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Can you help critique my intro paragraph of my Great Gatsby essay?From the settlers...

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jadeojade | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:56 AM via web

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Can you help critique my intro paragraph of my Great Gatsby essay?

From the settlers who first arrived to America, to the Confederates and the modern day citizens, Americans are all in pursuit of one thing; the American Dream. It is a dream of equality, opportunity, prosperity and love. As promised in the United States Declaration of Independence, every man has “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (US 1776). From this phrase, every member of the United States is guaranteed an equal chance at achieving the American Dream. This united vision is what comes under scrutiny in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. An examination of this classic American novel will show that in the 1920’s, the American Dream had stagnated into a state of moral decay due to pure greed, crass materialism and self-indulgence as evidenced by the three main characters: Jay Gatsby, and Daisy and Tom Buchannan.

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litchick2011 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:39 AM (Answer #3)

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Your thesis is strong (can be argued and proven using facts from the novel): You are going to discuss how each of the three characters represents the moral decay that Fitzgerald criticizes in his novel. Your opening sentences, however, tend to be a bit general and a little confusing. I am with you with you when you mention the settlers, but am lost as to why you've thrown the Confederates into the mix. Also, for the sake of parallelism, you may want to use three general examples at the beginning: "From the settlers who first arrived in American, to the [fill in the blank], to the [fill in the blank], Americans are all in pursuit..". Since you mention the Declaration of Independence, you may want to use the founding fathers in your introductory sentence. Also, be careful of generalizing an entire nation..."Americans are ALL in pursuit..."

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 12, 2012 at 7:30 PM (Answer #4)

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A few minor suggestions:

change the phrasing in your opening sentence from, "Americans are all in pursuit of one thing" to "Americans have been in pursuit of one thing".

When referring to the three characters you will be using as evidence in your essay, it would be better to refer to them as "three of the main characters" in the novel, not "the three main characters". Suggesting that these three are the only main characters is not entirely accurate when we consider the role that Nick plays in the novel as a character and a narrator.

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