What is the best and most unique essay topic relating to The Great Gatsby and why?

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Great Gatsby is taught so frequently in academic settings that it may seem impossible to come up with a fresh take on it. But the novel is such a rich work of literature that there are nearly limitless possibilities for writing about it. The novel's themes may be a place to begin thinking about specific essay topics. For example, the clash of rich and poor ideology, or "new money and old money," is one prominent theme. But how could you make this stand out? Perhaps you could choose a very specific expression of this theme, such as physical descriptions of characters, or their clothes, as examples of how the author portrays these differences.

The novel's style is so nuanced and descriptive that any theme that looks more closely at its rich language would be a way to make your topic stand out (a opposed to writing about the theme in terms of plot or events). You could also make the writing style part of your topic; for example, the ways that the novel's language embodies romance, or tragedy, or cynicism. Using specific examples from the book, passages and sentences that illustrate your ideas, will also help your essay stand out and show your sensitivity to the text. 

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another interesting avenue to explore is the use of color in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses color to great effect throughout the novel, and in fact, as an undergraduate, I took a course in the Roaring Twenties in which the professor spent several days on the use of color in the novel.  From the green light to the color of Daisy and Jordan's dresses, from the color of Myrtle Wilson's attire to Gatsby's caramel-colored coat, the story is rich enough in the use of color to be able to write a great essay on just this subject.  You can discuss the symbolism of color. You can discuss the imagery of the color choices.  Seldom do I see students address this aspect of The Great Gatsby.

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The Great Gatsby

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