The Great Gatsby Essay Topics: Exploring Heroes, Motives and Themes

With the recent release of the Great Gatsby movie, many teachers are choosing to assign essays on the topic. In a paper like the Great Gatsby, students can write about the different themes, symbols and motives in the book. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a member of the “Lost Generation”. Following the Great War, many of the youths felt disillusioned by life and the world at large. The feelings of this generation were exemplified in his most famous work, the Great Gatsby. From historical themes to literature motifs, students have many options in choosing what to write about.

  1. Make an argument for the most interesting or despicable character in the book.
  2. What part of the book supports the designation of Gatsby as “great”?
  3. How does the novel show that wealth corrupts? What characters demonstrate the dehumanizing force of money?
  4. Some have contended that this novels shows the death of the American Dream. What features of the novel support this contention?
  5. What are some of the most important symbols introduced in the Great Gatsby?
  6. How are the characters' houses, celestial bodies, the green light, colors or allusions to the Bible used as symbols in this novel?
  7. Is Gatsby a romantic hero for modernity?
  8. How do the different female characters in the novel relate to men? How are their motivations different from the males in their lives?
  9. How does this novel demonstrate the key concepts of modernism?
  10. Fitzgerald clearly illustrates different garments and clothing items that are worn by the characters. How is this used to illustrate the personalities of each character?
  11. How do the homes in the novel characterize the person living or renting within them?
  12. Is F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel intended to be satirical in any way? What portions of the text support this claim?
  13. Could the Great Gatsby be called an autobiographical novel? What parts of the novel are similar to Fitzgerald's personal life?
  14. How does the narrator, Nick Carraway, grow and develop throughout the novel? Do these changes coincide with the plot line?
  15. Many of the best works of literature use morally ambiguous characters. What are some of these characters in the Great Gatsby?
  16. Is Gatsby obsessed with Daisy or in love? Considering the character of Gatsby, could he truly be in love with her?
  17. One of the themes of the novel is that appearances can be deceptive. What passages in the novel support this claim?

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