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The Great Gatsby – Critical Essay Help

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  1. pringles123



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    • 14-04-2014
      17:00

    Hi everyone.
    I am doing The Great Gatsby for my critical essay and I am finding it really difficult to get my head around and find quotes that could be answered in a number of questions . Can anyone recommend a website or could send me some notes . Thank you

    Good luck on the 1st x

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  2. idontknow…



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    • 14-04-2014
      20:09

    The quote to do with the green light at the end of chapter 1 can be used in a lot of essays to do with Gatsby following his dream and how this represents the corrupt American dream etc.

    You’ll get a lot of good quotes from the turning point in chapter 7 as well if you have a quick look through it.

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  3. pringles123



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    • 15-04-2014
      18:09

    Absolutly fantastic!! Thank you so so much, by far the most helpful comment I’ve seen in any of the forums! What did you get in English? Good luck with any exams you have this year! Xx

    Posted from TSR Mobile

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  4. Pennyarcade



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    • 15-04-2014
      18:16

    ( Original post by -Neuro-)

    x

    I recognise that essay from the sqa exemplar

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  5. GoldenOne



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    • 15-04-2014
      18:50

    ( Original post by -Neuro-)

    Gatsby is a great book to study :awesome: See what I did there…..

    There’s a good selection of quotes on spark , snoop and cliff !

    The best way to study Gatsby though is to have made notes and a list of quotes (with lots of the not so famous quotes) throughout the year for each chapter I highlighted and annotated my copy of the book as well! Fitzgerald’s writing style is sometimes more like poetry than prose, there’s a lot of style and rhythm to create a poetic prose and so there’s often too much to write about This results in so many vivid an arresting images. He was inspired by romantic poets in particular Keats and he alludes to the poem “Ode to a Nightingale” in Gatsby! I’m going off topic

    What’s good with prose is to have is to memorise the famous big quotes then have loads of single words and short phrases to show the marker you know the text intimately.

    I’ve would have scanned up my notes for you but my friend has a conditional offer and needs to get at least a B and she had the same (terrible ) teacher as me last year so I gave them to her! There’s plenty of stuff online though and two films! I’ll have a look for any essays I have lying about if you want?

    Fooooond an essay! :gah:

    Hope this helps and the VERY best of luck for your English exam! It was definitely the one I was most nervous for! :hugs:

    My teacher showed me some of that essay online today at our extra Easter study school!!! It’s sooo helpful! I absolutely loved the book but I’m not great at writing about it unfortunately. Didn’t do it for the prelim but I intend on doing Gatsby for the final exam. I struggle to write about Gatsby as a character for some reason, so I’ve been advised to lean towards questions to do with themes and settings etc.

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  6. jamesg2



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    • 15-04-2014
      22:02

    I may be missing the point, but would anyone like to explain why this exemplar essay is so good. Unfortunately just because it is an exemplar, does not mean it is good.

    The marker informs us that paragraph 1 is a “strong opening.” However the writer contradicts himself in this first paragraph. On line 2 he says it is a simple text, then on the fourth last line says it is a complex novel. Although I assume the question is about the impact of setting on the novel, this opening paragraph which we are informed is “strong” is full of generalisations that could apply to other Fitzgerald novels. Not seeing the question, it is not clear the writer has properly addresses the question.

    Paragraph 2’s topic sentence informs us that one contribution of the setting is to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920’s. Now, from what I can see this paragraph is a listing of eight quotations linked by narrative. Not linked by analysis and not linked by evaluation. And this is his general technique throughout the essay.

    Paragraph 3 goes on to explain that these parties also reveal the decadence of the 1920’s. Decadence, I assume, is defined by sentence 2 which is about these people being driven by materialism and superficial values and are only concerned for themselves and their money. From what I can see, having made this statement the point is left hanging. It is certainly not elaborated on. In paragraph 2 there appear to be thirteen quotes which probably take up just under half the wordage of the paragraph. The one tick in that paragraph is not for the writers analysis ( of which there little if not none ) but for using a quote. At the end of this paragraph the writer comments that the upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down. There is a comment by the marker about the extravagant life styles of the well to do. There is no criticism about that final sentence which is quite outrageous and for which there is no support or explanation.

    Paragraph 4 opens with a sentence that makes no sense. “In addition to this ( which probably has something to do with the topic of paragraph 3 ) Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, invariably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters.” Characters through setting that provide better understanding of characters. That sounds interesting. Unlike the first three paragraphs the first half of this paragraph does attempt to analyse and delineate the two styles of East and West Egg and what that tells us about the characters. Although the writer returns to generalising towards the end it is a reasonable paragraph that has the potential to be quite a good paragraph.

    Paragraph 5 topic sentence informs us that the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration by displaying the sterility of society. It is an interesting topic sentence and I am not sure what it means or how one can find evidence within the novel to support it. It is interesting how this student believes he is analysing and arguing. Here is sentence 2. The “Valley of ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground,” a symbol of the upper classes destruction of the way that they abuse the “ash grey men” of this “desolate area of land.” All this pupil has done is link a series of quotations. And the marker actually ticked this.This linking quotation through narrative is continued through the remainder of this paragraph.

    He ends his essay by saying “Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.” This inflated use of expression is, my view, appalling. And the marker comments “This is excellent.”

    If this is an excellent essay, could someone explain to me why. I would fail this essay, so I am interested where I am going wrong.

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  7. Pennyarcade



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    • 15-04-2014
      22:52

    ( Original post by jamesg2)

    I may be missing the point, but would anyone like to explain why this exemplar essay is so good. Unfortunately just because it is an exemplar, does not mean it is good.

    The marker informs us that paragraph 1 is a “strong opening.” However the writer contradicts himself in this first paragraph. On line 2 he says it is a simple text, then on the fourth last line says it is a complex novel. Although I assume the question is about the impact of setting on the novel, this opening paragraph which we are informed is “strong” is full of generalisations that could apply to other Fitzgerald novels. Not seeing the question, it is not clear the writer has properly addresses the question.

    Paragraph 2’s topic sentence informs us that one contribution of the setting is to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920’s. Now, from what I can see this paragraph is a listing of eight quotations linked by narrative. Not linked by analysis and not linked by evaluation. And this is his general technique throughout the essay.

    Paragraph 3 goes on to explain that these parties also reveal the decadence of the 1920’s. Decadence, I assume, is defined by sentence 2 which is about these people being driven by materialism and superficial values and are only concerned for themselves and their money. From what I can see, having made this statement the point is left hanging. It is certainly not elaborated on. In paragraph 2 there appear to be thirteen quotes which probably take up just under half the wordage of the paragraph. The one tick in that paragraph is not for the writers analysis ( of which there little if not none ) but for using a quote. At the end of this paragraph the writer comments that the upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down. There is a comment by the marker about the extravagant life styles of the well to do. There is no criticism about that final sentence which is quite outrageous and for which there is no support or explanation.

    Paragraph 4 opens with a sentence that makes no sense. “In addition to this ( which probably has something to do with the topic of paragraph 3 ) Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, invariably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters.” Characters through setting that provide better understanding of characters. That sounds interesting. Unlike the first three paragraphs the first half of this paragraph does attempt to analyse and delineate the two styles of East and West Egg and what that tells us about the characters. Although the writer returns to generalising towards the end it is a reasonable paragraph that has the potential to be quite a good paragraph.

    Paragraph 5 topic sentence informs us that the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration by displaying the sterility of society. It is an interesting topic sentence and I am not sure what it means or how one can find evidence within the novel to support it. It is interesting how this student believes he is analysing and arguing. Here is sentence 2. The “Valley of ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground,” a symbol of the upper classes destruction of the way that they abuse the “ash grey men” of this “desolate area of land.” All this pupil has done is link a series of quotations. And the marker actually ticked this.This linking quotation through narrative is continued through the remainder of this paragraph.

    He ends his essay by saying “Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.” This inflated use of expression is, my view, appalling. And the marker comments “This is excellent.”

    If this is an excellent essay, could someone explain to me why. I would fail this essay, so I am interested where I am going wrong.

    This essay got 25/25 and the marker comments state that it was ‘outstanding’. I do see where you are coming from though, it doesnt look like it has loads of analysis.
    Here they are if you want to take a look: http://www.understandingstandards.org.u k/markers_ccc/files/Q4_Eng_H_CE_04_MR.pdf

    Last edited by Pennyarcade; 15-04-2014 at 22:56.

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  8. AspiringMedic8



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    • 15-04-2014
      23:02

    ( Original post by jamesg2)

    I may be missing the point, but would anyone like to explain why this exemplar essay is so good. Unfortunately just because it is an exemplar, does not mean it is good.

    The marker informs us that paragraph 1 is a “strong opening.” However the writer contradicts himself in this first paragraph. On line 2 he says it is a simple text, then on the fourth last line says it is a complex novel. Although I assume the question is about the impact of setting on the novel, this opening paragraph which we are informed is “strong” is full of generalisations that could apply to other Fitzgerald novels. Not seeing the question, it is not clear the writer has properly addresses the question.

    Paragraph 2’s topic sentence informs us that one contribution of the setting is to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920’s. Now, from what I can see this paragraph is a listing of eight quotations linked by narrative. Not linked by analysis and not linked by evaluation. And this is his general technique throughout the essay.

    Paragraph 3 goes on to explain that these parties also reveal the decadence of the 1920’s. Decadence, I assume, is defined by sentence 2 which is about these people being driven by materialism and superficial values and are only concerned for themselves and their money. From what I can see, having made this statement the point is left hanging. It is certainly not elaborated on. In paragraph 2 there appear to be thirteen quotes which probably take up just under half the wordage of the paragraph. The one tick in that paragraph is not for the writers analysis ( of which there little if not none ) but for using a quote. At the end of this paragraph the writer comments that the upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down. There is a comment by the marker about the extravagant life styles of the well to do. There is no criticism about that final sentence which is quite outrageous and for which there is no support or explanation.

    Paragraph 4 opens with a sentence that makes no sense. “In addition to this ( which probably has something to do with the topic of paragraph 3 ) Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, invariably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters.” Characters through setting that provide better understanding of characters. That sounds interesting. Unlike the first three paragraphs the first half of this paragraph does attempt to analyse and delineate the two styles of East and West Egg and what that tells us about the characters. Although the writer returns to generalising towards the end it is a reasonable paragraph that has the potential to be quite a good paragraph.

    Paragraph 5 topic sentence informs us that the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration by displaying the sterility of society. It is an interesting topic sentence and I am not sure what it means or how one can find evidence within the novel to support it. It is interesting how this student believes he is analysing and arguing. Here is sentence 2. The “Valley of ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground,” a symbol of the upper classes destruction of the way that they abuse the “ash grey men” of this “desolate area of land.” All this pupil has done is link a series of quotations. And the marker actually ticked this.This linking quotation through narrative is continued through the remainder of this paragraph.

    He ends his essay by saying “Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.” This inflated use of expression is, my view, appalling. And the marker comments “This is excellent.”

    If this is an excellent essay, could someone explain to me why. I would fail this essay, so I am interested where I am going wrong.

    25/25 is defined is “outstanding in almost every respect.” It’s a great essay.

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  9. andreadance



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    • 18-04-2014
      20:13

    does anyone have the question for this essay?

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  10. greenladybird



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    • 18-04-2014
      22:57

    ( Original post by andreadance)

    does anyone have the question for this essay?

    I’m assuming it’s from the 2013 paper so:
    6. Choose a novel in which a character is influenced by a particular location or setting. Explain how the character is influenced by the location or setting and discuss how this enhances your understanding of the text as a whole.

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  11. Pennyarcade



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    • 18-04-2014
      23:02

    ( Original post by andreadance)

    does anyone have the question for this essay?

    ( Original post by greenladybird)

    I’m assuming it’s from the 2013 paper so:
    6. Choose a novel in which a character is influenced by a particular location or setting. Explain how the character is influenced by the location or setting and discuss how this enhances your understanding of the text as a whole.

    The question is: (from the understanding standards)
    Choose a novel in which the writers use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the novel as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting then discuss fully why it has such significance.

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  12. jamesg2



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    • 19-04-2014
      05:34

    ( Original post by Pennyarcade)

    The question is: (from the understanding standards)
    Choose a novel in which the writers use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the novel as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting then discuss fully why it has such significance.

    Would a formal question be as wooly as that? I am asking, not criticising. greenladybird’s suggestion of what the question might be, suggests that whatever the question might be, it would have a stricter form than your suggestion of the question’s composition.

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  13. Pennyarcade



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    • 19-04-2014
      10:24

    ( Original post by jamesg2)

    Would a formal question be as wooly as that? I am asking, not criticising. greenladybird’s suggestion of what the question might be, suggests that whatever the question might be, it would have a stricter form than your suggestion of the question’s composition.

    I see what you mean, but its straight from the 04 paper

    Posted from TSR Mobile

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  14. jackamakka



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    • 19-04-2014
      12:32

    I believe the same question also cropped up in 2009 Higher also

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  15. jamesg2



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    • 19-04-2014
      14:44

    ( Original post by jackamakka)

    I believe the same question also cropped up in 2009 Higher also

    Sorry to contradict you but the 2004 and 2009 questions, though similar, are actually different.

    2004:-
    Choose a novel or short story in which the writer’s use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the text as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting and then discuss fully why it has such significance.

    2009:-
    Choose a novel in which the setting in time and/or place is a significant feature.
    Show how the writer’s use of setting contributes to your understanding of character and theme.

    2004 Complete Exemplar Essay:-
    When I first commented on this essay, I did so from the YouTube version. The answer actually appeared shorter in that version. Seeing the complete answer in a text form creates a different impression. In 2004 the marking criteria was different. Category 1 was marked from 20 – 25. I may still be reluctant to award 25 but 23-24 I would not argue with. Because of the change in marking criteria since 2004, under todays criteria the essay may not get 25 – but still it might because the marker has bear in mind that the response was written under exam conditions. The candidate has answered part 2 “why does the setting have such a significance” but it is included within the various sections. Evaluation is also there, though sometimes implied. Unlike the examiner I am not happy with blending of quotation and narrative analysis. However seeing the answer in this form it is possible to understand why another marker was more impressed with it.

    2004 Qn 6
    Choose a novel or short story in which the writer’s use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the text as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting and then discuss fully why it has such significance.

    Exemplar essay:-

    “The Great Gatsby” by F, Scott Fitzgerald is an intricately patterned, yet simple novel set on the East coast of America during the roaring twenties. Fitzgerald very effectively uses setting to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920s, the decadence of the upper classes, characters in the novel and the sterility of society. The setting in this complex novel plays a significant part in the reader’s appreciation of the novel, as it develops and highlights issues throughout the text as a whole.

    Firstly, setting is used to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920s. Through Gatsby’s parties we are shown the glitz and the glamour of this period. It is a “many-coloured, many keyed commotion”. His parties are likened to a “menagerie”, where fun is had by all and anything goes. Here, they “conduct themselves according to the rules of behaviour associated with amusement parks”. The war is over and they are experiencing a period of unprecedented wealth and investment in America. This decade of “crazy Sundays”, an issue in the novel, can be far greater appreciated by its being set in context at Gatsby’s parties, where there are excited “whisperings”, “champagne and stars”. It is a tempting image in beautiful “blue gardens” and the romance and excitement of their situation resonates throughout the book.

    However, there is a dark side to all the partying at Gatsby’s parties, where the setting reveals the decadence of the upper classes. They are driven by materialism and superficial values, concerned only by themselves and their money. After the parties, servants are left to “repair the ravages of the night before”, as the upper classes have created a trail of destruction. While some cannot afford their lifestyles they ship in “five crates of oranges and lemons from a fruiterer in New York” – exotic extravagance in the extreme. The next day they leave as “pulpless halves” – a symbol of their superficial, empty lives, decay and destruction. It is a grotesque image, which contributes to our appreciation of the gravity of their actions. This decadence is something beyond excitement and beauty – it is dangerous. They are “careless people”, concerned only by their “white palaces” that “glitter” and “excitement”. Even the music which sets the scene (traditionally music is associated with culture and soul), is “yellow cocktail music” – yet another symbol of their lust for “gold”. They are depicted “weeping”, “having fights” and roaring drunk”. It is a setting of “violent confusion”. The upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down.

    In addition to this, Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, inevitably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters and as a result the text as a whole. The “great” Gatsby, in fact is not “Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island”, but “James Gatz of North Dakota”. This is highlightedby his house, which is a “factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy” and “spanking new” like both his money and his persona. The Buchanans, on the other hand, dwell in the very “fashionable” East Egg, a microcosm of East America in contrast with West Egg and West America. Their house is “red and white” – red “like new money from the mint” and “white” symbolising the white supremacy that Tom, from the self-proclaimed “dominant race” stands for. It is a “Georgian Colonial mansion” showing that unlike Gatsby, their money is not “new” and they come from a family with a great, long history. Above all, setting is used to reveal character in that it separates Nick, the narrated who is blessed with “fundamental decencies”, and the “gorgeous” Gatsby who both live in West Egg from the values and inhabitants of East Egg – the Buchanans, who “smashed up things and creatures”. By physically separating them, the author significantly affects out appreciation of the text as a whole by emphasising their separation on a moral scale. As a result out sympathy inevitably lies with the inhabitants of West Egg and we are encouraged to criticise the decadence of East Egg.

    Perhaps the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration, by displaying the sterility of society. The “Valley of Ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground”, a symbol of the upperclasses destruction and the way that they abuse the “ash-grey men” of this “desolate area of land”. People like the Buchanans expect others to “Clean up their mess” and as result of their materialism, decadence and moral ambiguity, they are creating a sterile, soulless society. The “Valley of Ashes” is an even more disturbing symbol of moral degeneration, as it is described in terms of “farms” and “grotesque gardens”. These twisted metaphors help us to appreciate that the problem is “growing” – “civilisation’s going to pieces” and the sterile society is expanding. The view is bleak.

    The use of setting in “The Great Gatsby” is essential to the success of such a subtle novel. Fitzgerald employs setting to help us better appreciate the significance of the mood in the 1920s, they key issues of the decadence of the upper classes, the depth and symbolism of the main characters and the main theme – moral degeneration. Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.

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The Great Gatsby – Critical Essay Help

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    • 14-04-2014
      17:00

    Hi everyone.
    I am doing The Great Gatsby for my critical essay and I am finding it really difficult to get my head around and find quotes that could be answered in a number of questions . Can anyone recommend a website or could send me some notes . Thank you

    Good luck on the 1st x

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    • 14-04-2014
      20:09

    The quote to do with the green light at the end of chapter 1 can be used in a lot of essays to do with Gatsby following his dream and how this represents the corrupt American dream etc.

    You’ll get a lot of good quotes from the turning point in chapter 7 as well if you have a quick look through it.

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  3. pringles123



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    • 15-04-2014
      18:09

    Absolutly fantastic!! Thank you so so much, by far the most helpful comment I’ve seen in any of the forums! What did you get in English? Good luck with any exams you have this year! Xx

    Posted from TSR Mobile

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    • 15-04-2014
      18:16

    ( Original post by -Neuro-)

    x

    I recognise that essay from the sqa exemplar

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    • 15-04-2014
      18:50

    ( Original post by -Neuro-)

    Gatsby is a great book to study :awesome: See what I did there…..

    There’s a good selection of quotes on spark , snoop and cliff !

    The best way to study Gatsby though is to have made notes and a list of quotes (with lots of the not so famous quotes) throughout the year for each chapter I highlighted and annotated my copy of the book as well! Fitzgerald’s writing style is sometimes more like poetry than prose, there’s a lot of style and rhythm to create a poetic prose and so there’s often too much to write about This results in so many vivid an arresting images. He was inspired by romantic poets in particular Keats and he alludes to the poem “Ode to a Nightingale” in Gatsby! I’m going off topic

    What’s good with prose is to have is to memorise the famous big quotes then have loads of single words and short phrases to show the marker you know the text intimately.

    I’ve would have scanned up my notes for you but my friend has a conditional offer and needs to get at least a B and she had the same (terrible ) teacher as me last year so I gave them to her! There’s plenty of stuff online though and two films! I’ll have a look for any essays I have lying about if you want?

    Fooooond an essay! :gah:

    Hope this helps and the VERY best of luck for your English exam! It was definitely the one I was most nervous for! :hugs:

    My teacher showed me some of that essay online today at our extra Easter study school!!! It’s sooo helpful! I absolutely loved the book but I’m not great at writing about it unfortunately. Didn’t do it for the prelim but I intend on doing Gatsby for the final exam. I struggle to write about Gatsby as a character for some reason, so I’ve been advised to lean towards questions to do with themes and settings etc.

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  6. jamesg2



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    • 15-04-2014
      22:02

    I may be missing the point, but would anyone like to explain why this exemplar essay is so good. Unfortunately just because it is an exemplar, does not mean it is good.

    The marker informs us that paragraph 1 is a “strong opening.” However the writer contradicts himself in this first paragraph. On line 2 he says it is a simple text, then on the fourth last line says it is a complex novel. Although I assume the question is about the impact of setting on the novel, this opening paragraph which we are informed is “strong” is full of generalisations that could apply to other Fitzgerald novels. Not seeing the question, it is not clear the writer has properly addresses the question.

    Paragraph 2’s topic sentence informs us that one contribution of the setting is to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920’s. Now, from what I can see this paragraph is a listing of eight quotations linked by narrative. Not linked by analysis and not linked by evaluation. And this is his general technique throughout the essay.

    Paragraph 3 goes on to explain that these parties also reveal the decadence of the 1920’s. Decadence, I assume, is defined by sentence 2 which is about these people being driven by materialism and superficial values and are only concerned for themselves and their money. From what I can see, having made this statement the point is left hanging. It is certainly not elaborated on. In paragraph 2 there appear to be thirteen quotes which probably take up just under half the wordage of the paragraph. The one tick in that paragraph is not for the writers analysis ( of which there little if not none ) but for using a quote. At the end of this paragraph the writer comments that the upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down. There is a comment by the marker about the extravagant life styles of the well to do. There is no criticism about that final sentence which is quite outrageous and for which there is no support or explanation.

    Paragraph 4 opens with a sentence that makes no sense. “In addition to this ( which probably has something to do with the topic of paragraph 3 ) Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, invariably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters.” Characters through setting that provide better understanding of characters. That sounds interesting. Unlike the first three paragraphs the first half of this paragraph does attempt to analyse and delineate the two styles of East and West Egg and what that tells us about the characters. Although the writer returns to generalising towards the end it is a reasonable paragraph that has the potential to be quite a good paragraph.

    Paragraph 5 topic sentence informs us that the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration by displaying the sterility of society. It is an interesting topic sentence and I am not sure what it means or how one can find evidence within the novel to support it. It is interesting how this student believes he is analysing and arguing. Here is sentence 2. The “Valley of ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground,” a symbol of the upper classes destruction of the way that they abuse the “ash grey men” of this “desolate area of land.” All this pupil has done is link a series of quotations. And the marker actually ticked this.This linking quotation through narrative is continued through the remainder of this paragraph.

    He ends his essay by saying “Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.” This inflated use of expression is, my view, appalling. And the marker comments “This is excellent.”

    If this is an excellent essay, could someone explain to me why. I would fail this essay, so I am interested where I am going wrong.

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  7. Pennyarcade



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    • 15-04-2014
      22:52

    ( Original post by jamesg2)

    I may be missing the point, but would anyone like to explain why this exemplar essay is so good. Unfortunately just because it is an exemplar, does not mean it is good.

    The marker informs us that paragraph 1 is a “strong opening.” However the writer contradicts himself in this first paragraph. On line 2 he says it is a simple text, then on the fourth last line says it is a complex novel. Although I assume the question is about the impact of setting on the novel, this opening paragraph which we are informed is “strong” is full of generalisations that could apply to other Fitzgerald novels. Not seeing the question, it is not clear the writer has properly addresses the question.

    Paragraph 2’s topic sentence informs us that one contribution of the setting is to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920’s. Now, from what I can see this paragraph is a listing of eight quotations linked by narrative. Not linked by analysis and not linked by evaluation. And this is his general technique throughout the essay.

    Paragraph 3 goes on to explain that these parties also reveal the decadence of the 1920’s. Decadence, I assume, is defined by sentence 2 which is about these people being driven by materialism and superficial values and are only concerned for themselves and their money. From what I can see, having made this statement the point is left hanging. It is certainly not elaborated on. In paragraph 2 there appear to be thirteen quotes which probably take up just under half the wordage of the paragraph. The one tick in that paragraph is not for the writers analysis ( of which there little if not none ) but for using a quote. At the end of this paragraph the writer comments that the upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down. There is a comment by the marker about the extravagant life styles of the well to do. There is no criticism about that final sentence which is quite outrageous and for which there is no support or explanation.

    Paragraph 4 opens with a sentence that makes no sense. “In addition to this ( which probably has something to do with the topic of paragraph 3 ) Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, invariably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters.” Characters through setting that provide better understanding of characters. That sounds interesting. Unlike the first three paragraphs the first half of this paragraph does attempt to analyse and delineate the two styles of East and West Egg and what that tells us about the characters. Although the writer returns to generalising towards the end it is a reasonable paragraph that has the potential to be quite a good paragraph.

    Paragraph 5 topic sentence informs us that the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration by displaying the sterility of society. It is an interesting topic sentence and I am not sure what it means or how one can find evidence within the novel to support it. It is interesting how this student believes he is analysing and arguing. Here is sentence 2. The “Valley of ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground,” a symbol of the upper classes destruction of the way that they abuse the “ash grey men” of this “desolate area of land.” All this pupil has done is link a series of quotations. And the marker actually ticked this.This linking quotation through narrative is continued through the remainder of this paragraph.

    He ends his essay by saying “Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.” This inflated use of expression is, my view, appalling. And the marker comments “This is excellent.”

    If this is an excellent essay, could someone explain to me why. I would fail this essay, so I am interested where I am going wrong.

    This essay got 25/25 and the marker comments state that it was ‘outstanding’. I do see where you are coming from though, it doesnt look like it has loads of analysis.
    Here they are if you want to take a look: http://www.understandingstandards.org.u k/markers_ccc/files/Q4_Eng_H_CE_04_MR.pdf

    Last edited by Pennyarcade; 15-04-2014 at 22:56.

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  8. AspiringMedic8



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    • 15-04-2014
      23:02

    ( Original post by jamesg2)

    I may be missing the point, but would anyone like to explain why this exemplar essay is so good. Unfortunately just because it is an exemplar, does not mean it is good.

    The marker informs us that paragraph 1 is a “strong opening.” However the writer contradicts himself in this first paragraph. On line 2 he says it is a simple text, then on the fourth last line says it is a complex novel. Although I assume the question is about the impact of setting on the novel, this opening paragraph which we are informed is “strong” is full of generalisations that could apply to other Fitzgerald novels. Not seeing the question, it is not clear the writer has properly addresses the question.

    Paragraph 2’s topic sentence informs us that one contribution of the setting is to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920’s. Now, from what I can see this paragraph is a listing of eight quotations linked by narrative. Not linked by analysis and not linked by evaluation. And this is his general technique throughout the essay.

    Paragraph 3 goes on to explain that these parties also reveal the decadence of the 1920’s. Decadence, I assume, is defined by sentence 2 which is about these people being driven by materialism and superficial values and are only concerned for themselves and their money. From what I can see, having made this statement the point is left hanging. It is certainly not elaborated on. In paragraph 2 there appear to be thirteen quotes which probably take up just under half the wordage of the paragraph. The one tick in that paragraph is not for the writers analysis ( of which there little if not none ) but for using a quote. At the end of this paragraph the writer comments that the upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down. There is a comment by the marker about the extravagant life styles of the well to do. There is no criticism about that final sentence which is quite outrageous and for which there is no support or explanation.

    Paragraph 4 opens with a sentence that makes no sense. “In addition to this ( which probably has something to do with the topic of paragraph 3 ) Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, invariably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters.” Characters through setting that provide better understanding of characters. That sounds interesting. Unlike the first three paragraphs the first half of this paragraph does attempt to analyse and delineate the two styles of East and West Egg and what that tells us about the characters. Although the writer returns to generalising towards the end it is a reasonable paragraph that has the potential to be quite a good paragraph.

    Paragraph 5 topic sentence informs us that the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration by displaying the sterility of society. It is an interesting topic sentence and I am not sure what it means or how one can find evidence within the novel to support it. It is interesting how this student believes he is analysing and arguing. Here is sentence 2. The “Valley of ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground,” a symbol of the upper classes destruction of the way that they abuse the “ash grey men” of this “desolate area of land.” All this pupil has done is link a series of quotations. And the marker actually ticked this.This linking quotation through narrative is continued through the remainder of this paragraph.

    He ends his essay by saying “Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.” This inflated use of expression is, my view, appalling. And the marker comments “This is excellent.”

    If this is an excellent essay, could someone explain to me why. I would fail this essay, so I am interested where I am going wrong.

    25/25 is defined is “outstanding in almost every respect.” It’s a great essay.

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    • 18-04-2014
      20:13

    does anyone have the question for this essay?

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    • 18-04-2014
      22:57

    ( Original post by andreadance)

    does anyone have the question for this essay?

    I’m assuming it’s from the 2013 paper so:
    6. Choose a novel in which a character is influenced by a particular location or setting. Explain how the character is influenced by the location or setting and discuss how this enhances your understanding of the text as a whole.

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    • 18-04-2014
      23:02

    ( Original post by andreadance)

    does anyone have the question for this essay?

    ( Original post by greenladybird)

    I’m assuming it’s from the 2013 paper so:
    6. Choose a novel in which a character is influenced by a particular location or setting. Explain how the character is influenced by the location or setting and discuss how this enhances your understanding of the text as a whole.

    The question is: (from the understanding standards)
    Choose a novel in which the writers use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the novel as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting then discuss fully why it has such significance.

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    • 19-04-2014
      05:34

    ( Original post by Pennyarcade)

    The question is: (from the understanding standards)
    Choose a novel in which the writers use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the novel as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting then discuss fully why it has such significance.

    Would a formal question be as wooly as that? I am asking, not criticising. greenladybird’s suggestion of what the question might be, suggests that whatever the question might be, it would have a stricter form than your suggestion of the question’s composition.

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    • 19-04-2014
      10:24

    ( Original post by jamesg2)

    Would a formal question be as wooly as that? I am asking, not criticising. greenladybird’s suggestion of what the question might be, suggests that whatever the question might be, it would have a stricter form than your suggestion of the question’s composition.

    I see what you mean, but its straight from the 04 paper

    Posted from TSR Mobile

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    • 19-04-2014
      12:32

    I believe the same question also cropped up in 2009 Higher also

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    • 19-04-2014
      14:44

    ( Original post by jackamakka)

    I believe the same question also cropped up in 2009 Higher also

    Sorry to contradict you but the 2004 and 2009 questions, though similar, are actually different.

    2004:-
    Choose a novel or short story in which the writer’s use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the text as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting and then discuss fully why it has such significance.

    2009:-
    Choose a novel in which the setting in time and/or place is a significant feature.
    Show how the writer’s use of setting contributes to your understanding of character and theme.

    2004 Complete Exemplar Essay:-
    When I first commented on this essay, I did so from the YouTube version. The answer actually appeared shorter in that version. Seeing the complete answer in a text form creates a different impression. In 2004 the marking criteria was different. Category 1 was marked from 20 – 25. I may still be reluctant to award 25 but 23-24 I would not argue with. Because of the change in marking criteria since 2004, under todays criteria the essay may not get 25 – but still it might because the marker has bear in mind that the response was written under exam conditions. The candidate has answered part 2 “why does the setting have such a significance” but it is included within the various sections. Evaluation is also there, though sometimes implied. Unlike the examiner I am not happy with blending of quotation and narrative analysis. However seeing the answer in this form it is possible to understand why another marker was more impressed with it.

    2004 Qn 6
    Choose a novel or short story in which the writer’s use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the text as a whole.
    Give the relevant details of the setting and then discuss fully why it has such significance.

    Exemplar essay:-

    “The Great Gatsby” by F, Scott Fitzgerald is an intricately patterned, yet simple novel set on the East coast of America during the roaring twenties. Fitzgerald very effectively uses setting to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920s, the decadence of the upper classes, characters in the novel and the sterility of society. The setting in this complex novel plays a significant part in the reader’s appreciation of the novel, as it develops and highlights issues throughout the text as a whole.

    Firstly, setting is used to portray the excitement and hysteria of the 1920s. Through Gatsby’s parties we are shown the glitz and the glamour of this period. It is a “many-coloured, many keyed commotion”. His parties are likened to a “menagerie”, where fun is had by all and anything goes. Here, they “conduct themselves according to the rules of behaviour associated with amusement parks”. The war is over and they are experiencing a period of unprecedented wealth and investment in America. This decade of “crazy Sundays”, an issue in the novel, can be far greater appreciated by its being set in context at Gatsby’s parties, where there are excited “whisperings”, “champagne and stars”. It is a tempting image in beautiful “blue gardens” and the romance and excitement of their situation resonates throughout the book.

    However, there is a dark side to all the partying at Gatsby’s parties, where the setting reveals the decadence of the upper classes. They are driven by materialism and superficial values, concerned only by themselves and their money. After the parties, servants are left to “repair the ravages of the night before”, as the upper classes have created a trail of destruction. While some cannot afford their lifestyles they ship in “five crates of oranges and lemons from a fruiterer in New York” – exotic extravagance in the extreme. The next day they leave as “pulpless halves” – a symbol of their superficial, empty lives, decay and destruction. It is a grotesque image, which contributes to our appreciation of the gravity of their actions. This decadence is something beyond excitement and beauty – it is dangerous. They are “careless people”, concerned only by their “white palaces” that “glitter” and “excitement”. Even the music which sets the scene (traditionally music is associated with culture and soul), is “yellow cocktail music” – yet another symbol of their lust for “gold”. They are depicted “weeping”, “having fights” and roaring drunk”. It is a setting of “violent confusion”. The upper classes are out of control and there is no sign of them calming down.

    In addition to this, Fitzgerald reveals characters through setting, inevitably providing us with a greater understanding of the characters and as a result the text as a whole. The “great” Gatsby, in fact is not “Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island”, but “James Gatz of North Dakota”. This is highlightedby his house, which is a “factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy” and “spanking new” like both his money and his persona. The Buchanans, on the other hand, dwell in the very “fashionable” East Egg, a microcosm of East America in contrast with West Egg and West America. Their house is “red and white” – red “like new money from the mint” and “white” symbolising the white supremacy that Tom, from the self-proclaimed “dominant race” stands for. It is a “Georgian Colonial mansion” showing that unlike Gatsby, their money is not “new” and they come from a family with a great, long history. Above all, setting is used to reveal character in that it separates Nick, the narrated who is blessed with “fundamental decencies”, and the “gorgeous” Gatsby who both live in West Egg from the values and inhabitants of East Egg – the Buchanans, who “smashed up things and creatures”. By physically separating them, the author significantly affects out appreciation of the text as a whole by emphasising their separation on a moral scale. As a result out sympathy inevitably lies with the inhabitants of West Egg and we are encouraged to criticise the decadence of East Egg.

    Perhaps the greatest significance of the setting is to portray the theme of moral degeneration, by displaying the sterility of society. The “Valley of Ashes” is a “solemn dumping ground”, a symbol of the upperclasses destruction and the way that they abuse the “ash-grey men” of this “desolate area of land”. People like the Buchanans expect others to “Clean up their mess” and as result of their materialism, decadence and moral ambiguity, they are creating a sterile, soulless society. The “Valley of Ashes” is an even more disturbing symbol of moral degeneration, as it is described in terms of “farms” and “grotesque gardens”. These twisted metaphors help us to appreciate that the problem is “growing” – “civilisation’s going to pieces” and the sterile society is expanding. The view is bleak.

    The use of setting in “The Great Gatsby” is essential to the success of such a subtle novel. Fitzgerald employs setting to help us better appreciate the significance of the mood in the 1920s, they key issues of the decadence of the upper classes, the depth and symbolism of the main characters and the main theme – moral degeneration. Through this combination of ideas, joined together by setting, a well-crafted, thought-provoking novel is born.

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    Bryant Mangum, “The Great Gatsby,”
    Encyclopedia of the Novel
    , ed. Paul Schellinger, London and Chicago:
    Fitzroy-Dearborn, 1998, pp. 514-515.  Reprinted with permission of
    Fitzroy-Dearborn
    Publishers .



    514

    THE GREAT GATSBY, by F. Scott
    Fitzgerald, 1925


     

           
    In retrospect it is perhaps not surprising that contemporary reviewers
    mainly missed the mark in their appraisals of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece,
    The
    Great Gatsby
    . His first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920),
    a novel of growth, was thinly disguised autobiography written in the third-person,
    a viewpoint that numerous reviewers saw as flawed. The Beautiful and
    Damned
    (1922) was marred by a self-conscious preoccupation with the
    deterministic philosophy that undergirds American literary naturalism.
    By 1925 he was known primarily as the historian of the Jazz Age (which
    he named) and chronicler in slick American weeklies and monthlies of the
    American flapper (which, in fiction, he invented). His best artistic efforts
    had appeared in middlebrow, mass-circulation magazines like The Saturday
    Evening Post
    or had been buried in H.L Mencken’s sophisticated but
    low-circulation Smart Set before their appearance in two slightly
    publicized collections with flashy titles, Flappers and Philosophers(1920)
    and Tales of the Jazz Age (1922).


           
    Critics and reviewers were understandably caught off-guard when Fitzgerald
    published at the height of the Roaring Twenties a novel which, after its
    apotheosis (circa 1950), would, not infrequently, be cited as the Great
    American Novel. Typical of the early reviews of The Great Gatsby
    was the first, whose spirit is caught in its headline: “F. SCOTT FITZGERALD’S
    LATEST DUD.” Even Mencken, who noted some of the book’s redeeming qualities,
    saw it finally as “a glorified anecdote.” In the minority was T.S. Eliot,
    who was deeply moved by the novel and hailed it as “the first step American
    fiction has taken since Henry James,” an opinion that has now been echoed
    and elaborated upon in scores of books and more than a hundred journal
    articles dealing with The Great Gatsby.


           
    Fitzgerald’s ambitious goal as he approached the composition of The
    Great Gatsb
    y was to “write something new–something extraordinary
    and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned.” And it is indeed largely
    because of his concern with matters of form aimed at simplicity and intricacy
    of pattern that the novel succeeds on so many levels: the simplicity, or
    apparent simplicity, of Nick Carraway’s first-person viewpoint, allows
    the reader, on the one hand, to see how the narrative is being constructed
    and, on the other, to participate in Nick’s sense of discovery as the separate
    strands of the narrative take on meaning at various levels of abstraction
    in such a way that they seem, both to Nick and to the reader, to have been
    inseparably linked from the beginning. There was, of course, nothing new
    about first-person narration in the 1920’s. It had a long history in the
    English novel dating back to the mid-18th century. In America, two distinguished
    first-person narratives, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and Mark Twain’s
    The
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    , preceded The Great Gatsby, as
    did scores of first-person narratives by Edgar Allan Poe. But Fitzgerald,
    who was reading and studying Joseph Conrad during the composition of The
    Great Gatsby
    , was interested in exploring subtle uses of narrative
    viewpoint. On the novel’s most superficial level, that of Jay Gatsby’s
    all-consuming love and pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, Nick, in service of Fitzgerald’s
    goal of simplicity, becomes a logical choice as narrator. His physical
    proximity to the main characters and his trustworthiness situate him ideally
    to serve as a kind of Jamesian confidant on several fronts, one who can,
    in fact, know details of the story from many points of view and observe
    much of the action firsthand.


           
    Obviously, the creation of a reliable narrator of the Gatsby-Daisy story
    at the heart of The Great Gatsby was central in Fitzgerald’s achieving
    verisimilitude. However, the simple love story was merely the foundation
    for a narrative structure that would accommodate Fitzgerald’s ideas about
    irreconcilable contradictions within the American Dream and ultimately
    about the ideal quest itself. Young Jay Gatsby, through the discipline
    of Benjamin Franklin-like charts and schedules, has prepared himself to
    receive all that America has to offer and believes naively that he can
    have the embodiment of it, the wealthy Louisville debutante Daisy Fay,
    the only “nice” girl he has ever known, if he can but find the currency
    to buy his way into her life. It is Nick, the middle-class everyman without
    particular allegiance to either the privileged or working class, who has
    enough objectivity to comprehend the awful irony that Gatsby’s dream has
    been futile from the beginning: he will never be accepted into the world
    of old money that Daisy could never leave. At this level the love story
    approaches allegory, and because Nick, like all of the main characters
    in the novel, is a Westerner, he is credible as narrator of the allegory,
    which he calls “a story of the West, after all.” He knows about the infinite
    hope of the frontier spirit, and he also has witnessed the corruption of
    the American promise of equality for all.


           
    On the second level, therefore, Fitzgerald transcends the novel of Jazz-Age,
    bull-market manners that it could have been in the hands of a less ambitious
    craftsman, and ascends to the level of the great 19th century French novelists,
    who, in Lionel Trilling’s words “take the given moment as a moral fact.”
    But beyond this, Nick’s narrative must carry the burden of the novel’s
    more abstract concern with idealism in the real world. Gatsby “sprang from
    his Platonic conception of himself.” He creates “the Great Gatsby” from
    the raw material of his early self, James Gatz, and from a boundless imagination,
    an embodied spirit capable of anything it chooses to do. But when, at last,
    Gatsby kissed Daisy and “forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable
    breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.” The ideal
    world, in Gatsby’s case, shatters in the face of the real one. It has,
    of course, happened before with Dutch sailors who “for a transitory and
    enchanted moment” contemplated the “fresh green breast of the new world.”
    And, as Nick knows, it will happen as long as there is a human spirit to
    contemplate mystery.


           
    The intricate weaving of the various stories within The Great Gatsby
    is accomplished through a complex symbolic substructure of the narrative.
    The green light, which carries meaning at every level of the story–as
    Gatsby’s go-ahead sign, as money, as the “green breast of the new world,”
    as springtime–is strategically placed in chapters one, five, and nine.
    The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg “brood on over the solemn dumping ground,” which
    is the wasteland that America has become, and their empty gaze is there
    at crucial moments such as that of Tom’s visit to his mistress in the Valley
    of Ashes and before and after her death, a reminder that God has been replaced
    by fading signs of American materialism. The sustained good driver/bad
    driver


     

    515

    metaphor, through which Fitzgerald hints
    at standards of morality and immorality, is evident at virtually every
    turn of the novel: Daisy runs over Myrtle and will not stop to accept responsibility;
    Jordan Baker (whose name combines two brands of automobile from the 1920’s)
    wears her careless driving as a badge of honor; Owl Eyes, the drunken philosopher
    in Gatsby’s library who shows up at his funeral to informally eulogize
    him as “the poor son of a bitch,” is involved in an accident leaving Gatsby’s
    party. With these symbols and motifs, Fitzgerald imparted, in the words
    of his editor, Maxwell Perkins, “a sort of sense of eternity.”


           
    It is difficult to assess the enormous influence of The Great Gatsby.
    John O’Hara and J.D. Salinger are two of many American authors who have
    proclaimed Fitzgerald’s brilliance, and Salinger’s first-person narrative,
    The
    Catcher in the Rye
    , shares thematic and formal concerns with
    The
    Great Gatsby
    . However, as has been noted, Fitzgerald’s is “a fiction
    that is difficult to imitate but from which much can be learned.” While
    The
    Great Gatsby
    undoubtedly advanced the novel form in the tradition of
    Henry James, as Eliot maintained, its primarily legacy is perhaps its affirmation
    of Fitzgerald’s hope that in the age of great experimentation which Modernism
    was, the traditional novel, guided by simplicity and used with care, could
    still contain, in his words, “something new–something extraordinary
    and beautiful.”

    Bryant Mangum

    Virginia Commonwealth University

     

     

    [bibliographical information modified
    from original]


    Further Reading

    Bruccoli, Matthew J., Some Sort
    of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald
    , New York: Harcourt,
    Brace, Jovanovich, 1981


    Eble, Kenneth, F. Scott Fitzgerald,
    New York: Twayne, 1963


    Lehan, Richard D., F. Scott Fitzgerald’s
    Craft of Fiction
    , Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1966


    Miller, James E., Jr., F. Scott
    Fitzgerald: His Art and Technique
    , New York: New York University Press,
    1966


    Mizener, Arthur, ed., F. Scott
    Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays
    , Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
    Prentice-Hall, 1963.


    Sklar, Robert, F. Scott Fitzgerald:
    The Last Laocoon
    , New York: Oxford University Press, 1967


    Stern, Milton R., The Golden
    Moment: The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald
    , Urbana: University of Illinois
    Press, 1970

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