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Structure in Gatsby: Nick's Manipulation of Time and Sequence
Transcript of Structure in Gatsby: Nick's Manipulation of Time and Sequence
Structure in Gatsby: Nick's Manipulation of Time and Sequence.
Immediately establishes retrospective narration.
All events will be presented in the order that Nick decides.
Self-conscious narrative - Nick knows that his memories may be fragmented; subject to his own moral view or disjointed.
In my younger and more vulnerable years...
Why do we start with Nick's past?
And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all.
What has been omitted? What can we identify in terms of narrative gaps? Holes in the sequence?
I'd known Tom in college...
I spent two days with them in Chicago...
He had changed since his New Haven years...
What references to time can we identify in this chapter?
Work with a partner to identify as many time and sequencing references as you can find.
You can skim and scan this chapter for your answers - most are at the start of new paragraphs ;-)
Extension: Can language support structure? Can you identify the use of time-related lexis e.g. 'immediately', 'now, ' later' etc...
It's all down to that narrator again!
'Reading over what I have written so far, I see I have given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart are all that absorbed me. On the contrary, they were merely casual events in a crowded summer,and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs.'
References to time in Chapter 1
I went up to New York with Tom on the train one afternoon.
Implies other trips, other meetings?
I have been drunk just twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon; so everything that happened has a dim, hazy cast over it, although until after eight o'clock the apartment was full of cheerful sun.
The late afternoon sky...
It was nine o'clock - almost immediately afterward I looked at my watch and found it was ten.
Some time toward midnight...
...waiting for the four o'clock train.
What is the purpose of this rapid structural shift?