Narrator and point of view
The Great Gatsby is narrated in the first person by Nick Carraway, a character who both takes part in the action of the novel and watches from the sidelines. Nick takes on the role of author, making his awareness of “this book” (p. 8) evident from the start. This serves to displace Fitzgerald's own voice as an author and disguises some of his own commentary and point of view in Nick's voice.
Nick tells the story in the past tense, recalling it from his memory some time after the events actually took place. This gives him the possibility of interrupting the narrative and adding in details outside the strict time frame of the story. For example, he inserts the story of Gatsby's real heritage at the beginning of chapter 6, even though he did not know the truth at that point in the story. He claims, “He told me all this very much later, but I’ve put it down here with the idea of exploding those first wild rumors about his antecedents, which weren't even faintly true” (p. 97). Fitzgerald uses this technique to reveal Gatsby's past in a dramatic way, at the point when the reader's (and all the other characters') interest in Gatsby's true origins is at its highest.
Fitzgerald also creates drama b...