In chapter 8, why does Fitzgerald choose this point in the novel to present a detailed discussion of the initial love affair between Gatsby and Daisy?

Fitzgerald chooses to present a detailed description of Jay Gatsby and Daisy's initial love affair in chapter 8 in order to build suspense, contribute to the mystery surrounding Gatsby's character, and drive the plot of the story. By withholding this important information, Fitzgerald piques the reader's interest as they anticipate discovering the source of Gatsby's inspiring dream.

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Nick frames the novel by telling us that Gatsby will be central to it, the redemptive figure who rises above the foul dust of people like Tom and Daisy because of his audacious ability to dream.

However, Nick then moves back to following his own slowly unfolding consciousness of who...

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Nick frames the novel by telling us that Gatsby will be central to it, the redemptive figure who rises above the foul dust of people like Tom and Daisy because of his audacious ability to dream.

However, Nick then moves back to following his own slowly unfolding consciousness of who Gatsby is. We travel along with him as he experiences the mystery of Gatsby. This allows us to experience what occurs as Nick does and builds suspense.

It is not until he is deeply enmeshed in the events that bring together Gatsby and Daisy that Nick begins to fully understand from Gatsby's perspective what attracted Gatsby to Daisy. Chapter 8 follows the episode at the Plaza in which Tom cruelly demolishes Gatsby as a criminal low-life and implies that he is not good enough for Daisy—not even, for that matter, fully "white," which is a crime in Tom's racist worldview.

Gatsby's revelations follow, too, on the heels of Daisy running over and killing Myrtle. Nick says that Gatsby's heart comes pouring out honestly at this point because he is broken. Deceptions and posturing don't matter to him anymore. Nick writes that:

It was this night that he told me the strange story of his youth with Dan Cody—told it to me because ‘Jay Gatsby’ had broken up like glass against Tom’s hard malice and the long secret extravaganza was played out. I think that he would have acknowledged anything, now, without reserve, but he wanted to talk about Daisy.

It makes psychological sense that Gatsby, who has lived by guarding his secrets and his past, would at this point be beyond all that—and also overwhelmed his need to talk about his great love, who is slipping away from as he speaks.

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For the majority of the novel, Jay Gatsby is portrayed as an elusive, enigmatic figure with an enormous affinity and love for Daisy Buchanan. Initially, Fitzgerald builds suspense surrounding Jay Gatsby's character by not introducing him until chapter 3, where Nick meets him for the first time at his party after listening to numerous unflattering rumors about him. In chapter 4, Nick learns that Gatsby shares a past with Daisy when Jordan Baker elaborates on their history and agrees to reintroduce Gatsby to Daisy at his home. As the story progresses, Fitzgerald continues to provide the audience with small pieces of information regarding Gatsby's background and previous relationship with Daisy without revealing the intimate details of their initial love affair.

Given the mystery surrounding Jay Gatsby's character, Fitzgerald refrains from revealing the most significant information regarding his relationship with Daisy until chapter 8. By withholding the information concerning Gatsby and Daisy's initial love affair, Fitzgerald successfully builds suspense as the reader anticipates discovering Gatsby's first impression of Daisy, which has inspired his amazing journey. Fitzgerald also provides the audience with a unique opportunity to hear Gatsby's personal narrative. For the majority of the story, the reader has waited to hear from Gatsby himself and has wondered about the source of his love for Daisy. Fitzgerald's genius is revealed in his decision to withhold this desired information until the end of the story, which successfully drives the plot, creates suspense, contributes to the mystery surrounding Gatsby's character, and provides the reader with something to look forward to.

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From Ch. 1, when Daisy responds to the mention of Gatsby's name with, "Gatsby?  What Gatsby?"  in such a way that the reader knows she knows this name until Ch. 8, the reader has been given bits and pieces of the former relationship between Jay and Daisy.  In Ch. 4, Jordan tells Nick about the day Daisy married Tom and how Daisy had received a letter which caused her to get drunk and attempt to call off the wedding.  It's clear that this letter was from Jay - but again, the reader is only given a glimpse of the past relationship.  Still, the reader is slowly piecing together the puzzle of Daisy and Jay.  Ch. 5 gives readers another piece when the truth comes out that Jay's money has been earned only recently and that Jay longs to return to the days in Louisville, five years earlier.  In Ch. 6, the reader learns of the first kiss between Jay and Daisy and how Jay fell in love with Daisy and knew then that she was essential to his life.  Ch. 7 is where the reader is taken from the romantic memories to the harsh reality when Jay and Tom nearly come to blows over Daisy.  By the end of Ch. 8 Jay Gatsby is dead.  The reader has to have the final pieces to this picture puzzle to see completely the relationship between Daisy and Jay, so now Fitzgerald gives the reader those final pieces.

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