I need help with how to structure the essay.
I have decided to write about the scene in chapter seven where Gatsby declares his love for Daisy infront of Tom, Nick and Jordan and the affair is exposed but then he realises that Daisy will not leave Tom and that his illusion that if he gained the wealth and entry into the affluent and sophisticated society Daisy belonged to that she would choose him over Tom. I am not sure weather to start the essay from the beginning of the novel and then reach this scene and explain what happens or to start with explaining this scene and then look back over the novel and show how it led to this moment and how is helps with my understanding of Gatcby and the themes of love and illusion. Any help is appreciated.
The Great Gatsby is a great novel, and this is a good topic. You've put much reflection into it. My advice is to write for an audience who has read the book; therefore, I would focus mainly on chapter 7, which includes the climax of the novel (the realization that Gatsby can never have Daisy). Not to mention, the scene sets up the deaths of Myrtle, George, and Gatsby. In other words, the lower-class dreamers must suffer at the hands of the loveless upper-class non-dreamers.
I would also focus heavily on the realization itself. Daisy is a symbol of the American Dream in all its glitter and ethereal beauty. Gatsby's failure to get Daisy back is Fitzgerald's attempt to show Nick and us that the dream may be, in part, illusion. The realization that Gatsby cannot have Daisy occurs only to Gatsby, Nick, and us (the readers)--all those in the middle-class who idealize and romanticize the American Dream. Tom and Daisy know that their marriage is secure because it's based on materialism, not love. They're living in East Egg, the established rich, so they don't need to dream any more. You don't dream down, only up.
Gatsby should have known better. But you can't blame him for dreaming. But Nick really should have known better. Shame on him for not living his own dream; instead, he lives vicariously through the dreams of others. That, perhaps, is the greatest and saddest revelation of all.