How Fitzgerald Tells the Story in Chapter 7 of the Great Gatsby
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Fitzgerald tells the story in chapter 7 via retrospective narration, from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a self-conscious narrator, who is writing a novel of his own, within Fitzgerald’s novel. Fitzgerald uses many techniques to tell the story in chapter 7, namely pathetic fallacy, characterisation and the chronological revelation of the events that took place in the summer of 1922, after Gatsby and daisy were finally reunited.
Fitzgerald builds on the image of Tom as a “brute.” He is shown to be speaking “savagely” and “exploding into speech.” This shows that Tom is a character who has not been changed by the events leading up to chapter 7, and shows us how he truly possesses no respect for any one; even the suspected gangster who is sleeping with his wife. Fitzgerald perhaps chooses such savage lexis to play the role of narration by Nick, when describing Tom, in order to show us the real reason why Nick chooses to ultimately leave the East after Gatsby’s death, as he possesses deeply rooted resentment for self-centred characters, such as Tom.
Similarly to Tom, Daisy is has not exactly been changed by the events leading up to Chapter 7. She does not want to leave Tom, perhaps because the two of them are well suited for one another, and she sees being with Gatsby, only as a means of revenge against Tom, for being unfaithful. Fitzgerald clearly shows us that love still exists between the two, when Daisy and Tom arrive at their house after the disastrous day in the city, where Daisy “violently extinguished” Myrtle Wilsons. Tom’s “hand had fallen upon and covered her own.” And “Once in a while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement.” The fact that neither of them seem to be angry with the other, shows us that their infidelity was only a phase through which they were going, and that in reality they are made for one another. By contras, Fitzgerald shows us the almost pathetic image of Gatsby standing in the rain to “see if he tries to bother her about that unpleasantness this afternoon,” but he does not seem to see that he has been rejected by Daisy. Whilst knowing this, Nick still chooses Gatsby to be “the man who gives his name to the book.”
This gives us the impression that Nick is blinded by his affections for Gatsby as despite seeing him completely bested by Tom Buchannan, he still chooses to hate Tom and admire Gatsby. This makes us question the reliability of Nick as a narrator and makes us question weather the events that Nick “recalls” have been modified to show his role model to be better than he really is. Unlike Tom and Daisy, Gatsby is profoundly changed by the events leading up to Chapter 7, especially his reunion with Daisy. He stops throwing his lavish parties and, for the first time, shows concern for his public reputation. He replaces his old servants with “some people Wolfsheim wanted to do something for.” This shows how Gatsby has changed dramatically since his meeting with Daisy, and suggests that he truly loves her. Fitzgerald contradicts this with, the almost non-existent change seen in Daisy, since Gatsby came back into her life, as she refuses to leave Tom to be with Gatsby. The fact that the new servants of Gatsby were provided by Wolfsheim, also serves to create a new aura of mystery around the death of Gatsby, as perhaps these ‘servants’ had something to do with Gatsby’s murder.
The tension in the Chapter is increased by Fitzgerald’s use of pathetic fallacy, the weather is “Hot!…Hot!…Hot!” so that it, like the atmosphere in the chapter “hovered on the edge of combustion.” Suggesting that the situation between Tom and Gatsby is about to explode. It is apparently close to the end of summer. This creates the feeling that this is the last chance for Gatsby escalate his relation with Daisy, as the hopeless, darker days of autumn and winter are on their way; that the demise of summer is bring with it, the demise of ‘the great Gatsby.’ Fitzgerald continues to build on the image of Wilson as a foolish man, with his “hollow-eyed” gaze and his general weakness serves to illustrate that something is wrong, and perhaps more than just physical illness. Wilson states that “ I want to get away. That’s why I been bothering you about the car.”
Suggesting that as usual, Wilson, the week character is choosing to run from, rather than face the problem that is bothering him. The dramatic irony is that he is asking Tom to help him take his wife away from the influence of the person who she is having an affair with, who just happens to be Tom. We see some glimpse of intelligence in him as we can see that he has become partially aware of the other life that his wife is living and has realised that their might be some form of infidelity involved in it; but we are soon proven incorrect as Fitzgerald once again shows the characteristics of Wilson as a foolish as he sees some sort of hope that they can perhaps fall in love again; but he fails to see that, that is obviously not what Myrtle wants. The end of Myrtle is truly tragic, and once again symbolises the inevitable failure of the American dream, as Myrtle’s dream was to find a way to move out of the valley of ashes, and have a luxurious life; but she is crushed by Daisy and just like Gatsby’s Dream, her dream too is destroyed.