Essay Questions About The Great Gatsby

How does F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrate the American Dream in “The Great Gatsby” through symbolism?

Fitzgerald utilizes an assortment of literary gadgets to depict the American Dream. One illustration is the green light that symbolizes Gatsby’s desires and dreams for existence with Daisy. Another image is the Valley of the Ashes, which speaks to the dreadful outcomes of America’s fixation on riches. Fitzgerald utilizes these images to pass on the deceptive way of the American Dream.

Identify three situations in The Great Gatsby that depict how characters experience their dream?

In the novel, the characters have diverse methods for communicating and experienced their dream lives. Gatsby, for instance, is mainly worried about winning back Daisy, his lost love. He trusts that the best way to accomplish this is to wind up as rich and fruitful as possible. In Gatsby’s situations, he throws extravagant parties every week in the trust of getting her. Interestingly, for Myrtle, the dream is to escape Wilson’s garage and to live like a well-off socialite in New York. For Myrtle, this dream is just conceivable through being Tom’s escort. However, her passing brings her dream to an end. As for Nick, the dream is building a life in New York as a bondsman. He quickly understands that life in the city is shallow and materialistic. After Gatsby’s death, Nick chooses to leave New York since he understands, through Gatsby’s encounters that dreams often comes with a cost.

Why does Nick tell Gatsby’s story?

Nick is the best possible option of being the storyteller as he is an outsider. Nick is not from either West or East Egg but born and raised in Midwest. Moreover, Nick is neither as rich nor does he have the status that is similar to Gatsby’s. The former is the storyteller of Gatsby’s story since he is a non-judgmental individual. Additionally, since he has no past knowledge of Gatsby, Nick can describe the story in a lesser chronological manner than one would expect from the individuals who have been acquainted to him.

What was the author’s primary reason for writing The Great Gatsby?

The boundless idea that anyone residing in American can accomplish success, happiness, and satisfaction, through working as hard as could be expected under the circumstances, is what is referred to as ‘The American Dream.’ Fitzgerald deconstructs this thought by demonstrating that, however much Gatsby works hard and obtains an immeasurable store of wealth, he doesn’t ever accomplish genuine happiness or satisfaction. For Gatsby, absolute joy includes having the enduring affection from Daisy.

Clarify how The Great Gatsby is a case of the Modernist novel

Although the Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1925, it is a Modernist novel because it looks for prominence despite the interruption of normal values in the period following the first Word War. Gatsby negates numerous traditional qualities, including the value that is important, and which is both deconstructed and addressed is the notion and ideals of the American Dream.

How do East and West American qualities vary in The Great Gatsby?

The West symbolizes the following qualities: polite, family centered, hard work, considerate and the general social conservativeness. Nick depicts how he was raised to be thankful, reasonable, legit, and general, his considerations and activities add up to those ethics.

On the other hand, The East, as according to the novel, is a location of opportunity, but also the place where corruption is rampant. Here, the writer sets criminality, shown by Gatsby and Wolfsheim, disloyalty, evidenced by Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, and Myrtle, dishonesty, shown through Jordan, and total disregard of the social control in the parties.

Is irony used as comedy in The Great Gatsby?

The image created of Myrtle swelling like a balloon in an always contracting room, spinning round and round noisily, as she tries to impress everybody around her, is indeed humorous, and it is ironic since she behaves entirely different from what we would expect of a lady in her position.

How does irony add meaning to the general story of The Great Gatsby?

The writer gives the reader numerous cases of irony that demonstrate the corruption in the society. Ironically, George addresses a billboard as a god. Through this scene, Fitzgerald is trying to show the reader that consumerism has turned into the American god. Numerous different illustrations demonstrate how stagnant, self-absorbed and empty the high society turned out to be.

What is the criticalness of Gatsby’s fixation to Daisy?

He is “obsessed” with her since she is the one thing he can’t have. At different instances, while reading the novel, one may wonder if Gatsby adores Daisy or that having her would be the ultimate class marker. Maybe he believes that he can prove to himself that he has, at long last, joined the class of individuals that once avoided him.

Why does Nick get suspicious of Gatsby’s life story?

The Narrator starts to doubt the truthfulness of Gatsby, after getting to meets the latter’s friends. Nick feels that their characters and mannerisms are questionable, and that makes him question Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby Essay Topics

1. Explain how the novel does or does not demonstrate the death of the American Dream. Is the main theme of Gatsby indeed “the withering American Dream”? What does the novel offer about American identity? (Reference the characteristics of the American Dream within the body of your paper.)

2. Explain how the novel demonstrates the characteristics of modernism.

3. Discuss whether or not Gatsby is a romantic hero in the modern era.

4. Discuss how the novel exemplifies the dehumanizing/corrupting nature of wealth (consider examining characters, plot, symbols, etc.). Consider doing a Marxist interpretation. Or, more generally, explain the theme of the corruption of people and society through an examination of characters in the novel who are corrupt.

5. Describe Fitzgerald’s satirical portrait of modern society using Gatsby’s parties as support.

6. Compare and contrast the homes of characters (consider Nick, Gatsby, Tom, and George/Myrtle Wilson). How does each home to (is a symbol for) its owner/renter (how does each home reflect the personality of its renter/owner)? Consider comparing and contrasting the characters, also focusing on their attitudes/ beliefs/values.

7. Argue who is/are the most admirable and/or despicable character(s) in the novel and why.

8. Compare and contrast the major female characters in the novel: , and Myrtle. How does each act towards men? What are their motivations/goals/interests/values? How are they treated by men (including the narrator/author)?

9. Show how Fitzgerald uses clothing (and the changing of costumes) to tell the reader more about the characters and/or express theme(s). Consider discussing colors, fabrics, etc.

10. Do a close reading of a passage of your choosing, explaining the passage in light of the entire novel. *Note: the passage must be approved by me first!

Example: In reference to Tom and Daisy, Nick remarks, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy; they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (180-181).Explain this passage in light of the entire novel.

11. Discuss Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism (this is a large topic that must be significantly narrowed – such as focusing on one symbol and analyzing it in detail - with a specific thesis). How does it function in the novel (consider discussing how it relates to theme, communicates information about characters, develops the plot, etc.)? Possible symbols to discuss include: colors, eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, clothing, cars, the green light, biblical allusions (God, Jesus, grail), characters’ houses, weather, water, music, celestial bodies (moon, stars, planets), nature’s bounty (flowers, shrubs, trees, fruit), etc.

12. Trace the development of the narrator, Nick Carraway – how does he change, and how are these changes significant (how do they relate to the themes of the novel)?

13. Discuss how an aspect of 1920s society appears to change throughout the novel.

14. Is what Gatsby feels for Daisy love, obsession, affection, or accumulation/objectification?What is Fitzgerald’s message here? Consider discussing whether or not Gatsby can really love, given his characteristics.

15. Who is the real person: Jay Gatsby or Jimmy Gatz?  Does he become “the Platonic conception of himself”? What does that mean? Is it a peculiarly American phenomenon?

16. Discuss how The Great Gatsby is the quintessential American novel. What does it have to offer about the American identity and the American Dream?

17. Morally ambiguous characters—characters whose behavior discourages readers from identifying them as purely evil or purely good—are at the heart of many works of literature.Choose a character from the novel who is morally ambiguous and write an essay in which you explain how the character can be viewed as morally ambiguous and why his/her moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole.

18. Discuss the novel’s theme that the American Dream is corrupted by the desire for wealth. What does the novel and its theme offer about the American identity?

19. Discuss the novel’s theme that outward appearances can be deceptive. What does the novel and its theme offer about the American identity?

20. Create a topic of your own or alter one of the above topics. *You must have this topic approved by Ms. G before you begin working on your essay.

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