Narratology in The Great Gatsby Essay

Narratology in The Great Gatsby Essay

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby demonstrates what Marie-Laure Ryan, H. Porter Abbott and David Herman state about what narratology should be. These theorists emphasize the importance of conflict, human experience, gaps and consciousness, among many other elements, in order for a story to be considered a narrative. The Great Gatsby shows these elements throughout the book in an essential way. This makes the reader become intrigued and desperate to know what will happen next. The Great Gatsby is unpredictable throughout the use of gaps, consciousness and conflict.
Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s narrator, relates Jay Gatsby’s story in a manner that is at once concise and indirect. These two qualities are not at odds with each other; in fact, the more concise one is, the more one must leave out. Matthew J. Bolton points out in his article “A Fragment of Lost Words”: Narrative Ellipses in The Great Gatsby that “[e]very narrative has elisions” (Bolton 190). These elisions are known as gaps within a story. Without gaps, the story will become drawn out, making the readers bored while reading. The objective is to get the readers to desire what is about to happen next. If the reader is not intrigued, the objective will not be reached. Because he himself is so closely involved with the story he tells, Nick has an interest in leaving gaps between his narrative discourse and the “real” story. This is especially true when Daisy, Nick’s cousin, asks Nick about a rumored engagement. To which he responds:
“Of course I knew what they were referring to, but I wasn’t even vaguely engaged. The fact that gossip had published the banns was one of the reasons I had come East. You can’t stop going with an old friend on account of rumors, and on the o...


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Preston, Elizabeth. "Narrative." Implying Authors in "The Great Gatsby" 5.2 (1997): 143-164. JSTOR. Web. 16 Apr 2014.
Rohrkemper, John. "College Literature." Allusive Past: Historical Perspective in "The Great Gatsby" 12.2 (1985): 153-162. JSTOR. Web. 16 Apr 2014.
Ryan, Marie-Laure. “Toward a Definition of Narrative.” Herman 22-35.
Schreier, Benjamin. "Twentieth Century Literature." Desire's Second Act: "Race" and "The Great Gatsb'ys": Cynical Americanism 53.2 (2007): 153-181. JSTOR. Web. 16 Apr 2014.
Westbrook, J.S. "American Literature." Nature and Optics in the Great Gatsby 32.1 (1960): 78-84. JSTOR. Web. 16 Apr 2014.
Will, Barbarba. "College Literature." "The Great Gatsby" and the Obscene World 32.4 (2005): 125-144. JSTOR. Web. 16 Apr 2014.

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