Great Gatsby Essay topics and prompts


The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald provides an opportunity to explore various themes, characters, and literary devices in the novel. Below, I’ve provided a list of essay topics and prompts to help you get started. You can choose one of these topics or use them as inspiration to create your own unique essay.

1. The American Dream in “The Great Gatsby”

  • Analyze how the concept of the American Dream is portrayed in the novel. What is Gatsby’s version of the American Dream, and how does it differ from others in the story?

2. The Corruption of the American Dream

  • Examine the ways in which the pursuit of the American Dream corrupts characters in the novel, including Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy. How does their pursuit of wealth and status lead to moral decay?

3. The Role of Money and Materialism

  • Discuss the role of money and materialism in the lives of the characters. How does wealth impact their actions, relationships, and values?

4. The Symbolism of the Green Light

  • Analyze the symbolism of the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. What does it represent to Gatsby, and how does its meaning evolve throughout the novel?

5. The Use of Color Symbolism

  • Explore the use of color symbolism in the novel, such as the colors white, yellow, and green. What do these colors represent, and how do they contribute to the themes and character development?

6. The Role of Nick Carraway

  • Examine Nick Carraway’s role as the narrator and how his perspective influences the reader’s understanding of the story. Is he a reliable narrator? How does his character evolve throughout the novel?

7. The Theme of Identity

  • Discuss the theme of identity in “The Great Gatsby.” How do characters present different versions of themselves to the world, and what are the consequences of living under false identities?

8. The Portrayal of Women

  • Analyze the representation of women in the novel, focusing on characters like Daisy, Jordan, and Myrtle. How do these women navigate the societal expectations of their time, and how are they portrayed in the story?

9. The Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties

  • Explore the historical and cultural context of the 1920s in “The Great Gatsby.” How does the setting and the time period influence the characters and events in the novel?

10. The Tragic Hero: Jay Gatsby

Discuss whether Jay Gatsby can be considered a tragic hero. Examine his characteristics, his ultimate downfall, and his moral complexities.

11. The Influence of East vs. West Egg

Compare and contrast the two settings in the novel: East Egg and West Egg. What do they symbolize, and how do they reflect the social hierarchy and values of the characters?

12. The Use of Flashbacks and Foreshadowing – Analyze how Fitzgerald employs flashbacks and foreshadowing in the narrative. How do these literary techniques shape the reader’s understanding of the story?

13. The Role of Geography in the Novel

Explore the geographical elements in “The Great Gatsby,” such as the Valley of Ashes and the locations of the characters’ homes. What do these settings represent, and how do they contribute to the story’s themes?

14. The Significance of Parties and Social Gatherings

Discuss the importance of parties and social events in the novel. How do these gatherings serve as a backdrop for the unfolding drama and character interactions?

15. The Novel’s Ending and Its Ambiguity

Analyze the ending of the novel, especially the events leading up to Gatsby’s death. What is the significance of the novel’s ambiguous conclusion, and how does it leave the reader with lingering questions?

Remember to support your arguments and analysis with evidence from the text and consider using literary criticism and historical context to enhance your understanding of the novel. “The Great Gatsby” offers a rich tapestry of themes, characters, and symbols to explore, making it a fertile ground for in-depth literary analysis.

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