On a first reading, the beginning of a novel gives us an initial idea of the style, tone, narrative technique and themes of the whole work, initiates a relationship between reader and narrator, and raises expectations about the text, the reading experience, which is to come. These expectations will not necessarily be fulfilled; indeed, they are likely to be modified in significant ways. On second and subsequent readings, our knowledge of the novel as a whole inevitably influences how we read the beginning and we are likely to understand it differently — to grasp more clearly how it prepares us (sometimes by indirection or misdirection) for the rest of the work. In analysing the beginnings of The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, it will enrich our enjoyment and understanding to aim to develop a kind of double vision: to see the beginning both as it might appear to a first-time reader and as it might appear to someone rereading the book.
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