NARRATIVE STRUCTURE - The Great Gatsby .
The Great Gatsby's narrative structure involves retrospective recounts of events. It starts with Nick Carraway, the 1st person narrator introducing the setting and characters in the present, then he moves on describing the events of the past. As the story progresses, he joins both the past and the present in Chapter IX. This use of flashbacks creates a sense of mystery around the protagonist, Gatsby. .
The sense of mystery is further amplified through 1st person narration. Readers are given Nick's perspective of characters as opposed to the protagonist's version. This allows readers to gain a deeper understanding and arouse curiosity towards the protagonist, so that when he is finally introduced, readers would enjoy Gatsby despite his behaviours. .
Audiences are expected to trust the narrator as he says, "I"m inclined to reserve all judgements" at the very beginning of the novel. Nick always presents a logical sequence of events, filled with quotes of sources other than his own. Readers are presented the story as Nick obtains and due to his "reserved judgement" we are able to make up our own minds e.g. through Jordan Baker's comment, "Tom's got a woman in New York" yet Nick was also told Baker is deceptive. .
Fitzgerald does not waste any space by telling readers all the events that happened in that time frame but rather structure it in small episodes, pieced together. In each episode there is a lot of action, creating a dramatic effect. Scenes are often juxtaposed e.g. Myrtle's party compared to Gatsby's party in which readers are shown the difference in social strata between Myrtle and Gatsby. .
Although Nick narrates, building up the character of Gatsby throughout the novel, he is a well chosen witness to recount because he is actually involved in major events in Gatsby's life. That way, readers are shown the parallelism involving Nick's and Gatsby's story.