The Great Gatsby essay test

The Great Gatsby essay
Choose one of the following essay questions and write a formal essay answer. The
essay should be typed, double spaced and specific to the novel. The final draft is due
the day you return from Spring Break.
1. “When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in
uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions
with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his
name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby who represented everything
for which I have an unaffected scorn….No—Gatsby turned out all right in the end; it is
what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily
closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”
Explain the significance of this quote from early in the novel. How can Nick have
“scorn” for Gatsby and yet say he “turned out all right in the end”? Justify your essay
with direct references from the novel.
2. “I couldn’t forgive him or like him but I saw that what he had done was, to him,
entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom
and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then returned back into their
money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other
people clean up the mess they had made….” Show, through specific example, how Tom
and Daisy are careless and who the people are that must clean up after them. What is
Fitzgerald saying about American life through the actions of Tom and Daisy?
3. Part of the appeal of Fitzgerald is that he discusses the American Dream in terms that
it had not been presented before. What point about the American Dream is he suggesting
in this novel? What character or object comes to represent the American Dream? Use
specific examples to justify your answer.
4. “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all---Tom and Gatsby, Daisy
and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in
common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.” What “deficiency” might
they possess that makes the East impossible for them to deal with (Nick refers to the East
as “distorted”)? Use specific examples to justify your answer.