Essay Questions: The Great Gatsby

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American Literature 112 B

Due date ____________________

Essay Questions: The Great Gatsby

For your final Gatsby essay, you will write a 5 paragraph (minimum) paper including an introduction, 3 body paragraphs (or more), and a conclusion. Each paragraph must be well developed with a topic sentence, text support, and analysis.

Also, just like in your research paper, you must make an argument! Your intro paragraph MUST contain a clear thesis/claim that presents your argument for the rest of the paper.

Each body paragraph must have a quote from our main source, The Great Gatsby, with a correct lead-in and citation. You must have a total of at least 3 quotes in your paper. Your citation may just be the page number, as the author and title will be mentioned in the first paragraph. All of your source references should come from the novel (no outside sources are needed).

^ Introduction Paragraph: Include the title and author of the novel you are writing about (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald).

Make sure to use MLA format as well as careful grammar and mechanics in your essay.

This essay must be typed and submitted to Blackboard in order to receive a final grade.


  1. Choose one theme from the novel and explain it thoroughly. Make an argument in your thesis statement about what message you decide is being communicated about the theme topic.

2. Compare and contrast Gatsby and Tom. How are they alike? How are they different? What are the positive and negative characteristics of each? What might attract Daisy to each of them? What might they represent?

*Be careful here! Do not write 1 paragraph about one character and 1 paragraph about another character. Each body paragraph should compare 1 aspect of both characters.

-For example

Tom and Gatsby represent experience and innocence; Tom has already lost all his innocence to a lavish lifestyle, while Gatsby clings to innocence and is never corrupted by America’s materialism. (This is an argumentative thesis statement because some of you may be saying, “No! I don’t agree! Gatsby becomes just as corrupted by wealth as Tom and Daisy.” )

  1. Explore Gatsby as a symbol of the American Dream. Does he represent the realism of the American Dream? How? What might Fitzgerald be saying about the idea of the American Dream throughout the novel? In what ways does Gatsby represent the ideal, and in what ways does he represent the decline of America, as seen by Fitzgerald?

  2. Fitzgerald uses a narrator, Nick Carraway, to tell Gatsby’s story. What kind of person is Nick? Can the reader trust his observations and judgments? Explain.

  3. Write a character sketch of Daisy, Jordan, and Myrtle Wilson. What is Fitzgerald’s attitude toward women? Do you agree or disagree with the way women are portrayed? Or was this just an era of women asserting themselves for the first time? Explain.

  4. Nick says at the very beginning of the novel that “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (6). Do you agree or disagree with this? Explain.

  5. Explain the significance of the title. Does Jay Gatsby live up to this title? Yes or no? Explain.

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