In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses a technique of “narrative syncopation” to deliver key information on the off-beat, away from the emphasis of a scene or a sentence, slipping it under the reader’s attention. This is both a “jazz” style and a strategy for concealing potentially scandalous material, such as the racial secret of the novel: the family relationship between Daisy and Jordan Baker. In the same way a jazz band can transform a sentimental pop song, Fitzgerald takes a sentimental love story and weaves it into a racial and social history of “The Jazz Age.” Daisy’s “low, thrilling” voice holds the reader on the romantic theme, while in the background, off the beat, Fitzgerald constructs and deconstructs a jazz history of the world, that is, the New World: America.

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