As you head toward the writing of your literary analysis essay, you must first develop a thesis statement, which is the claim you want to make about the book. For this essay, you have the following writing prompt:
|Prompt The idea of the “American Dream” was based on the assumption that each person, no matter what his or her origins, could succeed in life on the sole basis of his or her own skill and effort. The Great Gatsby is a novel about what happened to the American Dream in the 1920s, a period when the old values that gave substance to the dream had been corrupted by the vulgar pursuit of wealth. Write an essay about how F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby depicts the idea of the American dream. Your essay should make a statement about one of the following topics: Is the American Dream equally attainable by all? Why or why not? Support your claim with evidence from the novel.Does wealth and success guarantee happiness? Why or why not? Support your claim with evidence from the novel.
Do you want to focus on topic 1 or 2?
|Topic 2: Does wealth and success guarantee happiness? Why or why not? Support your claim using evidence from the novel.
Now, take the question and turn it into a basic statement that makes a claim.
For example: The Great Gatsby demonstrates the idea that there is a limit to forgiveness.
|The Great Gatsby demonstrates that wealth and success do not guarantee happiness.
Next, add in the author and title of the novel, if you haven’t already.
For example: In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Gatbsy is a dynamic character.
|The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald shows that pursuit of happiness through worldly riches leads to self-destruction.
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Now, you want to think about how the characters and events support your thesis. This part might be a little sloppy, but jot down some notes about which characters or events you plan to discuss and how/why they support your thesis.
|Gatsby engages in criminal activities such as drug rings to buy happiness, his love for Daisy. Attempt to buy happiness increases Gatsby’s loneliness and eventually leads to his death. Daisy, Gatsby’s ex-lover, fakes love to possess the material things such as expensive necklaces, which she believes will bring her happiness. She trades her love in exchange of luxurious life. Instead of being happy, Daisy gets discontented and engages in a callous entanglement with Tom to continue living an extravagant life. Pursuit of happiness leads to stress. Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy struggle to attain happiness because they are already trying to acquire wealth which they believe would make them happy. Familiarity to luxurious life creates distress.
Next, you should preview your main points as part of your thesis, if you haven’t already, by incorporating a statement about why/how the characters or events support your thesis. Remember to keep your thesis to just 1-2 sentences.
For example: In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Gatbsy is a dynamic character who ultimately becomes more revealing about his true past after initially hiding it.
Another example: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby demonstrates the idea that there is a limit to forgiveness. Gatsby is willing to forgive Daisy for marrying Tom but is unable to forgive her for actually loving him.
|Although wealth and success enhance a person’s quality of life, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates that they do not guarantee absolute happiness because it leads to self-destruction, social comparison, and a sense of familiarity that hinders the ability to attain happiness.
Now, you should have a well-crafted thesis to place in your introduction!