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US English 11-Harris: The Great Gatsby 2018: Assignment


The Great Gatsby Research Paper


Literary Analysis Topic:  In The Great Gatsby, what is Fitzgerald implying about modern American society?  How does he use Cugatian symbolism from the cover art in order to imply his point about society?  In your paper, explain Fitzgerald’s Modernist satire of some aspect of Jazz Age America by analyzing three specific examples of the symbolic motif of Cugat inspired imagery in the novel.  


(For example, in terms of style focus, what does Fitzgerald symbolize with his colorful light imagery of an amusement park, the grey imagery of the Valley of Ashes, and the T. J. Eckleburg billboard?  Or, how does Fitzgerald use green imagery in three scenes to imply his concern about a corrupt aspect of modern culture? Or, what does Fitzgerald symbolize with the motif of eyes and face imagery in the novel?  Any Cugatian detail or details can be selected for your focus on Fitzgerald’s satirical use of Cugat’s artwork symbolism in his ekphrastic novel. Your thematic focus on his satirical point about America is up to you to decide.  What special interest of yours will your thematic angle explore? The class struggle, the role of women, the racial issues of the novel? There are many more thematic angles, too. Within the parameters set by the assignment, find your own specific focus to make the paper most meaningful to you.)

Literary Research Guidelines:  Be sure to use at least two critical sources on the novel and properly document your research.  Do not simply agree with what the critics think Fitzgerald is implying. You need to have a thesis of your own, and you need to find ways to distinguish your argument above all other readings.  On that note, you should feel free to partly disagree with or qualify the views of critics. The Library has plenty of books of criticism on the novel and will place on hold any such sources you find and want to use.  You may also use MyLatin’s link to the Library’s online databases to locate critical essays on the novel and on your stylistic and/or thematic focus. As a class, we will spend two days in the Library for research. While your research must have a basic focus on a critical reading of the novel, critical readings actually have incredible variety to help you refine your angle in an area of special interest of yours.  For example, literary criticism will be one or more of the following kinds: New Historical or Cultural Studies, Marxist, Feminist, Psychological, Critical Race Theory, and more. Here is a Link to a website that defines types of literary criticism and provides guiding questions for each type to assist you if you wish to specialize to this degree in your paper.  All that is required as a minimum, however, is a properly integrated quote from two critical essays on the novel and a standard level of rhetorical engagement with such literary research.  


Literary Analysis Research Paper Checklist:

  • Follow MLA guidelines and punctuation rules set forth in OWL

  • Proper format, heading, double-spaced in 12-point font

  • Five pages or so with a Works Cited for all included sources

  • Short & creative title indicating primary author and main issue

  • Introductory paragraph with hook, context, bridge, thesis

  • Clear and consistent analytical focus on how style conveys theme

  • Use of specific stylistic and conceptual terminology we covered in class

  • Avoid use of the royal “We,” the second person “You,” and first person “I”

  • Logical organization, transitions, coherence of your ideas

  • Topic sentences clearly echo your thesis points

  • Substantive paragraphs with appropriate evidence for all claims  

  • Plenty of specific examples provided in consistent and balanced manner

  • Plenty of partial quotes and paraphrases documented with parenthetical citations

  • Integrated and qualified quotes about the novel from at least two critical sources

  • Conclusion reviews key points, widens context, ends with a clincher

  • No spelling, grammar, or usage errors.



Outline & Introduction Paragraph Due Friday For Writing Workshop on March  16

First Two Body Paragraphs Due Thursday For Writing Workshop on March 22

Library Research & Writing Workshop on Thursday, March 22, & Friday, March 23

Last Body Paragraphs & Conclusion Due  For Writing Workshop on Wednesday April 4

Final Draft Due Start of Class Monday, April 9


Questions? Ask Ms. Stuart