The Great Gatsby Research Essay ‘11-12 Write a 5 paragraph essay which responds to one of the following prompts



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The Great Gatsby Research Essay ‘11-12



Write a 5 paragraph essay which responds to one of the following prompts:


  1. Between 1920 and 1929, automobile registration rose from 8 million to 23 million in the United States. What effects did the invention of the automobile have on the lives and attitudes of American people? Address issues such as mobility, pollution (compare to pollution of horse powered vehicles), industry, roads, affordability, etc. Think about the different meanings and connotations of these modern items (speed, danger, mobility). What do cars (or other modern developments) symbolize in The Great Gatsby?




  1. “Wealth destroys even as it creates”, writes Roger Lewis about The Great Gatsby. What part does the desire for wealth and the materialism and consumerism it fosters play in The Great Gatsby? Compare the attitudes toward wealth and consumerism in the 1920s to our society today.



  2. For the most part, Fitzgerald paints his women as being maintained by men who work, but women were becoming emancipated in many ways in the 1920s, and the Nineteenth Amendment was made effective in 1920. Research gender roles and women’s suffrage during the 1920s. How do these events play into The Great Gatsby? Were traditional gender roles maintained, blurred, or inverted in some way by the characters in the novel? Were any of the women in The Great Gatsby “emancipated”? Choose three characters to describe in depth in your essay.



  1. How do the characters and events in The Great Gatsby represent the disillusion and cynicism that occurred in America following WWI?



Disillusion- to be free from illusion

Cynicism- an attitude of jaded negativity


  1. How does The Great Gatsby reflect both the idealized American Dream, the reality of the American Dream, and capture the essence of the 1920s?


  2. Leisure time in the 1920s promoted the growth of professional sports and it has been called the “Golden Age of Sports” and the “Golden Age of Spectators”. Polo, football, golf and baseball are highlighted in The Great Gatsby, but many are tainted by cheating in some way. What accomplishments were made in sport in the twenties? Who were involved in these accomplishments? What scandals occurred? Were minorities and women included in this “Golden Age of Sports? Why do think Fitzgerald included those sports in this story? What is the role of these sports in The Great Gatsby? How did Fitzgerald use them in a way that was representative of the era?



  3. Analyze and evaluate the accepted social and moral behavior exhibited by the wealthy people in the novel and the wealthy people of the 1920’s. What was Fitzgerald criticizing? In what ways do you see the same behaviors being exhibited by wealthy people in today’s society?


  4. Throughout the 1920s, crime and criminal activity increased. Using both historical reference and The Great Gatsby, discuss how crime contributed to the ideals associated with the restless decade, with emphasis on the immoral behaviours these activities imply. Did these events and characters change America for the better? Or did we today, in 2011, learn from the lack of morality in the 1920s?


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