How Does Fitzgerald Tell the Story in Chapter 2 of the Great Gatsby?
How does Fitzgerald tell the story in chapter 2?
In chapter 2 Tom takes Nick to meet Myrtle, his lover, in the Valley of Ashes, where her home is. They all then go to New York, to the apartment bought by Tom for Myrtle, and Myrtle organises a ‘party’, during which she argues with Tom, which ends with him punching her. The purpose of this chapter is to show what Tom Buchanan is like, and how he acts towards other people and his money. Also, the reader is prepared to meet Gatsby as the party scene continues to build an aura of mystery and excitement around Gatsby, who has yet to make a full appearance in the novel. Here, Gatsby emerges as a mysterious subject of gossip. He is extremely well known, but no one seems to have any
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The chronological time and narrative time are generally the same in this chapter, and Nick seems to be talking afterwards, about his experiences and of meeting Myrtle. The narrative is retrospective, we can tell this from the use of the past tense, ‘the interior was unprosperous and bare’, which has the effect on the way the story is told, as Fitzgerald makes it seem as if Nick is recounting the events to the reader personally, drawing us into the story. Fitzgerald has included the events of Nick meeting Myrtle in the valley of ashes and then going to her apartment in New York which contrasts to the valley of ashes and has a ‘party’. The fact that Fitzgerald writes that Tom takes Nick to meet Myrtle in her own house, in front of her husband, reinforces Fitzgerald’s point that the rich can do whatever they want, and that Tom abuses the power he gets from his money. Another interesting event that takes place in this chapter is when Tom hits Myrtle in an argument, ‘Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand’. This highlights not only Tom’s physical strength, but his short temper and aggressiveness described in chapter 1. Tom treats others how he wishes and even afterwards, the other people at the party try to protect the couch rather than helping Myrtle, which highlights Fitzgerald’s critism of society, which is the moral behind this novel. The rounded character of Myrtle