The Great Gatsby Essay – 3380 Words

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The Great Gatsby Essay  is a classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that has captivated readers since its publication in 1925. It’s a story of ambition, loss, and the pursuit of dreams; a timeless tale that speaks to readers across generations. Writing an essay on this iconic book can be daunting – but don’t worry! In this article, I’m going to give you some tips and advice on how to write an amazing ‘Great Gatsby’ essay.

From understanding the themes and context of the novel to finding scholarly sources for your paper, I’ll guide you through each step so that you can create a great piece of writing. With these tips in hand, you’ll have all the tools necessary to compose an exceptional essay about one of literature’s greatest works.

Finally, I’ll also provide plenty of examples from my own experience as well as other successful essays written by students like you. So sit back and relax – let me show you how it’s done!

Summary Of The Novel

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece of the Jazz Age, sparkles like a diamond in literature’s crown. Like an exquisite gemstone, its beauty lies both within and without; the plot is as captivating as the characters who inhabit it. To summarize this timeless classic in three paragraphs takes no small feat.

This novel tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire living along Long Island Sound, who throws lavish parties with hopes of reconnecting with Daisy Buchanan—his long-lost love from World War I. Nick Carraway narrates Gatsby’s pursuit and his own journey through post-war America while also providing insight into other characters such as Tom and Myrtle Wilson and Jordan Baker. Inevitably, tragedy ensues when Gatsby’s past catches up to him at one of his infamous gatherings.

Throughout The Great Gatsby, readers witness not only personal growth for Nick but also gain an understanding of 1920s society during what was known as “the Roaring Twenties” — a time characterized by extravagance, indulgence, materialism, and moral ambiguity. This novel has endured throughout time due to its ability to capture complex themes still relevant today: wealth versus poverty, corruptibility of power and ambition gone awry.

As we move on to discuss themes and symbolism further in this essay, let us reflect on how these elements helped shape Fitzgerald’s literary work into something that remains so beloved even nearly 100 years later.

Themes And Symbolism

The Great Gatsby is a novel filled with symbolism. One of the most important symbols in the book is that of the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, which symbolizes Gatsby’s unrequited love for Daisy and his never-ending pursuit to gain her affections. The parties hosted by Gatsby are also symbolic; they represent both his wealth as well as his desperation for acceptance from those whom he considers ‘old money.’

Additionally, there is the Valley of Ashes which serves to show how individuals are willing to sacrifice their morals and values in order to achieve success. Lastly, there is an oft-repeated image throughout the novel: eyes watching over characters. This can be interpreted as God or morality keeping tabs on people’s actions and reminding them about what truly matters in life.

Symbolism plays an integral role in conveying messages within The Great Gatsby. It allows readers to understand more deeply themes such as materialism, corruption, mortality, and even hopelessness while providing insight into characters’ motivations. Through these representations, Fitzgerald further develops his story and reveals a powerful message about society during this time period – one that remains relevant even today. Moving forward, we will explore how characters are portrayed and developed within The Great Gatsby.

Characters And Characterization

As the sun sets on The Great Gatsby, it illuminates the characters and their characterization. Jay Gatsby is a mysterious man with an idealistic dream of reuniting with Daisy Buchanan, his one true love; this dream drives him to immense wealth and status in order to win her back. His character embodies ambition, romanticism, and tragedy as he strives for something that may never be attainable. Nick Carraway serves as the narrator throughout most of the novel and is portrayed as a moral compass who often contrasts from other characters due to his down-to-earth attitude. He continuously observes others’ actions while making subtle but meaningful comments about society at large.

Daisy Buchanan’s character adds drama to the novel because she straddles between two different worlds: her husband Tom’s world of money and power versus Gatsby’s world of starry dreams and ideals. Her own desires are unclear until the end when we learn that she chooses security over passion by staying with Tom rather than running away with Gatsby. Despite being unfaithful, her intention was never malicious or even conscious–she simply wanted both men in her life without having to choose one over another.

Meanwhile, Jordan Baker stands out among all the characters because she exhibits independence within a male-dominated society through her career as a professional golfer. She also demonstrates intelligence and courage by uncovering secrets regarding Daisy’s affair behind Tom’s back despite knowing that revealing such information could bring danger onto herself.

The characterization of each personage reflects Fitzgerald’s tongue-in-cheek social criticism which will now be explored further in the subsequent section about social criticism.

Social Criticism

The Great Gatsby is a novel that critiques the failings of 1920s society and its engagement with the American Dream. It follows the story of Jay Gatsby, an enigmatic figure who has achieved immense wealth but still longs for something more intangible- love. By showing how Gatsby’s pursuit of his dream ultimately leads to tragedy, Fitzgerald forces readers to consider whether it really is possible to achieve true fulfillment through money alone.

Fitzgerald also uses Nick Carraway as a foil for Gatsby in order to further explore this idea. Despite coming from similar backgrounds, their outlook on life could not be more different; while Gatsby believes in chasing after material success, Nick values human connection and morality above all else. Through these two characters’ parallel stories, Fitzgerald puts forth a powerful critique of a culture that prioritizes ambition over meaningful relationships.

Ultimately, The Great Gatsby serves as both an analysis and condemnation of America’s obsession with wealth. With his sharp commentary on class divisions and moral bankruptcy, Fitzgerald paints a stark picture of what can happen when people are too focused on making money instead of striving towards genuine happiness. As we transition into the next section about setting and structure, it will become clear how Fitzgerald uses these elements to enhance his social criticism even further.

Setting And Structure

I can feel the roaring twenties in the Great Gatsby. The novel takes us to a world of extravagance and opulence, where money talks and wealth is flaunted. I am instantly transported back to the 1920s with each turn of the page. Through its setting and structure, Fitzgerald creates an immersive experience for his readers as we get lost in this glamorous yet morally bankrupt world.

The novel’s setting immerses readers into a bygone era. As soon as we enter Nick Carraway’s apartment complex on West Egg Island, it becomes clear that no expense was spared when constructing these luxury dwellings. From there, the reader follows Nick through lavish parties full of people dressed in their finest threads while living out their wildest fantasies. This decadent lifestyle paints a vivid picture of life during this time period – one of excess and indulgence which stands in stark contrast to the moral decay lurking beneath its surface.

Fitzgerald further enhances our journey through his narrative structure. By using multiple points-of-view he crafts an intricate story that keeps us hooked until the very end. His use of alternating timelines helps build suspense as well as create tension between characters such as Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby who are desperate to reconnect after years apart yet unable because they have both changed over time. Through this cleverly crafted plot line, Fitzgerald invites us to follow along on his characters’ journeys towards self discovery – adding another layer of richness to this already captivating work of literature.

With its stunningly realistic depiction of 1920s life, combined with a multi-layered narrative structure, Fitzgerald provides readers with an unforgettable look at what happens when love meets ambition against a backdrop of extreme wealth and privilege – making The Great Gatsby one of the most enduring pieces of American literature ever written. Now it’s time to explore how Fitzgerald brings all these elements together through literary devices…

Literary Devices

I’m a big fan of the great gatsby and its intricate use of literary devices. The story uses figurative language to paint vivid images in my mind, from the green light that Gatsby stares at on Daisy’s dock all the way to Nick’s description of East Egg as ‘the less fashionable of the two’. All these descriptions help bring Jay Gatsby’s world alive for me.

The novel also employs powerful foreshadowing techniques throughout, such as when Jordan Baker tells Nick ‘It takes two to make an accident’, which further builds up tension in anticipation of tragic events. In addition, Fitzgerald cleverly utilizes irony examples to illustrate how life can be so contradictory – one example being when Tom talks about honesty while cheating on his wife with Myrtle Wilson.

But what really makes this book stand out is its brilliant use of stream-of-consciousness and motifs symbolism. By allowing characters like Nick Carraway to share their inner thoughts with us through long monologues, we get an intimate peek into their lives and relationships. Furthermore, Fitzgerald skillfully intertwines symbols like clocks, eyes, and eggs throughout the novel – each symbol carrying deep meaning behind it.

From Fitzgerlad’s deployment of figurative language to his masterful weaving together of symbolic imagery, I am always amazed by how much he packs into every page of this classic masterpiece.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is The Significance Of The Green Light In The Novel?

A. The green light is a powerful symbol in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Its presence throughout the novel serves as an integral part of the American Dream narrative and has become emblematic of Jay Gatsby’s tragic quest for Daisy Buchanan, his long-lost love. By examining its significance within the context of the story, we can gain insight into its symbolic meaning.

Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald uses the green light to represent hope and longing; it acts as a beacon that beckons Gatsby towards something greater than himself. It serves as a visible reminder of his dream – to reunite with Daisy – and gives him strength to keep striving despite all odds. In this way, it reflects both Gatsby’s ambition and also his vulnerability: he puts everything on the line for this one goal without any guarantees that he will succeed or even survive trying to reach it.

This symbolism further connects to themes present in The Great Gatsby such as materialism, class divisions, greed, and the pursuit of happiness through money and power. Through these connections, Fitzgerald emphasizes how empty and futile chasing after material wealth is when compared to real emotion; ultimately, no amount of money could ever buy true love or happiness for Jay Gatsby.

Thus, by exploring what this green light represents for its characters, readers are able to better understand why they act so desperately in their pursuit of unattainable goals – because at times it seems more worthwhile than accepting reality.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents us with a vivid illustration of how easy it is – especially during difficult times – to lose sight of our values while blindly chasing after dreams that may never be realized. The enduring image of the green light speaks volumes about what drives people forward against seemingly insurmountable obstacles: optimism in spite of despair and hope amidst disappointment.

Q2. What Is The Author’S Message About The American Dream?

A. The American Dream has been a core tenant of the United States since its inception. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, used his novel to explore this idea and express his message about it. By examining the characters’ understanding and pursuit of wealth as well as their social standings within society, one can gain insight into what Fitzgerald was trying to say about American dreams in the novel.

Throughout the book, there is an overarching theme of striving for success despite class boundaries or other obstacles. Jay Gatsby had humble beginnings but worked hard to achieve wealth and status that would make him acceptable in upper-class circles; unfortunately he could never fully attain these goals due to his past. His unrequited love for Daisy Buchanan further highlighted how difficult achieving the American dream could be even when obtaining money seemed possible.

Nick Carraway also represented this idea with his moral struggles between upholding traditional values while living among people who were determined by birth right more than effort.

Ultimately, Fitzgerald’s message seems to be that although anyone can attempt reaching their own version of the American dream regardless of where they come from, it will always remain out of reach if they rely solely on material success rather than personal connections or relationships.

Through each character’s journey we see that although some may try to use money as a way around societal limitations, in reality it only serves as a temporary bandage over deep wounds caused by inequality within our nation’s social classes throughout history. It is clear that no amount of external validation can substitute genuine human companionship which is something all people should strive towards instead of chasing after hollow ideals set forth by society—a lesson learned too late for many characters in The Great Gatsby.

Q3. How Does Fitzgerald Use Symbolism To Portray The Characters?

A. Fitzgerald is masterful in how he uses symbolism to portray his characters. He expertly communicates the themes of love, money and power through symbols like yellow cars, eyes and green light. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald brilliantly weaves together these symbols to help readers understand complex emotions and ideas about each character.

The most prominent example of this is Daisy Buchanan’s white dress. White usually symbolizes innocence but when juxtaposed with her ‘vitality’ it takes on a more sinister meaning – that her beauty masks something darker beneath the surface. Similarly, Jay Gatsby’s mansion stands as a symbol for his ambition and desire to show off wealth while also conveying a sense of loneliness. His parties epitomize materialism as they are attended by people who care little for one another beyond their own selfish desires or interests.

By using symbolism to portray his characters, Fitzgerald offers readers insight into the motivations behind their actions which helps them identify with them emotionally. This allows us to feel compassion even for those characters whose lives have been taken over by greed or vanity. It also demonstrates how our dreams can quickly become corrupted if not kept in check with moral principles such as loyalty and friendship. Through symbolic language, Fitzgerald effectively makes an important statement about the American Dream without resorting to judgemental language – instead showing us its consequences so that we may draw our own conclusions.

Q4. How Does The Setting Of The Novel Contribute To Its Themes?

A. The novel setting of The Great Gatsby is a key component in contributing to its themes. Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism works hand-in-hand with the setting to portray his characters, while also helping create an atmosphere that reflects the American Dream. Here are some points on how this plays out:

  1. Symbolism is used within the novel setting to illustrate character traits and relationships.
  2. Through its portrayal of lavish parties and events, it shows how wealth can be both corrupting and isolating for those who strive for it.
  3. By placing most of the action in East Egg, West Egg and Manhattan, Fitzgerald hints at class divisions which contribute to showing the gap between dreams and reality.

By using symbolism alongside various settings such as Long Island Sound or Daisy’s house in East Egg, Fitzgerald creates vivid imagery that mirrors the plot and helps drive home important themes like corruption, isolation, ambition and greed throughout The Great Gatsby.

The juxtaposition between these symbols help show us how our perception of success may not align with what we think will bring us happiness. To put it another way; one might find themselves reaching for something unattainable due to their own aspirations rather than because it is actually attainable. This notion is emphasized through scenes where Nick visits places like New York City or goes swimming in Long Island Sound – all reflective of a certain lifestyle but ultimately empty if you’re after true contentment.

Fitzgerald masterfully uses symbolism along with specific settings to make sure readers gain insight into his characters’ intentions and motivations as well as understand how far people can go when chasing their dreams – regardless of whether they achieve them or not.

He clearly paints a picture that despite the lure of money or status nothing compares to genuine connection with others – something he aptly highlights by having Nick move away from East Egg towards the end of the book signifying his realization that no amount of wealth will ever replace meaningful relationships.

Q5. What Is The Significance Of The Title Of The Novel?

A. The title of ‘The Great Gatsby’ is an interesting choice by F. Scott Fitzgerald, as it carries a significant meaning to the story and its characters. The significance of this novel’s title can be analyzed through symbolism, themes and character development.

Firstly, the use of ‘Great’ in the title implies that there might be something larger than life about Jay Gatsby himself; his grandiose parties, his money and even his dreams all signify a greatness that perhaps no other character possesses. Additionally, Gatsby seems to represent something much bigger than just the typical American Dream – he stands for hope in spite of failure, ambition despite adversity and striving against all odds. This notion can also be seen when Nick Carraway reflects on Gatsby’s death:

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us”. By using such language, Fitzgerald suggests that although Gatsby may have failed in achieving his goals, he still represents something greater beyond success or failure – namely perseverance and optimism.

Furthermore, with regards to literary analysis, symbols are used throughout the novel to illustrate important aspects of the narrative. For example, color imagery plays an important role – white symbolizing innocence and purity while yellow representing corruption and superficiality; these colors come together at Daisy Buchanan’s house which serves as a representation of old-moneyed America along with Gatsby’s mansion being a reflection of new-moneyed America.

Similarly, East Egg versus West Egg symbolizes moral decay caused by wealth accumulation without hard work or effort. Thusly, understanding how each element within the text contributes to its overall theme helps one understand why Fitzgerald chose ‘The Great Gatsby’ as the title:

  1. Reflecting on Jay Gatsby’s pursuit towards his own version of greatness
  2. Symbolism highlighting major themes throughout the text
  3. Color imagery illustrating morality surrounding characters from both sides of society
  4. Contrast between East Egg and West Egg serving as reminders of social divisions

Ultimately then we can see why ‘The Great Gastby’ holds so much importance not only within literature but also within culture itself. Its exploration into ideas around class struggle, power dynamics between different groups in society and ultimately what constitutes true greatness makes it timeless piece worth revisiting over time again and again.


In conclusion, The Great Gatsby is a timeless classic which speaks to the core of our humanity and explores themes that are still relevant today. Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism, setting and other literary devices allows us to gain insight into human nature and how it is affected by various external forces.

The green light serves as an allusion to the American Dream – a dream that can be achieved if one works hard enough for it. However, events in the novel show us that this dream does not come without its difficulties and often times leads to isolation or disillusionment. Ultimately, we must remember what Gatsby teaches us: no matter how much money you have or what dreams you pursue, nothing compares to genuine love and friendship.

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