Sample Essay Outlines
Sample Analytical Paper Topics
The following paper topics are based on the entire book. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.
Henry Steele Commager in The American Mind: An Interpretation of American Thought and Character Since the 1880s contends that “the tragedy is not that Gatsby lies dead, the rooms in his fabulous mansion silent—but that while he lived he realized all his ambitions.” Justify this contention.
I. Thesis Statement: Although Gatsby’s end was tragic, he was able to realize his ambitions.
II. He fulfilled the ambition of acquiring money.
A. By illegal means, he acquired massive amounts of money.
III. He fulfilled the ambition of experiencing love.
A. By determination, he experienced a physical relationship with Daisy.
IV. He fulfilled the ambition of gaining popularity.
A. Through generosity, he entertained hundreds of guests.
How do literary devices add to the dimension of depth or texture to this novel?
I. Thesis Statement: Fitzgerald employs several devices, including color imagery, symbols, and descriptive tags, throughout the novel.
II. Color imagery conveys dual meanings.
A. Yellow is associated not only with bright, heavenly scenes, opulence, and wealth, but also with corruption and decay.
III. Symbols add meaning.
A. Cars symbolize restlessness, driving ambition, recklessness.
B. Eyes symbolize the presence or absence of God.
IV. Recurring “tags” of description characterize effectively.
A. Jordan’s “jauntiness” establishes her as atypical and yet representative of young women in the 1920s.
Prove that Gatsby really is worth more than “the whole damn bunch put together.”
I. Thesis Statement: Nick’s assertion that Gatsby is worth more than “the whole damn bunch put together” is supported by Gatsby’s purer motives and actions.
II. Gatsby retains the American Dream in its purest form.
A. He has the quality of the original seekers of the dream—the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
III. He adheres to...
(The entire section is 502 words.)