is that once the narrator, Nick, meets Mr. Gatsby, he leads us to believe right off that Mr. Gatsby is a bad person, as Nick shows a very sudden distaste for him and therefore forces the reader to make the same conclusion. As the reader continues through the novel, one can feel the tension rising through the characters of the novel with Gatsby’s very liberal house parties as if he were a celebrity of some sort. This encourages Nick’s dislike for Gatsby even further and the fact that Gatsby attempts to play things off as if nothing was happening and tries to befriend Nick. Also, the author adds ove into the mix of jealousy when Gatsby arranges a meeting with Daisy at Nick’s house. Daisy was an old flame from the past that brings back memories from summers before and reignites the flame that Gatsby has been searching for inside his heart. The high point, or climax of the novel can clearly be defined with Gatsby and Tom get into a dispute in the hotel at the Plaza. Tom, looking for a bone to pick with Gatsby starts accusing him of various things, such as, whether or not Gatsby ever actually went to Oxford, confronts his intentions with Daisy and then blames Gatsby for constructing a bootleg event while in Long Island.

    The plot thickens, as some might say, when Gatsby attests his love for Daisy against Tom’s. Finally, Fitzgerald completes his novel with the falling action and resolution very distinctly. He closes the book with no loose ends. Daisy rejects Gatsby and denies any love for him and returns to Tom and her daughter. Myrtle is finished off in the novel when Daisy hits and kills her with a car, however, Gatsby does take the fall for it to save Daisy from retribution. Then, the resolution of the story begins with Gatsby’s murder.

    Tom conjures up another fallacy of Gatsby for being Myrtle’s lover, which to him explains her death, and kills Gatsby so that he can no longer harm anyone else. Nick hosts a funeral for the great Gatsby, despite his dislike for the “old sport” and begins a new life with Jordan in the mid-west. In conclusion, author F. Scott Fitzgerald follows narrative structure by-the-book in The Great Gatsby by using exposition, rising action, climax, falling point and resolution to, in a way, guide his characters throughout his novel, using each point as a stepping stone as to what to expect next from the characters.

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    Narrative Structure in the Great Gatsby. (2018, May 12). Retrieved from

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