3. The Great Gatsby (1925): Character Narration, Temporal Order, and Tragedy

  1. James Phelan

Published Online: 1 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118512876.ch3

Reading the American Novel 1920-2010

Reading the American Novel 1920-2010

How to Cite

Phelan, J. (2013) The Great Gatsby (1925): Character Narration, Temporal Order, and Tragedy, in Reading the American Novel 1920-2010, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118512876.ch3

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2013
  2. Published Print: 10 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631230670

Online ISBN: 9781118512876

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Keywords:

  • American novel;
  • character narration;
  • Fitzgerald;
  • narrator;
  • The Great Gatsby

Summary

The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald's novel, is the story of a self-made man, not long on scruples, who loves, loses, and then tries to recapture a woman from the moneyed class. This chapter closely looks at the novel by focusing on Nick, and, more specifically, on the much-debated issue of his reliability. It describes Fitzgerald's use of the various relationships between Nick as character and Nick as narrator after a look at the overarching progression and Nick's role as character in the plot dynamics. A productive way of considering Nick's role as character is to reconstruct the relationship between what the Russian formalists call the fabula, the chronological sequence of the novel's events, and the sjuzhet, the narrative text itself, which may or may not present the events in chronological order.