What can be another point of view for The Great Gatsby?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Point of view, or the vantage point from which a narrative is told, is generally divided into two different categories:

  • First person point of view in which the story is told from the perspective of one of the characters in the narrative; with this point of view the reader is told only what this character knows and observes. Nick Carraway gives the reader his perspective; so, the reader only learns Gatsby's background and history as it is revealed to him by Gatsby, and he learns of the other characters through his interactions with them, or by what he is told. With this point of view, there is a sense of immediacy to the narrative.
  • Third person point of view relates the story from the vantage point of "he," "she," or "they." The narrator is usually an observer of the actions, not a participant. Third-person narrator can also be omniscient, or all-knowing, who is able to describe what characters are thinking and feeling.

Probably the best alternative point of view is that of a third-person limited point of view; that is, the narrative is told from the vantage point of just one character, who acts as an observer. This would be similar to the point of view of Nick, with the exception of his involvement in the plot, especially with Jordan Baker. 

For instance, Chapter Two would vary little from the way it is written as Nick is pretty much an observer at the party in the hotel room. There is an ambiguous scene that would not be included. At the end of the chapter, Nick goes with Mr. McKee in the elevator, then 

...I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets...with a great portfolio in his hands ]with his photographs]

and later Nick is asleep on the train back to West Egg.

This third person objective point of view is similar to Nick's perspective except for his interaction with other characters. In this case, the narrator could be relating the narrative years after it has happened as he/she looks back on the time in which everything that took place. But, always this point of view is much like a person looking through a window and describing what he/she sees within.

Chapter Three also would require little rewriting, except for Nick's personal observations and comments. Instead, the third person narrator would tell what Nick says and does. The disadvantage to this type of narrator would present itself in the dilemma of how to let the reader know about Gatsby's and Daisy's past. One of the characters would have to be talking to Gatsby who relates his past, perhaps a little at a time.

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