Presentation on theme: "Gatsby writing assignment Issues to discuss. The question asked you to analyze the meaning of a symbol in the novel. Your answer should have addressed."— Presentation transcript:
The question asked you to analyze the meaning of a symbol in the novel. Your answer should have addressed the symbolic meaning of the symbol you chose, as well as explain its significance to an overall theme. It’s not enough to say the green light is a symbol of Gatsby’s dream. You need to analyze the symbol in terms of overall theme in the novel. In other words, why does it matter? Writing an analysis
Your claim (thesis) The problem for many started with a weak claim. The rules for writing your claim are the same for writing a thesis (as this is practice for thesis writing). A good thesis usually includes two features: (1) A specific aspect of the work: a theme, character, writing technique, or issue. (2) A statement about the meaning or effect of the work as a whole, usually pertaining to character or theme.
The most common flaw in student writing is the omission of the second feature, as in the first version below. INCOMPLETE: Andrew Marvell uses imagery in his poem "To His Coy Mistress." BETTER: In his poem "To His Coy Mistress," Andrew Marvell uses contrasting images of death and youthful energy to present his philosophy of living for the pleasure of the day.
Examples from class (writers shall remain anonymous) In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the clock is a symbol of Gatsby’s dream of returning to his past with Daisy. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the green light symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams to be with Daisy. *These are fine and get straight to the point. The writer needs to make sure to discuss what effect these symbols have on theme. It’s not enough to merely state that they’re symbols.
Weak claims * Fitzgerald uses a lot of symbolism in The Great Gatsby. There are a lot of important symbols that stand for things in The Great Gatsby. In the novel, heat is a symbol. Throughout the book, the green light is a symbol and is at the end of a dock. These are vague and meaningless.
Toulmin model The Toulmin model does not call for a lengthy introduction. Many of you wrote needless/pointless/vague statements before your claim. Please do not do this. Even when we write full-length essays, you should avoid these type of statements in your writing:
Fitzgerald uses symbols, which stand for an idea. Symbols can represent things that they actually aren’t. There are numerous important symbols in the book. He uses symbols constantly to make points. Fitzgerald uses symbols to make the novel so much more interesting. **You don’t need to define what symbolism is or make judgments about how well Fitzgerald uses them.
Organization If you follow the Toulmin method, your paper should be organized. However, it is up to you to provide fluid transitions and develop a logical analysis. One of the main areas where I’m still seeing problems with this is with quotes.
Student Examples At this point, the light loses its mysticism and, as Nick aptly puts it, “[Gatsby’s] count of enchanted objects had diminished by one” (93). This quote is logical and flows as a part of the analysis. The green light represents Gatsby’s hopes for Daisy. “He stretched out his arm toward the light” (12). *This gives no context and provides no transition. It is up to the reader to figure out how the quote relates to the previous sentence.
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