The narrative situation established in the film differs greatly from that in the novel where Nick Carraway is the first person narrator. It is through his eyes that the characters are presented. One of his main roles is to give a clear picture of their class position. It is through his comments that the reader gets a deeper knowledge of their situation. An example of this is his observation that despite Gatsby's appearance and stories of his background there was something odd about him. He didn't quite fit with the story he told.

The film, however, uses the camera eye to present the characters, with occasional comments from Nick. In this way appearance and money are the main indicators of class. As noted earlier this is a reflection of 1970s American society where these were the signs of class.

Nick's social position in both the film and book is ambiguous and he himself is uneasy as to his position. He is well educated and is related to those of the upper class, Daisy, however he has a lowly payed job and lives simply on the 'less-fashionable side of the island' (as observed by him in the opening of the film). He is present at social gatherings of all classes - Daisy's house, Gatsby's parties, Tom and Myrtle's parties.