What part of Chapter I may be regarded as a prologue, or introduction, to Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter I of The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), the first section of the chapter is a bit of a prologue, up until the point at which Nick relates, "My family have been prominent, well-to-do people..." (7).  That is where the story really begins.  Prior to that sentence, Nick is introducing himself to the reader as the narrator and giving purpose to the narrative.  He explains that when he returned to his mid-western roots after his brief attempt to live in the east, he was disgusted with the bad behavior and immorality of his experiences, longing for a world "at a sort of moral attention forever..." (6). In short, he has had it with the frenetic jazz age of New York and its "riotous excursions" (6).  It is only in Gatsby that he finds an exception to this, hence the title of the book he is about to give us.  He has come to realize that the one person for whom he should have had nothing but scorn, a lowly criminal with nouveau riche inclinations, has turned out to be endowed with what Nick has come to understand truly matters, "an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness" (6) that he had not seen before and had no hopes of seeing again. There is something "gorgeous" (6) about Gatsby for Nick, and this book is a paean to his greatness.  

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