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AS and A Level: F. Scott Fitzgerald

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 6
  • Peer Reviewed essays 6
  1. Fitzgeralds portrayal of the female characters in The Great Gatsby reveals an underlying hatred of women. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on Fitzgeralds own attitude to women, give your response to the above view.

    ? Additionally, Daisy wishes that her daughter will grow up to be, ?a beautiful little fool.? Both Daisy and Myrtle accept that being physically beautiful is the only way they can survive in the harsh 1920s culture. Through this portrayal, Fitzgerald suggests that women are little more than dolls that are beautiful on the outside but empty underneath, demonstrating that he had an underlying hatred of women. This reflects 1920s culture; on surface level women were becoming more liberated, however any jobs available to women paid much less than their male counterparts which meant that women had to rely on the financial support of a man.

    • Word count: 1541
  2. The Great Gatsby is more effective as a symbolic novel than as a realist novel. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on symbolic novels and realist novels, give your response to the above view.

    spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.? Even though we find out differently in subsequent chapters, you would be forgiven for initially thinking that Gatsby was a perfectly fulfilled man, wealthy and happy as a result of his hard work and endeavour. Gatsby has certainly worked hard to acquire all that he has. According to Thomas Wolfe, every man in America has the right to become, ?whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him."

    • Word count: 1717
  3. The Great Gatsby is too serious to be called a Satirical Novel. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of the Satirical Novel, give your response to the above view.

    This would be more fitting with a Modernist novel than a satirical novel. Modernist novels have an interest in serious themes of loss, disillusionment and social alienation. Fitzgerald was writing in the aftermath of the First World War and was part of the ?lost generation.? Both Gatsby and Nick too part in the First World War, and Gatsby says, ?Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief, and I tried very hard to die.? Society was coming to terms with the true destructive nature of humanity and this cynicism is evident in Fitzgerald?s writing, proving that the novel is too serious to be called a Satirical Novel.

    • Word count: 1375
  4. Tom Buchannan reflects important attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on attitudes and values in real-life American society in the 1920s, give your response to the above view.

    It favoured European immigrants and effectively banned Asians from coming to America. Immigrants were referred to as a ?barbarian horde? and a sense of post-war patriotism led to attacks on many immigrants. Furthermore, Tom expresses views that could be considered white supremacist: "It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.? The white supremacy movement was taking off in the 1920s through groups such as the Klu Klux Klan, which was founded in 1915 but dramatically increased in membership during the 1920s.

    • Word count: 1658
  5. The Great Gatsby is more like a realist novel than a modernist novel. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on realist novels and modernist novels, give your response to the above view.

    For example, the character of Daisy is said to be modelled on Ginevra King. Fitzgerald met Ginevra when he was at Princeton and she was still at prep school. They exchanged love letters, but the relationship ended when Ginevra?s father bluntly told Fitzgerald that he had no business dating rich girls. This gave him a sense of inferiority and was the cause of his lust for wealth, much like Gatsby. In the novel Fitzgerald remarks that Daisy?s voice was, ?full of money,? and Gatsby tells Tom, ?She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me.? This is very similar to Fitzgerald?s experience of love.

    • Word count: 1810
  6. In The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway is not a reliable narrator. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual material on narrators, give your response to the above view.

    The 'single window' we are about to look through is Nick's mind, which suggests that his narration may be unreliable. Fitzgerald is careful to present Nick as ordinary and flawed to further dispel the Victorian tendency to bestow omniscience upon a narrator, whose presentation begins within the very first few paragraphs of the story. Nick boldly states of himself, ?I'm inclined to reserve all judgments.? Not long after that, Nick goes on to use words such as ?arrogant,? ?supercilious,? and ?cruel? to describe his cousin's husband Tom, thus clearly passing (and expressing!)

    • Word count: 1458
  7. The real hero of The Great Gatsby is not Gatsby but the narrator Nick Carraway. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual material on the nature of the hero, give your response to the above view.

    Nick is an effective narrator because his character plays the role of an observer to the crazy world of the new, young rich in New York. He doesn't actively participate in all their scandals, so the reader can trust him to be objective when conveying characters. Because he's not judgemental of the characters, it leaves the reader to fully observe and understand them. Nick understands that no one is completely bad, and no one is completely good. Nick clearly values reason and rationality over passion or emotion, unlike other characters.

    • Word count: 1878
  8. In the character of Gatsby, Fitzgerald glamorises the figure of the gangster in 1920s America. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual material on gangsters in America in the 1920s, give your response to the above view.

    To Fitzgerald?s readers this would have been nothing new. In the 1920s gangsters were almost regarded as celebrities, and they had lifestyles to match. In the public eye gangsters such as ?Lucky? Luciano had it all: money, fame, clothes and women. In the book The Gangster in American Culture, David Ruth wrote, ?the latest styles marketed the gangster as an avid consumer who invested the time and expense necessary to stay on the leading edge of fashion.? This captures Gatsby perfectly.

    • Word count: 1530
  9. Jay Gatsby is an updated version of the American frontiersman of earlier times. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information, give your response to the above view.

    It is this psychological aspect we see in the character of Gatsby. Gatsby is the very embodiment of self-determination. He came from a less than affluent background: ?His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people ? his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all.? Despite this start in life, he was proactive and began to reinvent himself: ?So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent.? Just like the early frontiersman, Gatsby decided to leave his home and journey towards a better life, although the original frontiersmen headed from east to west whereas Gatsby did the opposite.

    • Word count: 1539
  10. The Great Gatsby is so far-fetched that it is more like a fairy-tale than a Realist Novel. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of fairy tale and the Realist Novel, give your response to the above view.

    There is nobility in a "prince's" (Gatsby's) efforts to win over a "princess" (Daisy). For example, Gatsby's mansion is compared to a palace or castle, which is customary of fairy-tales: ?it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy.? Even Gatsby?s house is far-fetched, so therefore The Great Gatsby is so far-fetched that it is more like a fairy-tale than a Realist Novel. Fairy tale romance usually depicts two star crossed lovers who are separated by class or geographical distance, such as Cinderella who was separated from the Prince because of her poverty.

    • Word count: 1651
  11. The Great Gatsby is more of a Comic Novel than a Tragic Novel. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of the Comic Novel and the Tragic Novel, give your response to the above view.

    The romantic comedy was a popular genre during the 1920s, and Fitzgerald was all too aware of this and tried to incorporate elements of romantic comedy films into The Great Gatsby. A contemporary of Fitzgerald was Cecil B. DeMille. Always noted as a showman, Cecil B. DeMille's name was forever associated with extravagant production values - sophisticated romantic comedies such as Old Wives For New (1918) and the racy romantic comedy Don't Change Your Husband (1919). These films based comedy around dysfunctional marriages and affairs, which is exactly what The Great Gatsby explores in a way that is much more comic than tragic.

    • Word count: 1294
  12. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgeralds characters present attitudes and values which allow readers to sympathise with their situations. With reference to appropriate episodes and external info about attitudes and values for 20th and 21st century readers, give your response.

    Gatsby?s attitudes and values surrounding money allow readers to sympathise with his situation. The attitudes towards money from readers in the 20th and 21st centuries are similar. In the 1920s society had just come out of the economic hardships of war and people had disposable income for the first time in over a decade. Many Americans had extra money to spend, and they spent it on consumer goods such as ready-to-wear clothes and home appliances like electric refrigerators. The advertising industry boomed and enticed people to spend even more money, encouraging a culture of materialism.

    • Word count: 1627
  13. Gatsby is more of an anti-hero than a hero. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of the hero, give your response to the above view.

    Like many anti-heroes, Gatsby displays traits of psychological egoism. Psychological Egoism is the belief that each individual should seek as a goal only that individual's own welfare. The idea here is that an individual's own welfare is the only thing that is ultimately valuable for that individual. Such is the case with Gatsby and his dream. Gatsby seeks his own pleasure even in what seem to be acts of altruism. With egoism, when people choose to help others, they do so ultimately because of the personal benefits that they themselves expect to obtain, directly or indirectly, from doing so.

    • Word count: 1637
  14. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald shows the corruption of the America Dream in 1920s America. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of the American Dream, give your response to the above view.

    Fitzgerald deliberately places this after the extravagance of chapter one in order to have maximum impact on the reader. We are presented with an area that bears closer resemblance to the slums of the third world rather than an economically thriving western nation such as America. It is described as, ?a certain desolate area of land,? and, ?the solemn dumping ground.? The American Dream was supposed to guarantee equality for all, yet these divides suggest the dream has been thoroughly corrupted.

    • Word count: 1909
  15. Social Stratification in "The Great Gatsby".

    They both exude a sense of material success and pleasures, habits which are common to both. On the other hand, Valley of Ashes is s stark dark contrast to both east and west egg. Fitzgerald has depicted social stratification through the contrast of the habits and attitudes the rich (East/West Egg)

    • Word count: 416

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the presentation of Gatsby's character through Carraway's narrative perspective

    "In conclusion, Gatsby is presented by Carraway's Narrative Perspective as being an isolated figure, who is initially shrouded in mystery, which soon fades, leaving the hollow, superficial nature of Gatsby exposed to Carraway and reader alike. The narrative then reveals that in fact Gatsby's wealth, although acquired through shady deals during the Prohibition, was all done in pursuit of Daisy. This infatuation is presented by Carraway's narrative as Gatsby being a 'man in love' who 'came alive' in his love for Daisy. However, whether or not his pursuit of Daisy is true love is questionable. It is certain that Carraway admires, even idolises Gatsby, despite his reservations, because of something 'beautiful' he sees about Gatsby. Harry Dayantis"

  • To what extent and in what ways is Fitzgerald purely critical of Gatsby?

    "Due to Fitzgerald's seeming disregard for Daisy in the novel, I believe that he is critical of Gatsby's dream to be with her. However, I believe the other aspects of his presentation linking to dreams in a wider context prevent this view from seeming as if he is purely critical of it - the way that he suggests dreams are important to human nature and separate Gatsby from the crowd imply that Fitzgerald finds dreaming admirable, to an extent. For him to be purely critical I believe that he would have to feel purely critical of dreaming in general, which I believe not to be the case. Therefore, I believe the conclusion that Fitzgerald is critical to an extent is far more feasible and takes into account the more positive aspects of dreaming that he seems to incorporate and believe in."

  • Discuss the presentation of Gatsby's character through Carraway's narrative perspective

    "In conclusion, Gatsby is presented by Carraway's Narrative Perspective as being an isolated figure, who is initially shrouded in mystery, which soon fades, leaving the hollow, superficial nature of Gatsby exposed to Carraway and reader alike. The narrative then reveals that in fact Gatsby's wealth, although acquired through shady deals during the Prohibition, was all done in pursuit of Daisy. This infatuation is presented by Carraway's narrative as Gatsby being a 'man in love' who 'came alive' in his love for Daisy. However, whether or not his pursuit of Daisy is true love is questionable. It is certain that Carraway admires, even idolises Gatsby, despite his reservations, because of something 'beautiful' he sees about Gatsby."

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