Write an analytical essay about The Great Gatsby that makes a claim and supports your position with evidence from the text.

Published by Colleen Ness

Jun 3, 2021


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Write an analytical essay about The Great Gatsby that makes a claim and supports your position with evidence from the text.
❖ You will need to state a claim (about the deeper meaning of the text) and collect textual evidence to support that position. You will follow steps to write a compelling claim paragraph and different types of body paragraphs that support the stated position.
❖ You will write insightful conclusions that come from re-reading
❖ You will revise to make choices about how best to support their position. You will edit your work to be sure that you comply with the conventions of literary analysis essay.
Your name
My name
Date (today’s date is fine for now)
INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH: Introduce the text (Gatsby) and your claim.
1. Find a way to hook the reader (1-2 sentences)
a. Ask a thought provoking question (that relates to your claim) and then answer it
i. Ex: Have you ever fallen in love? I have and… “blah blah blah…”
b. “draw” a scene from the book (that relates to your claim)
i. Ex: You’re driving along a dark highway through a grey and depressing landscape. Suddenly, the bright lights of a car repair shop appear, nearly blinding you. Your car screeches to a halt and you see the broken body of a woman’s corpse in the road, police officers surrounding her. (if you were doing something with Myrtle or even Daisy, idk)
c. Compare the 1920s/Gatsby and now
i. Ex: Unlike the 21st century, society in the 1920s was highly divided along class lines…
d. quote song lyrics/famous quotes and then explain
i. Ex: The artist Rihanna once sang “We found love in a hopeless place;” like these lyrics, Daisy and Gatsby do find love in the novel….blah blah blah
e. Other ideas?
2. Plot Summary – Give a brief review of the most significant events in the story that are relevant to your claim. (no more than 3 sentences)
a. Ex: “In The Great Gatsby, the protagonist Nick…” OR “in the book, the character….” etc
3. Claim! Your claim is the arguable meaning (theme/lesson) of the story and your evidence (literary device/element) is how you will prove the claim. (1-2 sentences)
a. Copy and paste from Step #5 in the Paper Prep assignment
LITERARY ELEMENT PARAGRAPH: Identify a key writing choice by the author
1. Topic sentence: identify the literary element choice that matches your claim. (1 sentence)
a. E.g. this is where you identify your first instance of characterization/motif/symbol/etc.
i. Ex: “one way that love is shown to be toxic is when…” or “Myrtle is one character that shows readers that…”
2. Choose the BEST EVIDENCE from the text that supports your claim:
a. No more than 2-3 sentences of quote for this one
i. Make sure to put the pg. # in parentheses after.
3. Commentary: (3-4 sentences)
a. Identifies what the quote/passage demonstrates or shows us about the character/symbol/motif/etc
b. Explains how it supports your theme.
4. Conclusion sentence: explain how/why Fitzgerald made this choice. (1 sentence)
CONNECTED EXAMPLES PARAGRAPH: Connect 2-3 events from across the text that connect to support the claim. Look for moments that show how the characters change/ story shifts and you can see how the theme is developed throughout the text.
1. Topic sentence: identify another literary element, character, or aspect of your theme to discuss.
2. Identify/explain the relationship of the examples (compare/contrast, cause/effect). Use transition words to connect the examples. (>1 sentence)
3. Use 2-3 quotes or paraphrased examples from the text (make sure to have pg #s either way)
a. Briefly summarize the context for each moment in the sequence of the story (1 sentence each = 2-3 sentences) before the quote
b. For each one, give brief commentary as to what that example shows readers about your theme.
4. Conclusion sentence: Explain (interpret) how the line(s) connect to each other and support the claim. (1-2 sentences)
Possible Outline (can use it; don’t have to)
1. Topic Sentence: identify what we’re tracking (characterization, events/plot, motif, symbol, etc)
2. Explain the relationship of the examples
a. Ex:“The motif of weather through the book tracks the mood of each scene, complimenting the tensions between characters” OR “Daisy’s characterization throughout the book evolves from a tragic victim of a poor marriage to a heartless murderer who lets her lover take the blame for her crimes.”
3. Context for quote 1
4. Quote 1
5. Commentary
6. Context for Quote 2
7. Quote 2
8. Commentary
9. (optional) context for quote 3
10. (optional) Quote 3
11. (optional) commentary
12. Conclusion: explain how these examples are all linked/what they show about the theme when we “zoom out”
a. Ex: “When looking at the weather throughout the novel, we can see that Fitzgerald uses the setting to reveal characters’ true feelings that they won’t come out and say or demonstrate. Thus, the weather proves that everyone wears a mask/is hiding their true selves”
EXTENDED EXAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH: identify a key event supporting the claim
1. Topic sentence: identify a key event or scene that relates to your claim (1 sentence)
2. Briefly summarize the context for this moment in the sequence of the story. (e.g. when in the story does this happen? What are the causes of this happening? What’s the effect/consequences of it?) (2-4 sentences-ish)
a. This should be a PARAPHRASE. Make sure to put the pg#
3. Explain (interpret) how specific moments in the scene demonstrate the importance of the moment. (3-4 sentences)
4. Concluding sentence: Then analyze how this scene overall supports your theme (1 sentence)
(optional!) If you need one more paragraph here, you may repeat the ONE of the 3 body paragraph types for another supporting paragraph
The 3 body paragraphs can go in any order! Think about which one is your STRONGEST (should be first body paragraph/2nd paragraph overall).
1. Restate your claim a new way (do NOT copy and paste) (1 sentence)
2. Discuss the theme on a deeper level (e.g. why does this matter to readers?) (2-3 sentences)
a. Answers the “so what” question any essay seeks to discuss.
3. Connect it back to your hook so you connect it back to your readers (1 sentence)
Formatting Junk:
● Make sure your paper is either in Times New Roman font (size 12) or Arial font (size 11) (so when you’re done, highlight everything and then change the font.)
● Paper should be double spaced (except the MLA header)
● Paper needs an MLA header & a title
● The title of the book should be in italics.
○ And the “The” in the title should be capitalized…
○ Please use the WHOLE title
● Take out ALL 1st person and 2nd person pronouns.
○ I’ll allow them in the intro (just not in your claim) and in the conclusion if necessary. Otherwise, take yourself out.
■ This includes “we!”
● No bolding (except the title) or underlining
● All quotes and paraphrases need pg#s. Otherwise, it’s plagiarism.


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