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Was Gatsby Great

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How Great is Gatsby? The title of the novel, 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is ironic as the heading's character is neither 'great' nor named Gatsby. He is a criminal who has altered his harsh surname of Gatz to the melodic Gatsby and the life he has created for himself is an illusion. The book's name is the first feature that appeals to the reader. Before even opening the book the person expects Gatsby to be great. The caption, 'The Great Gatsby', itself suggests a theatrical billing given to an artist. It could also symbolise the act of Gatsby's life in the novel. ...read more.


Furthermore, to encapsulate his wealth Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby in royal, rich colours like "Indian blue" and "apple green and lavender." Materialism is important to Gatsby as he sees it as the only way to obtain Daisy's affection. Everything he does has been out of the love for Daisy, enhancing the view of him being great. Gatsby is therefore the novel's representative of the American Dream. However, for Gatsby, his American Dream is not material possessions but he has obtained wealth in order to fulfil his American Dream which is of course Daisy. Additionally, like the corruptness that shrouds the American Dream, Gatsby's passionate love for Daisy leads to his downfall. The reader admires Gatsby for his extraordinary ability to transform his hopes and dreams into reality. ...read more.


Nick highlights Gatsby's nobility as he describes Gatsby as being polite and having: "one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it... [he] then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor." The passage is a part of Nick's first examination of Gatsby's character and appearance. Nick describes Gatsby's rare ability to make anyone he smiles at feel as though he has chosen that person out of "the whole external world." This again stresses the importance of Gatsby being 'great'. Conversely, when portraying Gatsby's lavish parties thrown every week at his mansion, which put into context at the time of the 1920s and the Jazz era seem corrupt, with people attending simply to enhance their image to society, Fitzgerald presents Gatsby as aloof and separated from the rest, ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is a superb essay; one that repeatedly refers to the question topic throughout their analysis, and by pinning their analysis to said question they are retaining an excellent, unbroken focus for the duration of their answer. The candidate makes ...

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Response to the question

This is a superb essay; one that repeatedly refers to the question topic throughout their analysis, and by pinning their analysis to said question they are retaining an excellent, unbroken focus for the duration of their answer. The candidate makes a number of insightful proposals about the nature of Gatsby's greatness, and also why they believe it to be an ironic label. All of what is written can be said to be extremely accurate, with a sensitive appraisal of symbolism and character in the novel, and it is a joy to see a candidate that can understand how, the information we read is through the eyes of Carraway, hence the book can be said to have an unreliable narrator. They nicely describe how we come to feel admiration for Gatsby's affectations, all of which contribute to our idea that he is deserving of the title "Great".

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is fantastic. It is excellent to see - rather a little too implicitly for my liking (some examiners may miss this) - the separation of Fitzgerald and Carraway - the two are quite different, and the intentions of Carraway are often ambiguous due to his unreliable nature as the narrator. It is very possible he is being ironic by calling the book 'The "Great" Gatsby' however, there were times in the novel that he truly admired Gatsby, as is identified when the candidate refers to Carraway's description of Gatsby's smile and how the reader comes to admire, as Carraway does, Gatsby's fervent determination to repeat the past and achieve his dreams.

All analysis is suitably tied back to how we, as readers, then use the analysis to perceive the greatness of Gatsby, and this naturally helps the focus remain tightly succinct and overall very effective.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is very high. The candidate demonstrates an excellent capability to use and shape the English language in order to convey their intended analytical meaning. There is no cause for concern with regard to spelling, punctuation or grammar either.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 26/08/2012

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