The Great Gatsby

Introduction to Literature LIT 2000

Short Paper (one paragraph)

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby


For this assignment I want you to write one argumentative paragraph with the following specific focus: The role of identity in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is often seen as one of the most important American novels of the 20th century. Much of the text involves the way we see Gatsby, or the way we’re supposed to see Gatsby. From Nick Carraway’s narrative of his friend to the way Gatsby portrayed himself.  Yet each character has a defined way in which we see their identities. From the hyper masculinity of Tom Buchanan to the ways in which the female characters—Daisy Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson, and Jordan Baker—are portrayed, identity is a major focus of this text.

Focusing on one character, describe how identity shapes the way we see the character and how this affects our understanding of the text.

Begin by pre-writing your ideas about identity and the text—from symbolism, dialog between the characters, or anything else you find significant. Ask yourself: How do I respond to these characters based on what’s presented of their identity? Do you think the narrator is reliable in his description of the characters (why or why not)? What clues do we get about the identity of the characters, from their personal longings to their actions?

For the paper itself, I will be looking for a strong topic sentence, serving as your argument/thesis. I’ll also look for you to work your argument through the paper, using textual evidence (short quotes) to support your argument. The argument should be wrapped up in conclusion sentence. Of course, I’ll also look for grammar, style, citations, and a work cited page.


Minimum Word Count- 300 words

Format: Standard MLA heading, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font.

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