Great Gatsby Essay

Great Gatsby Essay

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is one of the most commonly assigned novels in high school and college English classes.  It is therefore also common for teachers to assign a Great Gatsby essay so that students can demonstrate their knowledge of the book and its themes.  Great Gatsby essays can take a variety of topics and explore them in a variety of ways, as there are seemingly endless aspects of the novel to examine in detail.  However, Great Gatsby reports should avoid discussing topics that have been extensively covered in the student's class.

There is a wide array of existing scholarly research on The Great Gatsby, much of which has been very influential in the way the novel is interpreted and taught.  The many theories and ideas proposed in this research can make a student feel as though there is nothing left to add to the academic discussion; however, this is absolutely not the case.  A Great Gatsby essay is not a research paper or a scholarly article.  An article is understood to be a text that focuses on the individual writer's interpretations and ideas, and every reader of The Great Gatsby has interpretations and ideas regarding the novel.  These ideas should be synthesized with what the writer has learned in class to develop an article that presents the student's own, unique take on the book.

To begin brainstorming for a Great Gatsby essay, the student should first narrow his or her focus to a particular theme in the novel the he or she is particularly interested in exploring.  Then, the writer should pick a certain literary element, stylistic feature, event, or character of the novel through which he or she will explore that theme.  This will help to focus the document.  Without such focus, it is likely that the exploration of the theme would be confusing and un-persuasive.  So, say the writer was interested in exploring the theme of the American dream as Fitzgerald presents it in the novel.  In this case, the writer would want to pick one or two or perhaps even three very specific aspects of the text itself to use to illustrate how the idea of the American dream is developed.  For instance, the writer may decide to explore the idea of the American dream through Fitzgerald's use of imagery.  This essay would then focus on how the imagery of the novel develops the writer's interpretation of how the idea of the American dream is presented in the text.  All Great Gatsby reports should be text-focused in this way.

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