Read the beginning of the novel chapter 1 up to page 12 “Tom Buchanan
in his riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front
porch.” How effective do you find this as an introduction to Great
Gatsby. In your response you should pay close attention to voice,
language and style.
The Great Gatsby was written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, and is set
during 1922, a period tinged with moral failure of a society obsessed
with class and privilege.
Fitzgerald presents us with the conflict between the illusion and the
reality of the American dream.
The novel begins in the present tense, and is told through the eyes of
Nick Carraway, the narrator and moral centre of the novel. His tale is
told in retrospect. Nick Carraway is a young man from the Mid West,
introducing himself as a graduate of Yale and a veteran of World War
One. He begins the first chapter by relaying his father’s advice:
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the
people in this world haven’t had the same advantages as you’ve had.”
He states that he is also “inclined to reserve all judgement” about
people and be a tolerant listener; who is entrusted with people’s
secrets. This encourages him to withhold formulating opinions about
people until he gets to know them, demonstrating his caution. Nick
puts himself forward explicitly, as someone with an above average
“sense of fundamental decencies” which now manifests itself as a wish
for “the world to be in uniform and at a moral attention forever”.
This military perspective clearly shows Nick has something of an
authoritarian character with a developed instinct for discipline and
These first pages of Chapter one...
... middle of paper ...
...ds the end of page 9 the reader is given a sense of time and a
positive idea of how the modern world is progressing, through the
metaphor of “growing trees” and the “burst of leaves” creating new
life that has potential just like the American Dream.
“Fast movies” (p.9) and the “telephone” (p.12) symbolise the Twentieth
–century technological environment. The growth of cinemas, cars, boats
is recognised by the twenties as a decade of mass media and mass
production in America. The novel raises the issue of individual worth
in such a context.
In contrast to this materialistic world, Daisy’s name evokes a
delicate flower. The irony here is that her life is conducted in an
entirely manufactured environment, distant from the natural world.
The key structure of the chapter is the combination of first person
narrative and the gradual revelation of the past.
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