Gatsby Chapter 4 essay How does Fitzgerald tell the story in Chapter 4? Throughout the chapter Fitzgerald uses a variety of different disciplines to tell the story of Gatsby, Nick and the other characters. In chapter 4, Fitzgerald uses narrative voice to portray Gatsby’s mysterious nature. Gatsby’s description of his background to Nick is a daunting puzzle—though he rattles off a seemingly far-fetched account of his grand upbringing and heroic exploits, he produces what appears to be proof of his story.
Nick finds Gatsby’s story “threadbare” at first, but he eventually accepts at least part of it when he sees the photograph and the medal, ‘He reached into his pocket, and a piece of metal, slung on a piece of ribbon, fell into my palm’ Nick also expresses his surprise at the validity in Gatsby’s story ‘to my astonishment the thing had an authentic look’. Fitzgerald has cleverly used symbolism to portray how Gatsby has to act in everyday life.
Gatsby and Nick travel through the Valley of Ashes at ‘great speed’, symbolizing Gatsby’s reluctance to be left in the middle, to not be on top in the wealthy part of New York anymore, as last time he was left he lost Daisy . They are stopped by police officers, who when shown a card by Gatsby leaves them alone, ‘Sorry Mr. Gatsby sir’ this shows the height of materialism and how the rich can easily manipulate the law due to their wealth. Fitzgerald uses this to introduce another discipline, Themes, through corruption.
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In this Chapter Nick meets Gatsby ‘friend’ Meyer Wolfshiem, The luncheon with Wolfshiem gives Nick the impression that Gatsby’s fortune may not have been obtained honestly, ‘I handed the money too…’ . Nick perceives that if Gatsby has connections with such characters as Wolfshiem, he might be involved in organized crime or bootlegging. In contrast to this when Jordan tells Nick of Gatsby’s ‘other life’ before his illegally obtained wealth she presents him as a lovesick teenager with maybe slight obsessive tendencies, ‘Gatsby bought that house so daisy would be just across the bay’.
This adds an entirely new perspective for the reader as we now understand why Gatsby bought the house opposite the Buchanan’s and also why he was so interested in Nick when it appears they have nothing in common. This key feature in the chapter has been designed to evoke sympathy within the reader, a new emotion that has not yet before been presented in relation to the character of Gatsby. Now that Gatsby is a full-fledged character in the novel, the izarre inner conflict that enables Nick to feel such contradictory admiration and repulsion for him becomes known to us as Gatsby the lovesick soldier is an attractive figure, representative of hope and authenticity, Gatsby the crooked businessman, representative of greed and moral corruption, is the complete opposite. At the end of the Lunch when Nick goes to introduce Gatsby to Tom Buchanan, Gatsby has disappeared. Not only does this foreshadow the oncoming conflict that will soon arise between Gatsby and Tom is also adds to the mystery surrounding Gatsby as a character, ‘I turned towards Mr Gatsby, but he was no longer there’.
A key symbolic feature in this chapter that reoccurs is the green light. Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West Egg lawn, the green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter 1 he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is broadly associated with the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that more generalized ideal.
Also the fact that the light is green, which is usually associated with ‘go’ foreshadows that Gatsby’s reconciliation with Daisy is growing close. The green light is one of the most important symbols in The Great Gatsby. Like the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, the green light can be interpreted in many ways, and Fitzgerald leaves the precise meaning of the symbol to the reader’s interpretation. Many critics have suggested that, in addition to representing Gatsby’s love for Daisy, the green light represents the American dream itself.
This is representative of the key discipline that Fitzgerald uses throughout the novel, symbolism. Another discipline Gatsby uses in this Chapter is narrative voice, by having Nick narrate the story we gain a firsthand perspective whilst also understanding his opinions that our evolving about the other main characters. Throughout the chapter Nicks thoughts and views shape the novel. For example ‘ I was walking along from one place to another.. ’ To conclude this chapter is arguably the most important in terms of symbolic features and Fitzgerald presents them in a way that they are most cleverly undetectable.
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