F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a novel known for its rich storytelling. In chapter 2, the story unfolds in a fascinating way, told from the perspective of Nick Carraway. The reader gets to see everything through Nick’s eyes, and this creates a unique and engaging reading experience.
Fitzgerald does an excellent job of setting the stage in chapter 2, introducing the reader to the characters and locations that will be important in the rest of the novel. He also starts to lay out some of the key themes of the book, such as wealth and greed. The result is a chapter that is full of action and intrigue, and which sets up the rest of the novel perfectly.
In chapter 2, Nick is taken to the Valley of Ashes by Tom, where he meets Myrtle and is led to their New York home. He then encounters the McKee family and Myrtles sister Catherine at his friends’ home.
In the end of the chapter, Tom punches Myrtle’s nose when she continues to talk about Daisy. The Great Gatsby is written with an intra-diagetic narrator, employs a lot of symbolism, and has major settings, which F Scott Fitzgerald uses in chapter 2 to tell his tale.
The Valley of Ashes is a key setting in the novel as it contrasts the wealthy East Egg with its garish parties and luxury, and the poor West Egg. The Valley of Ashes is where George Wilson lives, and it is also where Myrtle has her affair with Tom. The location is significant as it shows the emptiness of the American dream, and how people will do anything to achieve it.
The characters in this chapter are also significant as they all have roles to play in the story. Nick is the narrator and so he gives us an insight into all the other characters. He is also a link between Gatsby and Daisy, which is important for their relationship.
Myrtle is significant as she represents the hollowness of wealth, and her affair with Tom shows the moral corruption of the upper classes. The McKee family are also significant as they show the false sense of security that people have in relationships. They are all happy and seem to have the perfect life, but it is all a façade.
Fitzgerald uses a number of techniques in this chapter to tell his story. The use of dialogue is important as it allows the reader to understand the characters’ motivations and feelings. The use of symbolism is also important as it helps to create a more immersive experience for the reader. The use of setting is also crucial as it helps to create a contrast between the different worlds that the characters inhabit. All of these elements come together to create a powerful story that speaks to the human condition.
In chapter 2, Fitzgerald employs a first person narrator in the form of Nick, who is looking back on the summer he spent in West Egg and met Gatsby. This technique provides readers with Nick’s thoughts and allows them to make judgments based on his opinion.
The reader is able to see Nick’s character development as the story progresses. The language Fitzgerald uses also creates an image of luxury and wealth. This is significant as it helps to establish the setting and atmosphere of the novel.
As the evening proceeds, Nick gets drunk, as shown by his speech and increased self-assurance. He removes some lather from Mr McKee’s face even after having seen it previously. This approach is effective because it is subtle yet makes evident to the reader what is going on.
The dialogue between the characters also starts to change, it becomes more stilted as if they are all putting on a show for each other. This is particularly evident when Jordan Baker tells Nick about Gatsby’s past. The language she uses is very formal which creates a sense of distance between her and Nick. The sudden shift from informality to formality suggests that what she is about to say is not meant for his ears but he manages to overhear it anyway.
The next morning,Nick wakes up with a headache and regrets attending the party. He goes downstairs and has a conversation with Mr Wolfsheim, who tells him that Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan. Wolfsheim also mentions that Gatsby was in the war and that he is from an aristocratic family. This information helps to explain why Gatsby is so desperate to win Daisy’s love.
F. Scott Fitzgerald uses a number of techniques to tell the story in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby. The use of dialogue and description creates a vivid picture of the events that take place and the characters involved. The reader gets a glimpse into their world and their relationships with each other. The use of alcohol as a symbol of excess and wealth is also effective in conveying the atmosphere of the party and the lifestyles of the rich.
Fitzgerald employs symbolism to advance the story in chapter 2. The term “the Valley of Ashes” conjures up an unpleasant image, and the repeated use of the word “grey” emphasizes the bleakness of the area. It is a place people travel through on a train but never stop; they are outsiders, catching a glimpse of another world.
The contrast between the ‘valley of ashes’ and Gatsby’s world emphasises the differences between the characters. The valley of ashes is a place of desolation and death, while Gatsby’s world is one of wealth and extravagance.
The eyes of Dr. T J Eckleburg also play a role in chapter 2, as they watch over the valley of ashes. The Eyes of Dr. T J Eckleburg could be interpreted in many ways, but they could represent the judgemental society that looks down on those who are not as wealthy as them. The eyes could also be seen as God, watching over the characters and their actions.
Fitzgerald employs strong contrasts to show the differences in lifestyle and society between different areas in America, most notably New York City’s east side and west side as well as the Valley of Ashes. He also uses symbolism with Eyes of T J Eckleburg, a large painting featuring just eyes that appears over a garbage dump.
The mysterious eyes watch over the characters as they live their lives in the valley, and may be seen as a representation of God, or a force for good, judging the actions of the characters. The colour white also recurs throughout the novel, and is often used to represent purity, honesty and innocence.
One example of this is when Nick first meets Jordan Baker; she is described as ‘wearing white’ and ‘looking cool’. The white also contrasts with the hot, dirty environment that surrounds her. When Gatsby meets Daisy again after five years, he too is wearing white, which may symbolise his hope for a new start with her.