Essay: Gatsby Character Analysis

In a regular face to face class, you are required to do some in-class essay writing, rather than have all the essays be simple turn them in after the fact writing.  Therefore, consider this paper to be one of those…there will be no rough version or peer or instructor reviews given; you’ll just be turning in a final product by the end of the night on WEDNESDAY.  This paper can be a bit shorter than some of the others, however, as we’ll be considering it to be something that if we were in a classroom you’d be writing on paper, with a bit of a time limit.  I’d say maybe about 600 words or so would be a ballpark figure for the length, though of course you may go over that if you wish.  If your response is very much shorter than that, however, you may wish to reconsider your approach.

Ideally I would want you to treat this as something that you just sit down and write and do your best on as is, though of course I’ll have no way of knowing how long you work on it, etc…I don’t want to set it up as one of those timed assignments…too much can go wrong with internet connections, your computers freezing, etc…I won’t put that stress on you, but you do not need to labor on this like you would a regular essay.


PROMPT:  Now that you have finished the book, consider either the character of Jay Gatsby OR Nick Carraway…BUT NOT BOTH!  Think about all the things you have read about either character throughout the novel, and make a moral study/judgment of either one of them.  Perhaps you see Gatsby as a noble person pursuing a years long goal, or perhaps you see him as a delusional person who turns to organized crime to ruthlessly pursue a goal that is not worth it.  If you wish to write about Nick, maybe you see him as a person who tries to take his father’s moral advice, and who stays out of the less than savory activities he sees during the summer of the book.  But then again, maybe you see him as someone who presents his supposed morality to you the reader, but who stands by and watches lives being destroyed, affairs being carried on, and the like, and never really steps in to stop the unethical behavior he supposedly frowns upon.  Whatever your approach, do not play the middle ground and say Gatsby or Nick is both good and bad. Form an opinion that has a clearly defined and defended position, and firmly support it with your own thoughts, as well as quotes from the book.  

Though this paper is reduced in length, it should still be organized as a formal paper with an introduction, a purposeful thesis that the paper supports throughout,, clearly defined and purposeful body paragraphs, and a conclusion…don’t just write a big chunk!  Have a thesis that defines your position and helps guide your content!  Have focused body paragraphs that discuss a single main point that advances your analysis.  Have an overall conclusion that wraps things up neatly. You know the deal!

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