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How does Fitzgerald tell the story in chapter 3? Essay

In chapter 3 Fitzgerald introduces us to the main character of his book, and we finally get an insight into what Gatsby is like (albeit through the eyes of Nick Carraway) during the party he throws. Even though we meet the character himself, Fitzgerald continues to entice us with rumours of Gatsby, which is significant because it shows just how artificial his entire life is – he couldn’t dispel the rumours even if he wanted to.

Throughout the party in chapter three, we meet a variety of different characters, which almost seem to act as tour guides; however, as soon as they’ve said their part, they seem to almost evaporate into the night. Each person has their own snippet of seemingly useless information, ‘She had a fight with a man who says he’s her husband’ or ‘somebody told me they thought he killed a man once’, its almost as if they’re not actually characters- merely rumours that have been personified to make the night more exciting. Conversely, one character with no rumour to spread is ‘Owl Eyes’, a ‘somewhat drunk’ man with ‘enormous owl eyed spectacles’ – typically a sign of wisdom, which is completely disregarded in this particular personality, as he conclude the main ideas in this chapter, these being that instead of wanting to talk to people at a party to gain insight about that person, the aim of talking to people at Gatsby’s party is to procure an understanding into Gatsby’s character alone.

As well as using Owl Eyes’ spectacles to enforce this point, Fitzgerald also chooses to base him in a library, surrounded by knowledge yet still painfully drunk and clueless. The fact that Owl Eyes thought the books were a “nice durable cardboard’ and was suitably impressed that they were in fact ‘real books’ portrays just how artificial everything is at Gatsby’s parties, and just how surprising it is to find something solid and genuine. These tour guides like Jordan, Owl Eyes and Nick himself, give us a very jolted view of the night, but the structure throughout chapter 3 was still very consistent and definitively chronological, however this completely changed at the end, Nick seems to come out of his narrators view point and instead talks to the reader directly.

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