The Great Gatsby American Dream Essay

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The Great Gatsby American Dream Essay

· Mini lit analysis paper (2 pages typed, double spaced)

· Formal writing: no pronouns/contractions, must reference book (at least 2 direct quotes with page # citations per body paragraph), thesis statement, MLA format
· NO outside sources required
· Due 1/11 (B-Day) and 11/14 (A-Day)

Prompt: What is the American Dream and how is it featured as a theme in The Great Gatsby? (In other words, does Gatsby or anyone else achieve the American Dream in the novel? What does this say about Fitzgerald’s interpretation of the American Dream?)



Exemplary (10)

Proficient (7)

Emerging (5>)

MLA Format

  • Double spaced

  • Times New Roman

  • Title

  • Header (top right)

  • Heading (top left, 1st page)

  • In-text citations (author last #)

Missing 2-3 of the required elements

Missing more than 3 of the required elements

Ideas and Content

  • Strong thesis statement

  • Direct quotes for evidence (at least 2 per body)

  • Extensive commentary that explains quotes and connections

  • Transitions and connections between paragraphs, sentences, and ideas

  • Fully answers prompt

  • Adequate thesis

  • Some direct quotes for evidence

  • Attempt at commentary

  • Transitions and connections there but not fully explained

  • Sufficiently answers prompt

  • Missing or inadequate thesis

  • Few or no direct quotes/evidence

  • Little or no commentary

  • Transitions and connections not clear

  • Doesn’t sufficiently answer prompt

Conventions and Grammar

  • Evidence of proofreading

  • Some spelling and grammatical errors

  • Word choice is formal enough/sufficient

  • Very little evidence of proofreading

  • Extensive spelling and grammatical errors

  • Word choice is informal/insufficient

Writing Your American Dream Paper

  1. Solidify your idea of the American Dream – what is it?

  1. Pick a character or two whose dream(s) you want to analyze/explain

    1. Gatsby, Myrtle, Nick, Daisy, etc.

  1. Brainstorm some evidence from the book that might assist your position

    1. The significance of the green light, the Valley of Ashes/New York/the East, Daisy’s voice (it’s full of money), etc.

    2. Find several direct quotes from the story that you could use

  1. Outline your paper:

    1. Introduction

      1. Attention grabber (American Dream)

      2. Background (Introduction of book/characters/American Dream)

      3. transition + thesis statement (Whose dream(s) you’re analyzing and what Fitzgerald says about the ability to achieve the American Dream)

    2. Body paragraph(s) 1-2

      1. Topic Sentence (character and his/her dream)

      2. Major (1st aspect of dream)

      3. Minor (example/evidence from book)

      4. Commentary

      5. Major (2nd aspect of dream)

      6. Minor (example/evidence from book)

      7. Commentary (explanation/connection)

    3. Body paragraph

      1. Topic Sentence (What Fitzgerald says about the American Dream)

      2. Major (character and whether or not dream is achieved)

      3. Minor (example/evidence from book)

      4. Minor (example/evidence from book)

      5. Commentary (explanation/connection)

    4. Conclusion

      1. Reword thesis statement

      2. Overview of main ideas (American Dream, achievability, connection to book)

      3. Final insight (connection to Fitzgerald’s audience – how this affects everyone)

The Great Gatsby American Dream Graphic Organizer

My American Dream


Evidence from book:


Gatsby’s American Dream

Achieved? Y/N

Evidence from book:

Daisy’s American Dream

Achieved? Y/N

Evidence from book:

Myrtle’s American Dream

Achieved? Y/N

Evidence from book:

Nick’s American Dream

Achieved? Y/N

Evidence from book:

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