Paraphrase of the question: "Every narrator has some bias to his words. Discuss reader position in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald."
There is no such thing as an impartial narrator. This is especially true of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzerald, of which the narrator is a middle-aged man named Nick Carraway, who is insinuating and subtle in his use of words.
From the very first few pages of the book, Nick spends a great deal of time making it known to the read that he is always impartial and reserves judgement. This is, of course, a lie. Nick was the product of F. S. Fitzgerald, and because the novel was written by a human being – that is to say, Fitzgerald sat down and chose words to express his intent (much like I am doing now), certain words were used to evoke certain reactions.
Fundamentally, truth is a perception. Because Nick was designed (if you will) to be human, his own choice of words when retelling the tale he called "The Great Gatsby", he was biased even to start. "Great" is a matter of opinion, and so from the moment you even read the title of the novel, you (as a reader) are being positioned and manipulated to see the world through Nick’s eyes.
Nick Carraway is a character actively involved with the events of the story, as well as being the narrator of it. If truth is really a perception based on past experience, then Nick’s experience as a first-person narrator are already positioned to see the world in a certain way. That said, everything you (as a reader) subsequently read was told by a narrator who wants you to see his side of things. Because all narrators were born of human invention, it is safe to say that every story, novel or text ever written will be biased in some form or another. When an author writes a story and tells it using the narrator as the medium, that author must choose the words in which the narrator will tell the story through. Quite simply, regardless of what the narrator might claim (such as being impartial and never letting involvement effect judgement), it is ultimately the author putting words into his or her mouth, so to speak.
A reader’s own interpretation of a story relies most heavily on his (or her) own context. As aforementioned, truth is your own view on a matter based on oyur past experiences (or in other words, context) that shape your current weltenshaung (or view of the world). This means that how you interpret a story- "The Great Gatsbye" for example- is up to how you choose to see it. The narrator of a story will present to you a tale of events in one light, but it is then the choice of the reader to accept the view he (or she) has been given, or to seek alternative ways of interpretation. A story is only a representation of the world; that is to say, someone’s perception of how things might be. The nature of alternative or oppositional readings is to find different interpretations of the story, whether on a tangeant or directly opposing the perception the narrator just fed us.
No story that was ever written by a human hand, or ever invented by a human mind, is free of bias. "The Great Gatsby" is no exception to this, despite the proof Nick tried to claim. Christening a stranger "Owl Eyes" is hardlesunbiased, or describing someone as beautiful (for is it not "true" that all things are beautiful if only you find the beauty in them?). Every word Nick wrote came from the inevitably biased hand of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and so no reader is free from some degree of manipulation, unless the narrator shares precisely the same views as the reader.
This was written in the final hour of a 190 minute exam. I was understandably tired, and sick of writing and thinking. I got just a little laidback in my style and practically engaged in conversation with Mr Watson, who marked it. Don’t start me on where I went wrong. Instead, I’ll just give you the mark.
9/25, or 36%.
John, be warned. Lit essays are not opportunities for you to [opine?] and pilodophise. You are called upon to develop an argument based on the text which interrogates the concepts and directives of the question. This account is extremely limited in these areas.
Average of 48% over the three essays I wrote for my literature exam. I was hoping to get at least 70%, for I let myself believe I did reasonably well. Alas, presumptious old me was given his comeuppance for arrogance and philosphy. I’ll do better at the poetry unit. At least, I’m presuming I will. I must redeem myself. *sigh*