Scott Fitzgerald uses first-person retrospective narrative to take the readers into his novel. Readers receive all impressions from the narrator, Nick Carraway, who is a moral and honest man. Throughout the story, Nick introduces different characters and reveals their natures to the readers. Towards the end of the story, readers will eventually discover that Nick and Gatsby have changed, a change in Gatsby's self-identity and in Nick's morality from the beginning until the end of the novel.
Through information presented in each chapter, readers gradually learn about Gatsby's past. Jay Gatsby's original name was James Gatz and at the age of 17, James decided to disassociate himself from his family and from his past because he believes that a bright future awaits him. Soon Jay meets a woman whom he will never forget--Daisy. Daisy is from a traditional rich family while Gatsby is from a poor farmer's home. But Gatsby is ambitious and courageous and has dedicated his whole being to winning Daisy. His ambitions, greed and desires drive him to improve himself and pursue wealth. Even when he is a teenager, he has "a tight schedule and a list of improvements he must make on his minds." (Fitzgerald 164) However, Gatsby represents the poor young men who are excluded from the society of rich women. Soon Gatsby is being send to the front lines of World War I, while Daisy marries Tom.
The "present" 1922 Gatsby is different from the 1917 Gatsby. Through organized crime, Gatsby becomes incredibly rich and thereby he represents conspicuous consumption. Each week, he throws lavish parties in his house just to attract Daisy's attention. Although Gatsby becomes rich, he does not become moral or fulfilled as a person, thus feeling empty and shallow inside; Gatsby does not grow or develop through the course of the novel. His understanding of himself did not mature because he never came to realize that Daisy is a false ideal for himself.