How does Fitzgerald tell the story in Chapter 4 Fitzgerald opens the chapter with more rumours around the infamous Mr Gatsby that we still know little about, such as ‘he once killed a man’, we met him briefly in the previous chapter but still find him mysterious, as even Jordan ,who claimed to know him didn’t believe he was’ an oxford man’. Nicks own perception of the character is not fixed as he juxtaposes between flattery and resentment.
Nick goes on to name and describe all the characters he has met whom had visited Gatsby, the array of ages and backgrounds of these people only further our frustration to comprehend Gatsby as we cannot place him within any structured group of relation. Nick narrates how Gatsby appears at his doorstep and shows off his car, the input of the car shows Fitzgerald subtly placing significance on it, foreshadowing the death of Myrtle. Nick’s detailed description of the car furthers its significance but illustrates the materialism that it contains with ‘green seat leathers’ green symbolic of money itself.
Gatsby then pursues to clear the rumour regarding his history when exclaiming how he was ‘educated in oxford’ however, even here Fitzgerald makes it apparent how Nick does not trust Gatsby, telling how he ‘swallowed’ his words, even wondering if there was something ‘sinister’ in him. As Gatsby reveals his war hero status Nick narrates how he was ‘surprised’ when he sees the medal is ‘realistic’. Upon seeing pictures of Gatsby ‘by the church spires’ in Oxford Nick remarks on ‘how it was all true’.
It would therefore appear Nick is beginning to trust Gatsby and disbelieve the contradicting rumours around him. Through Nicks narration we learn of Gatsby’s ambiguous authority when he is able to wave off a policeman simply because ‘he did him a favour once’ however, the lack of conversation between the pair suggests that the favour was not something out of kindness, because if it were friendly the two would obviously spark conversation, the favour instead seems more business-like.
Fitzgerald juxtaposes the open air freedom of Gatsby’s car with the confined, narrow setting of the cellar where they sit for lunch. This sense of confinement mimics the feelings Nick would assume when meeting Woflsheim for the first time, we are presented with a figure representative of the corrupt morale of the underground criminal system within America in the 20’s, we are introduced to the man who ‘fixed the world series’ with ‘molars’ for cufflinks, this intimidating man seems suited to the dark suffocating setting of the cellar which seems only to exaggerate his dark criminal Nature.
Fitzgerald inputs the voice of Wolfsheim to disturb the pleasantries we have been exposed to already- so far the parties and wild lifestyle have been presented as part of the upper-class materialism and decadence. When greeted with the roots of the bootlegging we realise the darker undertones of the event. Suddenly we are exposed to real stories of murder which make the rumours of how Gatsby ‘killed a man’ seem suddenly more believable.
However the way he juxtaposes between the remark of the men who were ‘electrocuted’ to stating that Nick ‘was interested in a business proposition’ shows the characters casual attitude towards death, his language around death shows no more tension than an everyday conversation, we infer that the character has a relation to death. Nick then narrates a story told to him through Jordan which happened years earlier in Daisy’s youth, this makes the time frame disjunct as we hear not from the current time frame.
She recalls Daisy as being the sweetheart of her town ‘dressed in white’, representing purity, where men called all day to monopolise with her. She recalls how Daisy was sat in a car engrossed with a young Gatsby who was quite obviously smitten by the youthful Daisy, remarking how he ‘looked on her like any woman would dream to be looked on’. She then states how Gatsby left and she was depressed all summer, but by autumn she was ‘gay’ as ever.
She then went on to Marry Tom who was ‘more pompous than the whole of louisville’ , however there was trouble before the marriage went through, as she found Daisy ‘drunk as a monkey’ with a changed mind. But with Jordan’s and Daisy’s Mothers help she pursued to marry Tom. It is then revealed, through Nick, that Gatsby being in Long Island was not a coincidence, in fact he had only bought the house to view Daisy’s across the bay, located by ‘the green light’ on the dock, symbolic of Gatsby’s jealousy to gain Daisy.
At this realisation Nick states how the character ‘came alive to me’ as though through this revelation we finally achieve an understanding of the character that appeared so vacant and mysterious previously. It is revealed Gatsby wishes to meet Daisy at Nicks, but so she could see his house. We infer that Gatsby wishes to grab the materialistic attention from Daisy when showing off his wealth.