When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel The Great Gatsby, he used a unique writing technique. It used a first-person point of view in the form of a narrator, Nick Carraway, who was also involved in the story. This style allowed the author to withhold any information that he did not present to the narrator in the story, causing the reader to learn things the same way the narrator did. The protagonist in The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, was revealed to the narrator, Nick, gradually throughout the course of the novel.
On the surface, Jay Gatsby appeared to be extremely wealthy and generally happy with his place in life, and this is how he appears to Nick at the beginning of the novel. Gatsby threw big parties and people were not invited; they just showed up, as explained by Nick on page 45: "I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited-they went there"(45). As Nick began to know Gatsby better, he began to realize there was something wrong with Gatsby. Gatsby was obviously unhappy, but the reader was not told why. When Nick goes to New York with Gatsby and meets Meyer Wolfshiem, the reader is given some suspicion that Jay is involved in illegal dealings, because of the hints that Meyer Wolfshiem drops and the things Jay tells Nick about Meyer. The reader is finally told why Gatsby is unhappy at the end of chapter four, when Jordan Baker tells Nick about Gatsby's love for Daisy.
The next major revelation about Gatsby does not happen to Nick until much later, but the author decided to place it earlier in the novel so the reader could understand what was going on more easily. Jay Gatsby tells Nick about where he came from, how he got there, and why he got there. Nick realizes that Gatsby is so in love with Daisy that he is crazy and will do anything to get her. It has consumed his life so much that he spent five years leading an illegal life just because of her. The final thing the reader learns about Gatsby is that no one really cared about him. He had alienated himself so much from the rest of the world because of his love for Daisy, he never made friends. In fact, the only people who attended his funeral were Nick, Gatsby's father, and the minister, as displayed in the quote: "….wait for half an hour. But it wasn't any use. Nobody came" (182).
The style Fitzgerald used in writing The Great Gatsby was unique and interesting, because the reader learns about things at the same time the narrator learns them. It forces the reader to piece information together and then try to draw a complete meaning from the pieces of information. This way of learning about Gatsby was particularly appropriate, because of the nature of Gatsby's character and how he became that way. There would be no suspense if the reader knew everything about Gatsby before the story took place. It is the purpose of the entire novel. All in all, Fitzgerald's style is very interesting and suspenseful to read.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Word Count: 531