Essay #3 Prewriting

Essay #3 Prewriting

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    • Due Saturday by 11:59pm 
    • Points 5
    • Submitting a text entry box or a file upload

Please submit a prewrite for Essay #3 here.  Again, consult pages 8-10 of A Writer’s Reference for styles of prewriting, or do any other style of prewriting that you prefer.  Remember, too, to build your paper around a definite, clear THESIS…one main idea that your paper sets out to prove, argue, illustrate, clarify, etc.  Don’t let your paper just be random, rambling thoughts…make sure it is focused, directed, and with a definite PURPOSE behind it.  Also keep in mind the recommended length for our papers…around four pages to four and a half pages or so…please don’t be under or hugely over that basic length!

Here are your topics for Essay #3…CHOOSE ONE TO WRITE ON…DON’T RESPOND TO THEM ALL!!!!

1.  In essay form, compare and contrast the devastation of New Orleans as shown in “In the Ruins” to the setting of the valley of ashes in The Great Gatsby.  In what ways are the two settings similar?  How are they different?  What do you think the author of “In the Ruins” thinks about New Orleans as a place, and what would he think of the valley of ashes if he were to see it?  Besides the physical devastation/ruin, what sort of human/spiritual devastation do you think is present in each of these locations?  Make sure to quote from both the essay and the novel in some significant way in your response as evidence/support.  Though not exactly the same topic is covered, it is possible that “In Praise of Chain Stores” could work its way into the discussion as well…you do see that the valley of ashes was once a thriving place…perhaps some mention of the ideas from “Chain Stores” could work, too!

2. Though the story of The Great Gatsby is not yet over, Chapter 7 shows certain turning points in relationships, such as that of Daisy and Gatsby, Daisy and Tom, and George and Myrtle.  Thinking back over some of the essays that you have read so far this semester, comment on relationships, marriages, and character motivations thus far in the book, and how they reach a turning point in Chapter 7.  This discussion could go in many directions.  Perhaps you wish to discuss the marriage of Tom and Daisy and its motives for existing, and make reference to “Making of a Divorce Culture.”  Perhaps you want to focus on Tom and his views of relationships…what does he think about his marriage with Daisy, once it is challenged by Gatsby, perhaps in reference to ideas presented in “What We Miss About the 1950s” (even though this book takes place before the 1950s!).  Whatever your approach, discuss the relationships of characters within the novel in relation to some of the ethical ideas or the idealized visions we have of family presented in readings you have done so far this semester.

3. Comment in essay form on the theme/emotion/ethics of RESPONSIBILITY in The Great Gatsby up to this point, and relate this in some way to one or more of the readings you have done so far this semester.  You can focus your discussion on a main character or two, such as Gatsby and Nick, or discuss several characters, even minor ones, such as Owl-Eyes and other party-goers at Gatsby’s parties throughout the summer.  What characters in the book have a sense of responsibility and which do not?  If you see a character who does have this sense, what, if anything, does he or she do to act upon it?  Is his or her motive honorable?  What characters have no sense of responsibility?  Why do you think they are this way?  In Chapter 7 in particular, what is Tom’s attitude toward what happens to Myrtle, and what is Gatsby’s attitude toward Daisy at the end of the chapter?  Are these values respectable or not?  Discuss at length, quoting from the novel as well as readings we have done so far this semester.

4. Think of the roles, social status, and characteristics of male characters and of female characters in the novel, and discuss this in terms of some of the ideas from readings thus far in the semester, particularly in terms of the essay “Bros Before Hos: The Guy Code.”  Do you see connections between that essay and the way men act and act towards women in the book?  It is not an easy essay to “crack,” and I will not officially assign it to you, but in order to attack this writing prompts you may wish to make use of the essay “Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meanings of Gender.” Other essays within Section 5 of Rereading America, which is about male and female roles, may be of use to you as well, so feel free to explore other selections in this section and use them as needed if you wish to do so.



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