How Does Fitzgerald Tell the Story in Chapter 5 of ‘the Great Gatsby’? Essay

Nick Carraway is the primary voice in chapter 5 of Fitzgerald’s 20th century tragedy. This means that all opinions and points of view are portrayed through Carraway’s first person, retrospective and fallible narration.

Carraway is presented as fallible in this chapter, as the gaps in the narrative reveals Nick as a fallible narrator. He states that ‘I don’t know whether or not Gatsby went to Coney island’ yet he speculates what Wilson is thinking at the end of Chapter 8 exposing his narration to be fallible as it shows that a lot of the narrative could be speculative and therefore unreliable.Nick also speculates at the end of the chapter, ‘there must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams’, however due to the sense desperation that starts to oose out of Gatsby as he states with ‘automatic quality’ that he and Daisy had been apart for ‘5 months next November’, we know this to be untrue proving Carraway’s speculation to be liable. The voice of daisy is presented as beautiful and almost lyrical, which of course juxtaposes her dark and unfaithful personality. Her personality is fully revealed in chapter 5 as she denounces her husband – ‘who is tom’.

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This parallels her quote ‘Gatsby?What Gatsby? ’ in chapter 1 showing that she doesn’t care about either; tom presents security for Daisy, and Gatsby is an affair to get revenge for Tom and Myrtle. Daisy is represented as a Siren throughout the Great Gatsby as ‘her voice was a wild tonic in the rain’, silencing nature. Her mythical presence in the novel draws Gatsby in, mainly through the use of the green light ‘that burns all night’. Gatsby is described as ‘absorbed in’ the green light, showing his obsession, and the fact that Daisy is slowly drawing him in. Gatsby of course replies with the ‘world’s fair’, and his ‘such beautiful shirts’ and other clothes.The fact that Gatsby wears a gold tie, reminiscent of wealth and an actual gold bar, against a white flannel suit (so the gold colour is truly emphasised) calls out to appease Daisy. Everything about Gatsby is calling out to daisy whilst she draws in Gatsby’s ‘ghostly heart’. Daisy’s ‘artificial note’ signifies that her call is untrue, and Gatsby will ‘take a plunge’ into his pool and therefore into death as he states ‘I haven’t made use of it all summer’ foreshadowing the end of his dream in chapter 8.

Fitzgerald uses a range of literary devices to adumbrate the denouement of the novel.Fitzgerald uses pathetic fallacy to foreshadow Gatsby’s inevitable death at the end of the novella. He uses ‘the pouring rain’ and the ‘damp mist’ to signify the awkward and uncomfortable meeting between Daisy and Gatsby. Indeed the use of semantic fields of sadness such as ‘misery’, ‘unhappy’, and, ‘gloom’ help to create a tone of anticipation yet pathos. Fitzgerald describes Gatsby as ‘pale as death…in a puddle of water’. This massively adumbrates the ending of the novella when Gatsby is found dead in his pool.

Towards the end of the narrative, Fitzgerald again uses pathetic fallacy when ‘the darkness had parted in the clouds’.This signifies the moment when the relationship starts to thrive, and Gatsby is described as a ‘patron of recruiting light’. This is interesting when linked with Daisy’s name (in a literal sense); the flower needs the light to survive, but it also needs the rain, foreshadowing Daisy’s betrayal in chapter 7. Time is slowed down in chapter 5; previous chapters are spread over longer times, this signifies the reunion of Gatsby and Daisy; time has gone so fast for daisy, however the ‘five years’ couldn’t have gone slower for Gatsby and the fact that Daisy wants to slow down with him draws him in.Fitzgerald also uses time in a literal sense as ‘the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head’.

The clock, and therefore time, is personified to remind Gatsby that his time is running out, foreshadowing his death in chapter 8. The juxtaposition between Gatsby at his ‘enormous house’ and Gatsby at Nick’s house shows that Gatsby can only be comfortable in his own environment. This is previously shown when his mask slips in the car ride to New York in chapter 4.

Fitzgerald uses only two settings for chapter 5 in order to draw parallels between the change of scene and the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. At the start of the chapter – where Nick, Daisy and Gatsby are gathered in Nick’s house – the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby seems incredibly awkward and both characters seem extremely tense and nervous to be re-united and this is shown by Gatsby’s ‘abortive attempt of a laugh creating an uncomfortable sense of pity for Gatsby. Gatsby previously tries to make Nick’s house as close to his own as possible ‘trim the grass quote here! proving that he knows his mask will slip at Nick’s house. However, when Gatsby invites Nick and Daisy over to his house his relationship with Daisy gradually becomes stronger and Gatsby becomes far more relaxed. Gatsby becomes the romantic at his mansion, ordering music to be played; it is not ironic that Kilspringer plays the love nest. The narrative ends with Nick acting as an outsider in the relationship that appears to be blossoming between Gatsby and Daisy; however as the novel is written in retrospect, we may conclude that this is the calm before the storm for Gatsby.


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