Suggested Essay Topics
1. Consider the references to people in literature or history in the chapter. What purpose(s) do they serve?
2. Write a character sketch of Daisy (or Tom or Jordan), focusing on the recurring “tag” used to describe them. Daisy leans forward and talks in a low voice; Tom is restless and hulking; Jordan balances something on her chin almost in an athletic stance. What is Fitzgerald’s purpose in thus describing them?
3. Explain how the first chapter of this novel is critically important in the development of plot, characters, and themes.
1. Consider the possibilities of an agrarian society being the epitome of the American Dream. Find evidences of farming or pastoral scenes and diction in the first two chapters which suggest the belief that such a society fulfills the ideal American Dream.
2. Contrast the green light at the end of chapter 1 and the gray images in the Valley of Ashes in chapter 2. What thematic statement do the contrasting images reveal?
3. How can George Wilson be said to symbolize the American Dream? Consider the Horatio Alger (“rags-to-riches”) motif, as well as his undying desire to better his situation.
4. Write about Fitzgerald’s poetic style, focusing especially on the vivid metaphors and images, such as this description from Catherine: “Her eyebrows had been plucked and then drawn on again at a...
(The entire section is 1287 words.)
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