The Great Gatsby

Suggested Essay Questions

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  1. 1

    Analyze Fitzgerald's conception of the American Dream. Does he view it as totally dead, or is it possible to revive it?

  2. 2

    Is Nick a reliable narrator? How does his point of view color the reality of the novel, and what facts or occurences would he have a vested interest in obscuring?

  3. 3

    Trace the use of the color white in the novel. When does it falsify a sense of innocence? When does it symbolize true innocence?

  4. 4

    Do a close reading of the description of the "valley of ashes." How does Fitzgerald use religious imagery in this section of the novel?

  5. 5

    What does the green light symbolize to Gatsby? To Nick?

  6. 6

    How does Fitzgerald juxtapose the different regions of America? Does he write more positively about the East or the Midwest?

  7. 7

    What is the distinction between East and West Egg? How does one bridge the gap between the two?

  8. 8

    In what ways are Wilson and Gatsby similar? Disimilar? Who is Nick more sympathetic to?

  9. 9

    How does Fitzgerald treat New York City? What is permissable in the urban space that is taboo on the Eggs?

  10. 10

    Is Tom most responsible for Gatsby's death? Daisy? Myrtle? Gatsby himself? Give reasons why or why not each character is implicated in the murder.