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On the Narrative Features of Fitzgerald’s Last Three Novels

Author MengTao
Tutor LiZhongHua
School Ocean University of China
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords surface narrative structure temporal duality of narrative focalization distance narrator
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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In Fitzgerald’s lifetime, most contemporary critics are ambivalent about his works. After his premature death, some critics began to reclaim his reputation as a serious writer.“Fitzgerald Revival”begins in 1941, and with it all kinds of literary theory are applied to re-evaluate his works. His last three novels The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western were created when Fitzgerald was at his best as a novelist. Therefore a narratological study of them will definitely contribute to rediscovering the writer.The study will be conducted along the lines of classical narratology. Therefore, the themes of the three novels will be left aside. The aim of the study is to capture the narrative features of the three novels in the hope that the results of the study will reinforce the basis on which other studies concerning the themes and biography will be carried out more convincingly.On the layer of fabula, the categories of event and act will be examined. The will follow the model proposed by Bremond to describe the surface narrative structure of the three narratives. By comparison, the writer will draw conclusion about their features in fabula. Then based on the model the writer has developed the writer will specify how the actors change into characters. The writer will compare the distributions of character-indicators in the three narratives.On the layer of story, tense and focalization of the three narratives will be examined. There are three measures to gauge the temporal duality of any narrative. Order, duration, and frequency will be used to elucidate the relationship between the narrative time and fabula time. The writer will develop two lists of time to study the category of order in the three novels. When the writer studies the focalization of the three novels, the writer will focus on alteration, namely temporary change in focalization. In China, it is called infraction of focalization. The writer will also challenge Cheng Aimin’s conclusion about infraction of focalization in Gatsby. On the layer of text, the writer will study distance and narrator of the three narratives. The writer will emphasize the different mode of representing speech in the three novels. The two extreme mode diegesis and mimesis will serve as reference framework. The writer will elaborate on the Fitzgerald’s application of free indirect style and interior monologue. In terms of narrator, the writer will compare the functions which the three narrators perform in their narratives.

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