What is a good idea for a thesis comparing Tom and Daisy in The Great Gatsby to Willy and Linda in Death of a Salesman?

Hi, I am currently assigned to write a comparative essay on The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman. I have decided to discuss the similarities between the relationships of Tom/Daisy and Willy/Linda. I have three supporting arguments, including their lack of mutual respect for one another, faithfulness, and style of parenting. However, I am having trouble coming up with a solid thesis for this argument, as by just proving that there are similarities between the two couples is not good enough. Can anyone give me some good ideas on what to PROVE with these similarities?

Expert Answers

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A good start on an excellent project.  “Essay” means “to try,” so how about making a thesis statement about American literature itself—something like “By looking at these two great American literary pairings closely, we may reveal a hidden assumption about the American reader—that these authors assumed the reader would expect the male in a pairing during these decades to be the active partner, the bread-winner, the energy, while the reader assumed that the woman would be treated as a possession, a liability, for the man to bear.  This automatic relationship assumption lasted until WWII (and exploded completely in the 1960’s).”  Then you could discuss the details and similarities of the two pairs as support for your thesis statement, that the authors went into their projects knowing what the reader expected.  Good luck--hope this helped.

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