“Careless People” essay prompt - The Great Gatsby Near the close of the novel, narrator Nick Carraway famously sums up the lack of integrity of two of the central characters this way: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated 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….”
In a five paragraph essay, discuss the accuracy of Nick’s assessment of Tom and Daisy and their rich crowd as it applies to these three passages from the early part of the novel:
“The little dog was sitting on the table looking with blind eyes through the smoke, and from time to time groaning faintly.” (The drunken party at Tom and Myrtle’s “hideaway”)
“Wha’s matter?” He inquired calmly. “Did we run outa gas?” . . . “At first I din’ notice we’d stopped.” (The drunken driver leaving Gatsby’s party, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s crashed the car into a ditch.)
Jordan Baker: “I am careful.”
Nick: “No you’re not.”
Jordan: “Well, other people are.” . . . ”They’ll keep out of my way.” . . . . “It takes two to make an accident.”
A: An essay that earns an A will consist of five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs (one for each passage), and a summary or concluding paragraph. Transitions will be smooth. Each body paragraph will accurately name the characters involved and discuss the context of the incident, explaining how the actions and words of the characters fit into Nick’s opinion. The concluding paragraph will include a comment on Fitzgerald’s literary tactics in planting the seeds for Nick’s conclusion in the first chapters of the novel.
B: An essay that earns a B will consist of the same five paragraphs. The three body paragraphs will describe the context of the passages (and the characters) and relate them to the narrator’s summary opinion. The concluding paragraph will restate the introduction.
C: An essay earning a C will consist of three paragraphs that relate the narrator’s opinion to the three passages and their characters.