Gatsby Essay

Gatsby Essay-42
Meanwhile, Tom is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson, the wife of mechanic George Wilson.Through the Wilsons, we see the struggles of the working class in dismal Queens, NY.For example, you might be asked to write an essay about a prompt like this: “How does the life of Jay Gatsby exemplify (or deconstruct) the idea of the American Dream?

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And finally, a strong undercurrent to all of these themes is identity itself: can James Gatz really become Jay Gatsby, or was he doomed from the start?

Can someone who is not from old money ever blend in with that crowd?

This is why many teachers love theme essays: because they encourage you to connect small details to big ideas!

Furthermore, the AP English Literature test always has an essay question that has you analyze some aspect of a book and then “compare it to the theme of the work as a whole.” (If you want specific examples you can access the last 15 years of AP English Literature free response questions here, using your College Board account.) So this skill won’t just help you in your English classes, it will also help you pass the AP English Literature test if you’re taking it! Remember that the story is set in the 1920s, a period when America’s economy was booming, and takes place in New York: specifically the wealthy Long Island towns of West Egg and East Egg, as well as Manhattan and Queens.

tells the story of James Gatz, a poor farm boy who manages to reinvent himself as the fabulously rich Jay Gatsby, only to be killed after an attempt to win over his old love Daisy Buchanan.

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Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan, and they’re both from old money, causing them to look down Gatsby’s newly rich crowd (and for Tom to look down at Gatsby himself).By the end of the novel, our main characters who are not old money (Gatsby, Myrtle, and George) are all dead, while the inherited-money club is still alive. The American Dream: The American Dream is the idea anyone can make it in America (e.g.gain fame, fortune, and success) through enough hard work and determination. Or does his involvement in crime suggest the Dream isn’t actually real?As if they didn’t already have it hard enough, Myrtle is killed in a hit-and-run accident (caused by Daisy Buchanan), and George, who’s manipulated by Tom to believe that Jay Gatsby was both his wife’s lover and her murderer, ends up shooting Gatsby and then himself.The whole story is told by Nick Carraway, a second cousin of Daisy’s and classmate of Tom’s who moves in next to Gatsby’s mansion and eventually befriends Jay -- and then comes to deeply admire him, despite or perhaps because of Jay’s fervent desire to repeat his past with Daisy.The tragic chain of events at the novel’s climax, along with the fact that both the Buchanans can easily retreat from the damage they caused, causes Nick to become disillusioned with life in New York and retreat back to his hometown in the Midwest.The fact that the major characters come from three distinct class backgrounds (working class, newly rich, and old money) suggests that class is a major theme.Does the novel push for the need to fix this lack of morality, or does it accept it as the normal state of affairs in the “wild, wild East”? Gatsby wants to have it both ways: to change himself from James Gatz into the sophisticated, wealthy Jay Gatsby, but also to preserve his past with Daisy. But even though those prompts have big-picture questions, make sure to find small supporting details to help make your argument.The Mutability of Identity: Mutability just means “subject to change,” so this theme is about how changeable (or not! In the same way a tree would look really silly if it was just a trunk with no branches and leaves, your essay won't be that great without smaller details to support the larger argument about the theme.Also, the rampant bad behavior (crime, cheating, and finally murder) and lack of real justice makes ethics and morality a key theme.Death also looms large over the novel’s plot, alongside the threat of failure.


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