Fitzgerald's Suspenseful Technique of Delaying the Introduction of Gatsby in His Novel, The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald's Suspenseful Technique of Delaying the Introduction of Gatsby in His Novel, The Great Gatsby

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Many novels introduce the ‘main character’ to the reader early in the chapter so that the reader could get a good feel of the character but Fitzgerald’s style in The Great Gatsby is somehow different. As the title suggests the novel revolves around the life of a man named Gatsby which we meet as late as the third chapter of the book which in a mysterious way is very effective than to have met the protagonist in the first chapter. However we get many different information and gain knowledge from second hand sources which are the people surrounding Gatsby and thus, create a ‘Gatsby’ of our own until we meet him. Fitzgerald gives off bits of information here and there using little description of Gatsby’s action and movement, rumors, Gatsby’s appearance and habits, party scenes and his wealth to establish a mystery around Gatsby and continues to do so in order to prolong the enigma and excitement around Gatsby. Since the reader sees everything through Nick’s eyes we only see Gatsby from a distance in chapter 1, hear unverifiable information about him and observe the party scenes in chapter 2 until Nick meets him in chapter 3 where we also meet him for the first time. So by the time we meet Gatsby we already have our own impression of him from all the stories and fictions that we have heard. The delay meeting adds to the mystery of who the ‘Great’ Gatsby is.

Nick establishes the difference between the West egg and East egg where he states that the West egg, where he recently moves to, is the less fashionable of the two. After making this remark he describes the mansion next to his house (which he believes belongs to a man named Mr. Gatsby) to be an imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy with unbelievably luxurious ...


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...rald uses in The Great Gatsby is very effective to the extent that the reader already thinks that Gatsby is ‘Great’ since there are conflicting rumors and false accusations which forces us in effect to reserve all judgment until we meet him. It is a very good strategy because if we would have been introduced to Gatsby right at the beginning as we were introduced to Nick we would have also disapprove of him as Nick did and we wouldn’t know the truth about Gatsby. The slow unfolding of Gatsby’s life prepared us to finally meet him and since the mystery that surrounds Gatsby adds to his charm it makes even more interesting. The delay meeting did not only increase the suspense but also brings up questions that we as the readers would like to know. By the time we meet him we have many questions than answers and that’s how
Fitzgerald wants the condition to be.




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