What are the effects of narration in this passage from chapter six of The Great Gatsby?
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. Moreover he told it to me at a time of
confusion, when I had reached the point of believing everything and
nothing about him. So I take advantage of this short halt, while
Gatsby, so to speak, caught his breath, to clear this set of
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This passage comes at the end of an extended flashback that provides a great deal of information about Gatsby's life history. During the flashback, readers become aware of his humble origin, of his association with Dan Cody and the impact of that partnership upon his life, and of the development in his own mind and imagination of the alter ego that became Jay Gatsby, replacing James Gatz.
This method of introducing this information to the reader presents the story as if Nick were talking informally and directly to the reader. It is a very intimate way of presenting a life history that some would consider to be a lie, as Gatsby changed whatever didn't fit into the vision of himself that he wanted to create and present to the world. Because it is explained in this manner, however, the charade sounds understandable and justified, at least in Gatsby's eyes.
Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality
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