What are some potential analytical essay topics for F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby?

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Since I do not know exactly what kind of article you might be most interested in, I have compiled a list of places for you to look as well as listing several specific articles you might find interesting as you do some research on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Some are clearly more "scholarly" than others, and they all vary in length. Without knowing your exact requirements, it would be difficult to be too precise. 

First, of course, I am going to suggest that you examine the excellent collection of eNotes critical essays on The Great Gatsby. I have attached the general site below, and on that page you will find articles on theme, characters, class, color symbolism, romance, time, and more. One which I find particularly interesting is the article on the role of women in the novel. The article presents an interesting twist on the women in this novel with this thesis:

[O]n one level, these characters appear to be free-spirited, scorning norms of what the nineteenth century would have considered proper female behavior. It’s worth investigating, however, just how independent they really are. 

Another fine article from this site suggests that Jordan Baker, a rather mild-mannered and laid-back character in the novel, is actually a powerful example of the modern feminist in her time. The author asserts that

Jordan represents one of the most extreme examples of these changes—the proto-feminist known as a flapper. 

These and the other articles on this site provide interesting analysis of various elements in the novel. Each of these articles has the citation information included for you, as well.

Another good starting place is the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society website which shares some useful links to several types of scholarly sources. One I particularly enjoyed reading was by Thomas Flanagan, entitled "Fitzgerald's 'Radiant World.'" This article discusses the novel, of course, but it does so by comparing the final draft to the original draft of the novel. It also contains some interesting and relevant information on Fitzgerald as it is connected to the novel.

A related article is "Getting It Right: The Publishing Process and the Correction of Factual Errors--with Reference to The Great Gatsby" by Matthew J. Bruccoli. The issue of "time" in this novel, including the many lists which Fitzgerald seems to have rather randomly included, is a serious topic of discussion for many literature scholars.

The "Mitty" site attached below will direct you specifically to scholarly articles about each of the primary characters in the novel. For example:

  • Glenn Settle writes about Daisy's voice
  • Michael Vincent Miller discusses the American Dream generally and the idea of Gatsby's romantic dream
  • Thomas E. Boyle contends that Nick Carraway is an unreliable narrator
  • Richard Lehan suggests that the most powerful character in the novel is Tom Buchanan.

There are plenty of other resources available on this classic novel, so if none of these suit your interest or fit the requirements of your assignment, try searching for something that interests you (perhaps Dr. T.J. Eckleburg or East and West Egg or color symbolism) in connection to the title and you should be able to find something both intriguing and scholarly. 


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