In the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses various aspects of narrative to bring the story alive and help the reader become immersed in it. In the duration of the first few chapters the reader is introduced to each of the main characters needed for the story and by Chapter 4 almost all of the pipelines have been opened, ready to be explored. Nick is the first-person narrator, telling the story in retrospective and we continue to learn more information about his self-conscious attitude and the way he views particular situations as the novel progresses.
The structure of the chapter helps to slow the pace of the novel and this helps to build excitement and tension as the reader is slowly told pieces of Gatsby story. Fitzgerald begins the chapter with detailing a seemingly endless list of pointless rumors regarding Mr.. Gatsby who is claimed to have ‘once killed a man’ and be ‘second cousin to the devil. ‘ Despite meeting him in the previous chapter he is still depicted as ‘mysterious’ as even Jordan. Nick continues to list the names of all those that visited Gatsby and describe all those that had come ‘to Gatsby house in the summer’.
The vast array of ages and backgrounds of these people only increase the frustration in understanding Gatsby, as we cannot place him within any of the structured groups of ‘grey names’. The use of ‘grey’ here links to the dullness and lack of individuality of the ‘valley of ashes’ and how the people that entered Gatsby house for the parties were all blank and unknown. Fitzgerald tells the story in Chapter 4 by delving into the character of Jay Gatsby and the various ways he is presented in comparison to the amount of different sides he has.
Throughout the duration of the novel there are three al sides to him; his romantic side, his darker side and his generous side. However in Chapter 4 in particular we are shown the romantic Gatsby, which is juxtaposed with his darker more criminal side. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby intricate character to make him seem enigmatic, exciting and enticing. The romantic side is shown when Jordan says that Gatsby looked at Daisy in ‘a way that every young girl wants to be looked at. This seems to suggest that Gatsby is capable of being a sensitive man who is completely overwhelmed with his love for Daisy. On the other hand, the looked’ could relate to vision and may show that Gatsby was not overwhelmed by his emotions. Gatsby may have had control over his emotions and his interactions with Daisy may have been ‘clearly planned and rehearsed, as Gatsby may have faked his love for Daisy due to his mind being so riveted by her beauty and ‘lovely face.
The darker angle on Gatsby relates to the criminal side of him, which is conveyed through the setting of the cellar. The cellar is dark as Nick ‘blinks away the brightness of the street outside,’ and darkness has connotations of corruption and dishonesty, suggesting that the cellar is a place of wrongdoing ND Gatsby participation in this contrasts highly from his romantic side. Light represents goodness and purity in the novel, and the fact that the cellar lacks light means that the cellar has a lack of morality, making it almost evil.
This evil may have spread to its occupants, for example Wolfishly and Gatsby. This is in contrast to his romantic side as well, as whenever Daisy is described by Fitzgerald she is glowing and full of ‘bright things’ rather than the dark and dingy cellar full of lies and illegal actions. Nick narrates how Gatsby appears at his doorstep and shows off his gorgeous car’. The use of the word ‘gorgeous’ here is extremely odd as it adds a sense of feminism to the car itself.
It suggests that although the car is beautiful to look at, it isn’t exactly practical and the phonological feature of its three-noted horn’ helps to put emphasis on the outstanding things the cars has to offer. Gatsby car is also described in the chapter using the negative personification of ‘monstrous’. Nick’s detailed description of the car highlights its significance but illustrates the materialism that it contains with ‘green seat leather’ green being a symbol of money itself.
Additionally, the fact that Fitzgerald includes the phrase ‘l was glad that the sight of Gatsby splendid car was included in their somber holiday’ whilst passing a funeral procession creates the impression that in the asses consumption was viewed more important than life itself. The use of the car enables Fitzgerald to introduce it as a symbol, foreshadowing the death of Myrtle in future chapters. Gatsby then pursues to clear the rumor regarding his history when exclaiming how he was ‘educated in Oxford’ however even here Fitzgerald makes it apparent how Nick distrusts Gatsby telling how he ‘swallowed’ his words.
Fitzgerald uses irony in Chapter 4 to tell the story. Gatsby claims that ‘Miss Baker’s a great sportswoman you know, and she’d never do anything that wasn’t right’ however Nick describes Jordan as ‘incurably dishonest’ this could present Gatsby as a poor judge of character and could foreshadow his poor judge of Daisy herself. Irony is also used by Wolfishly when he says Gatsby ‘would never so much kick at a friend’s wife’ this foreshadows Gatsby relationship with Daisy who is married.
This comment also arrives a few minutes before Nick ‘caught sight of Tom Buchanan across the crowded mom’ the presence of whom makes Gatsby become ‘strained’ a stark contrast from the ‘perfect gentleman’ he plays himself to be. Confusion surrounding Gatsby character is heightened after Gatsby mysterious exit and this foreshadows the distinct rivalry between Gatsby and Tom in future chapters however it could also reinstate the enchanting imagery that surrounds Gatsby as the phrase ‘he was no longer there’ suggests that Gatsby has a magical presence much like Daisy is described to have.
Fitzgerald also characterizes Gatsby as mystical in his description of him delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor’ this sets Gatsby apart from the other characters in the novel who are presented as being corrupted by the jazz era however the fact that Gatsby has connections with Wolfishly who ‘fixed the world series’ adds a sinister element to Gatsby character as it suggests that he had not gained his wealth in an good way and instead due to illegal actions.
Nick then narrates a Story told to him by Jordan, retrospective to Daisy’s youth. She recalls Daisy as being a sweetheart in the eyes of men always ‘dressed in white’ where men called all day to confer with her. She recalls how Daisy was sat in a car engrossed with a young Gatsby who was quite obviously smitten by the youthful Daisy, remarking how he ‘looked on her like any woman would dream to be looked at’.
She then states how Gatsby left and Daisy became depressed, but by autumn she was ‘gay’ again and ‘bright She married Tom who is described ‘pompous’ and ‘aggressive’ in his manner. However there was trouble before the marriage went through, as she found Daisy ‘drunk as a monkey’ in absolute pieces with her mind unsure about whether to wait for Gatsby but in the end she decided to pursue her life to marry Tom.
Finally, it is then revealed, that Gatsby had in fact only bought the house in West Egg across from the Buchanan to be closer to Daisy and be within touching distance of the ‘the green light’ on the dock, the symbol of Gatsby jealousy to get Daisy’s love from Tom. At this realization Nick states how the idea of Gatsby ;came alive to me’ as through this discovery understand the once so mysterious Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald closes the chapter with Nick thinking of women-most particularly stating that he has no woman that ‘floated disembodies’ like Tom and Gatsby, but instead pursues to kiss Jordan.