English

6. Paper 1 Preparation
6.1. Module 6.1: Getting Started–the Openng of Paper 1
Getting Started–Paper 1

Your topic is not a matter of life and death, yet the idea of the American dream is an important myth in American culture and history. Thus, your first paragraph (I), the opening, must have three elements: Thesis, Three Organizing Ideas, and Statement of Significance.

Opening for Paper 1

How to get started and things to keep in mind as you write:

1.  To start your essay, use the following phrasing:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (verb of your choice)….

Make this first sentence of the essay be your thesis statement.

See http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/1/ for a discussion of thesis statements.

There is discussion in textbooks about where to place your thesis: Should it be the first sentence? Should it be in the middle of the first paragraph or at the end of the first paragraph?

For this class, for the purpose of uniformity and clarity for your reader (me), make your first sentence be your thesis statement.

Sample: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby devotes itself primarily to the failure of the American dream.

2. Follow that thesis statement with your organizing idea sentences. There should be three of these sentences, one for each 20-sentence paragraph in the body of the essay.

The organizing idea sentences tell the reader in advance what is in the three-part body of the paper. You probably should not try to write these organizing idea sentences (some call them advanced organizers or controlling ideas) until your paper is completed because you may not be clear about what exactly your three-part body is about until after you have written it.

An example:

This paper will explain what the American dream is.

It will place the dream into the context of The Great Gatsby’s setting.

Finally, it will relate the ideas of the dream to three characters.

3.  Last, create a statement of significance, which explains why this paper is important, significant, or interesting. Some call it a hook to get the reader’s interest.

An example:

The American dream helped to build the United States for two centuries, and Fitzgerald was testing its effectiveness in the 20th century.

 

One test for you is:

Does the thesis statement align with the conclusion?  Another is does the title align with the thesis and conclusion?

The total length of Paper 1 is five paragraphs.

 

6.2. Module 6.2: Evaluation Criteria
This Module applies the planning for Paper 1 to the Evaluation Criteria

NOTE:

1,  Boldface refers to Evaluation Criteria

2.  Underlining refers to the organization of Paper One.

Evaluation Criteria

1. Elements of Organization (These Arabic numerals in bold face refer to the Evaluation Criteria.)

I. Opening paragraph: It needs both a thesis statement and an organizing idea. It should end with a statement of significance. (These Roman numerals refer to the organization of your essay in outline form.)

V. Closing paragraph: It needs a summary, a conclusion, and a hint of things to come. (These Roman numerals refer to the organization of your essay in outline form.) Hint: If you end up writing the opening and closing of the paper at the end of the writing process, after you have written most of the three-segment body of the paper, you would be right on task. Three body paragraphs should be 20 sentences each. Body paragraph

II. What is the American dream in general terms (but be prepared to relate your description to the novel)? 20 sentences Body paragraph

III. What is the American dream in The Great Gatsby? 20 sentences Body paragraph

IV. Relate the American dream to characters in the novel. 20 sentences

2. Methods of Development: Use description and example for the three-segment body of the paper.

3. Mode of Order: The overall mode of order for this paper is general-to-specific; however, consider what your mode of order is for each segment as well.

4. Mechanics: For a passing grade, review your paper for effective mechanics, with no more than four errors per page. Include two quotes from The Great Gatsby. Use a works cited page, referencing the novel. Consider using quotes to support the examples you are presenting of the American dream.

Notice that it is “the American dream”: lower case “t” and “d.” Only the “A” is capitalized.

Always underline the title of the novel, The Great Gatsby. You need to mention the author and the novel’s title once in the first sentence of the paper, but after that you can refer to him as Fitzgerald and to the novel as the “novel” to avoid repetitiveness. So the first sentence, your thesis sentence, might look like this:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a search for the meaning of the American dream in modern society.

5. Transitions: Use “first,” “second,” and “third,” for the three segments (paragraphs) of the body of the paper. Each is followed by a comma. Use “In summary,” and “In conclusion,” in the closing. Each is followed by a comma.

What transitions are you using to communicate your methods of development and your modes of order?

6. Format: Double space the entire paper beginning with your last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner, per MLA; note in the sample papers.

Four-line heading: Remember to put English 101, Paper 1 and your section number at this point. Follow the style from MLA.

So the four-line heading will look like this, with two minor changes that are noted below after the English 101:

Johnny Johnson

Professor Sprague

English 101

4 October 2007 (or whatever the accurate date is)

Use a title that hints at the thesis. Don’t try to write the title until your paper is over, so you can be sure that it hints at what the overall idea of the paper is.

Indenting: Every time you indent, you indicate that a new paragraph is starting. Indents are five spaces. Because this is a five-paragraph essay, you will have five indents.

Formal tone: Eliminate the use of the following: “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine”; “we,” “us,” “our,” “ours”; “you,” “your,” and “yours”). Formal exposition is not about us; it is about the topic that is being developed.

Works Cited: This should be the last numbered page of your paper. Check MLA to see what one looks like. Follow the rules for creating your works cited references from MLA.

Follow the rules for creating your in-text citations from MLA. Use signal phrases following MLA.

Outline. For your outline for Paper 1, copy and paste your thesis statement, the three topic sentences for the three-part body, and the conclusion onto a separate piece of paper at the end of your paper. It should be an unnumbered page because an outline is not part of MLA style. The outline is just for English 101. Use Roman numerals for the five pieces (I-V) of your essay.

Study the Module Evaluation Criteria for additional information about how Paper 1 will be evaluated.

6.3. Module 6.3: Outlining
This Module Section has two parts.

First, there is a sample guide for a detailed outline that may help you to make sure you have all the components of the paper.

Second, there is a sample guide for the very brief outline that must be turned in with Paper 1.

These presentations demonstrate the elements of the five-paragraph essay that is Paper 1.

A Full Outline would look like this  (First, there is a sample guide for a detailed outline that may help you to make sure you have all the components of the paper.):

I.  (5 sentences)

A. Thesis statement: this is the overall main idea of the essay

B. 3 Organizing Ideas

C. Statement of Significance

II. (5 sentences, 20 sentence body paragraph, 5 sentences)

A. Topic Sentence:

Start this sentence with “First,” and make it be about the American dream in general.

B. First example with description of the American dream in general

C. Second example with description of the American dream in general

D. Third example with description of the American dream in general

E. Closing

III.(5 sentences, 20 sentence body paragraph, 5 sentences)

A. Topic Sentence:

Start this sentence with “Second,” and make it be about the American dream as it relates to the novel.

B. First example with description of the American dream and its relationship to the novel.

C. Second example with description of the American dream and its relationship to the novel.

D. Third example with description of the American dream and its relationship to the novel.

E. Closing

IV.  (5 sentences, 1 20 sentence body paragraph, 5 sentences)

A. Topic Sentence:

Start this sentence with “Third,” and make it be about the American dream and its relationship with three characters in the novel.

B. First example of a character in the novel and his or her relationship with the American dream.

C. Second example of a character in the novel and his or her relationship with the American dream.

D. Third example of a character in the novel and his or her relationship with the American dream.

E. Closing

V. (5 sentences)

A. Summary, using the phrase “In summary,” which should be three sentences long.

B. Conclusion, using the phrase “In conclusion,” which should be a restatement of the thesis in different words.

C. Hint of things to come.

Outline for Paper 1 to Turn in (Second, there is a sample guide for the very brief outline that must be turned in with Paper 1.)

The outline that you need to attach to your paper as the last page (unnumbered because it is not part of MLA) will look like this:

I. Thesis statement copied and pasted from your paper

II. First topic sentence copied and pasted from your paper

III. Second topic sentence copied and pasted from your paper

IV. Third topic sentence copied and pasted from your paper

V. Conclusion copied and pasted from your paper

6.4. Module 6.4: Checklist
Check List

Make certain that you have included the following issues in your papers: Your last name and the page numbers in the upper right-hand corner.

Double space your paper.

Use no other spacing format.

Include the four-line heading in the upper left-hand corner of the paper, double-spaced below the page number.

Correctly format and write your title, and make sure that it hints at the thesis.

The first sentence of the paper must include the author, the title of the novel, and the thesis statement. The opening paragraph also requires an organizing idea and statement of significance.

Each paragraph of the body of the paper is introduced by the organizational transitions “first,” “second,” and “third.” Each must be followed by a comma.

The length of the three supporting body paragraphs are about 20 sentences each.

The closing paragraph requires that it start with the organizational transition “In summary.” It must be followed by a comma. The summary should be three sentences in length, at least. The closing paragraph must have a conclusion, introduced by the organizational transition “In conclusion,” followed by a comma.

The total length of Paper 1 is five paragraphs.

There should be a very close relationship among the title, the thesis statement, and the conclusion.

Paper 1 turns out to be five paragraphs in length, with the three body paragraphs written with 20 sentences each.  That means that the  body paragraphs will be 20 sentences long, or a total of 60 sentences.  The opening and closing paragraphs will be about five or so sentences in length.

The paper has quotes, with in-text citations and a works cited page.

You will need a citation for everything that you quote.  This will be an individual choice.

For example, someone will want to quote from Democracy in America by De Toqueville.  Someone will quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.  Someone will quote from J. Meachem’s article about the American dream that is found in Modules If you quote or reference them, you will need a signal phrase, a MLA in-text citation, and a reference in the Works Cited page.

Everyone must have at least two quotes from the novel with signal phrases, MLA in-text citation formatting, and a MLA-formatted Works Cited page as the last page of their papers.

Go to Assignments to turn in your paper on time.

6.5. Module 6.5: Sample Paper
Instructions: See this sample paper as an example only. It is not perfect, of course, but it does address most of the E101 formal exposition requirements that are listed in Modules Paper 1, Evaluation Criteria in Modules, and Assignments Paper 1.
COMMENTS

What needs to be done here is to use “First,” for the first 5-paragraph segment of Paper 2.  Then use “Second,” for the second 5-paragraph segment.  The second segment of the paper is new and is developed by cause and effect.  It should have three characters and it should describe the effect of the dream on each one.  The first segment, of course, is an edited version of the first paper, Paper 1.  So you will notice that this paper is really just a new version of Paper 1, and it never really devotes three full paragraphs on the effects of dream on characters.

 

Billy Grubstake

Professor Sprague

English 101

February 2009

Gatsby and the Subjective American Dream

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby can be seen as a multi-perspective exploration of he American ream with varying ideas of what that dream can mean. this thesis lacks clarity about the values of the thesis in terms of the American dream and the novel…the novel is about tragedy, but this essay’s topic sentence mistakenly pretends that the tone may be neutral…the novel ends in tragedy, so the thesis statement must communicate that tragedy somehow…The dream that has been labeled uniquely American is a subjective concept, an idea open to interpretation and based on one’s own background and personal aspirations. In The Great Gatsby, the backdrop of early 20th century America serves as an environment for exploring the dream. Further, the individual characters of the novel demonstrate different facets of that ‘dream’.

First, why and how this universal and fluid concept of human striving for potential and contentment became American is up for discussion and perhaps could be rooted in Thomas Jefferson’s famously celebrated words that help make up part of the theme that is the American constitution; that elusive concept of the pursuit of happiness. topic sentence should be simpler THEN follow with discussion…While happiness itself is not, and cannot, be guaranteed, the freedom to pursue it is held as the high ideal for the state to base its own self-creation on. What is happiness anyway? Obviously for some it is more complex than for others. It could be wealth, fame, or social success. It could be a simple life free from unnecessary hardship. It could be owning a home or a business. It could be falling in love and having a secure life partner. It could be going to college, finding spiritual enlightenment, having children, etc. What it means is less relevant than having the freedom to pursue it. What makes America unique is that it is the only country founded on an idea, as opposed to nationality based on geography or ethnicity. The idea is freedom. Individual freedom that is a God given birthright is set to law in the American constitution. Perhaps this is the big reason for the dream having been titled American. Admittedly, it has taken centuries for this to actually manifest itself in a truly credible way. Jefferson himself was a slave owner who wrote of the black man’s inferiority to white men, even while stating the “All men are created equal.” needs a citation…For this to maintain substance, it cannot be applied selectively to only white men. Women and minorities must be included or the foundation is weakened with a double standard and hypocrisy. It took literally centuries of progress, from women’s rights to civil rights and now to our first black president. But even with all this progress, there is still work to do and a perpetual evolution to be had. Perhaps the dream can exist precisely because it is in its very nature to be free to find evolution without a dogmatic ideological barrier of laws that would permanently prevent this American dream, the pursuit of happiness, from growing and finding its home in the heart of American citizens and of those around the world who admire and respect it.

Second, The Great Gatsby explores different dimensions why different as opposed to all negative…again, the topic sentence pretends a neutrality when the writer should acknowledge that this is a discussion of a tragedy…of this American dream. As the story progresses we see how the dream is subverted by those who seem to possess all the elements integral to the dream, not the least of which is material wealth. For most the dream is something that is pursued, but never attained. For those with wealth, the dream’s promise of happiness is squandered and corrupted with greed, vanity and narcissism. The overall essence of the novel is tragic in that the higher ideals of the American dream are subverted by those who, even with all the elements seemingly in place, still thwart their own potential happiness. One could have health, wealth and a loving spouse, but still find discontentment and misery. Perhaps it is truly a matter of perspective in that those whose wealth is inherited, never experienced the pains and trials of poverty and therefore never learned appreciation, which in itself breeds discontentment. It seems the pursuit of the dream can bring more happiness than the attainment. And when finally attained, happiness is still elusive in the absence of healthy relationships. In a counter-intuitive way, this can be viewed as something positive and inspirational in the sense that we can let go of what we think will bring us happiness, (i.e. – material wealth), in light of the knowledge of those whose wealth not only can fail to bring happiness, but often brings it’s own source of misery. It is a classic assessment of the painful realities of capitalism as it relates to the American dream. In the capitalistic culture, competition and domination are valued over more down to earth human virtues. We as humans tend to forget the things that can truly bring happiness and get caught up in the sacrificial culture, where failure to succeed is seen as weakness and those who play the game differently are outcasts. Even the rich segregate themselves in terms of old and new, with the old rich looking down on the new rich as somehow uncultivated and as primitive as the impoverished culture from whence they came. What we see in the novel is how the old rich subvert the dream with their own aristocratic discontentment and show little interest allowing the dream to manifest for those who aren’t already in their bubble like subculture. This is actually a complete 180-degree subversion of the dream in that a major component in the dream should be the reality that anyone can achieve it. As Jefferson wrote, “All men are created equal…” from which one would conclude that for the dream to exist, it becomes contingent on whether the dream is truly and equally available to all, not just the privileged few.

Third, three characters in the novel, Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Tom Buchanan, each bring a different …it is not about “different,” but about variates on tragic or negative…example of the dissatisfaction that can come from the subversions of the dream. Set in the roaring twenties, the characters interact in the culture of that day, attending parties, speak-easy’s, and getting rich quick. The ideology of capitalism begun to run amuck is the template from which this story takes us in and out of perceptions of the American dream. Our narrator Nick Carraway speaks in retrospect of his perception of Jay Gatsby’s, stating, “What fowl dust float in the wake his dreams” (6). Gatsby serves the point and embodies the contradiction between his own dream and the dream of his society. Gatsby throw huge parties he doesn’t even go to, saying he doesn’t like parties. His own desire for love is independent of his wealth. Perhaps this can suggest that the dream is meant to be more than material wealth, at least for Gatsby. Nick Carraway begins his summer in hopeful and excited optimism only to conclude the season in bitter disillusionment. His experience in high society exposes him to the emptiness that lies at the heart of the corruption. The capitalistic excesses are perverting the dream that at once is the fuel which propels the dream forth in the first place. As he witnesses his cousin’s husband, Tom Buchanan swimming in his blatant and shameless improprieties, the seeds of Nick’s cynicism are sewn. And with Buchanan, the archetypical rich kid and self-serving narcissist displays the ultimate perversion of the dream, rife with racism and aristocratic pompousness. He pays ten dollars for a dog and tells the dog seller to go buy ten more, seemingly annoyed with the very capitalistic ideology that serves his own every whim. In summary, defining the American dream can be an endeavor that is perhaps only fulfilled in accepting plurality. Ultimately, happiness is subjective and a personal responsibility, and with the pursuit of it guaranteed in our American constitution, the soil is fertile for the cultivation of this idea of the American dream. In The Great Gatsby, we see the darker shades and hear a potential death knell rung from the hands of uncontrolled capitalism, and can take away many things, including a warning for our own time. The dream is different for everyone. And the sad reality is that, the American constitution notwithstanding, as Nick Carraway’s father told him, “…all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” (1). As much as we want to believe in the equality of human beings, ultimately that ideal is ultimately thwarted in favor of self-serving ideologies.

 

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Outline

I. THESIS: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby can be seen as a multi-perspective exploration of the American dream’with varying ideas of what that dream can mean.

II. First, why and how this universal and fluid concept of human striving for potential and contentment became American is up for discussion and perhaps could be rooted in Thomas Jefferson’s famously celebrated words that help make up part of the theme that is the American constitution; that elusive concept of the pursuit of happiness.

III. Second, The Great Gatsby explores different dimensions of this American dream. As the story progresses we see how the dream is subverted by those who seem to possess all the elements integral to the dream, not the least of which is material wealth.

IV. Third, three characters in the novel, Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Tom Buchanan, each brings a different example of the dissatisfaction that can come from the subversions of the dream.

V. In summary, defining the American dream can be an endeavor that is perhaps only fulfilled in accepting plurality.needs to be the conclusion
6.6. Module 6.6: Sample Paper
Instructions: Here is a second sample Paper 1.
                                                                                                                                                                      Chandler 1

Esmeralda Chandler

Professor Sprague

English 101, Paper 1, Section #8044

27 February 2009

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Wealthtitle does not hint at the thesis…

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby brings to light the tragic corruption of the American dream through the pursuit of pleasure and wealth at any cost. The American dream was an idea that started with our founding fathers when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. In the novel, we see how this idea has been twisted into a misshapen version of the original idea through greed and decayed morals. Then, through the eyes of Fitzgerald’s characters, we will gain learn that money cannot buy our dreams, no matter how much of it one might have. We live in different economical times, but it doesn’t take being fabulously wealthy to lose sight of the true meaning of our dreams.

First, the original idea of the American dream was thought to be based on the pursuit of happiness. The phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” outlines every Americans’ idea of success needs an in-text citationOur founding fathers unknowingly conceived the American dream when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. In his book The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation, Jim Cullen explains “These words speak to us. It’s not only that they laid the foundations for sweeping social movements like the struggle to end slavery. . . . These words actually structure the minutiae of everyday existence: where we go to school, who we marry, what we buy”(38). When these words were penned, they were in a document that freed us from another country and made us citizens of our own nation and not immigrants to a new land. These words are what drive immigrants here to find new opportunities. Immigrants come to America with dreams of rising above racial and social boundaries to become wealthy and successful. In the early part of the 20th century, immigrants would come to Ellis Island by the boat loads and stand in lines just for the chance to raise their families free from poverty and political persecution. They came here dreaming of the streets being paved in gold and of opportunities abound for their children. Today, the American dream has been greatly mutated into a power hungry pursuit of money and pleasure. Big business rules the land and the cost of living is so high that we’re forced to dream of having more money to lead a better life. American historian James Truslow Adams once wrote in his book The Epic of America, “But there has also been the American Dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position”(404). According to Adams, we should all have the chance to achieve what we are capable of, and not just strive for materialistic pursuits. The Epic of America was written in 1931, during a time of economical depression. This may have been a time when many Americans dreamed of having more money to attain happiness. We are once again in an economical depression, and we find ourselves even more obsessed with the quickest way to pursue a dollar. America was the land of opportunity, but ultimately has corrupted the pursuit of happiness with illusions of grandeur. Americans want it all and they want it now. We are no longer willing to work for it; we want it handed to us and expect our dreams to come to us.

Chandler 2

Second, Fitzgerald explores the corruption of the American dream through the lives of various characters obsession with wealth and pleasure. In the novel, we catch a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy, and we see how their riches do not enrich their lives. The rich and beautiful are just as miserable as the poor and downtrodden. The American dream, as seen through Fitzgerald’s eyes, has decayed into materialism and a loss of values. Many of the characters in this novel spend their money on possessions and glamorous parties to bring meaning to their lives. Their lives are empty and lack a purpose. One example of this is Tom and Daisy’s child. Tom and Daisy are main characters in the novel, yet we only hear mention of their child a couple of times throughout the novel. In the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, Daisy reminisces about the birth of her little girl. To portray to the reader how jaded her view of the world has become she relates this quote: “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (17). It shows that people can have all they think they have ever dreamed, and realize that they would not wish these things on their children. Wealth cannot overcome the corruption of the American dream as portrayed by the separation of old and new money. While Daisy and Tom are example of East Egg residents or “old money”, on the other side of the bay lies West Egg or “new money”. The economy was booming in 1922 and the opportunity to make money was on the rise. The more money people made, the more they spent and the more they expected to come to them. It became an endless cycle of materialism and greed. The new money was good example of this. They had acquired their money through this booming economy, either through the stock market, or possibly more illicit ways such as bootlegging. They tended to be ostentatious with their money, buying the biggest houses and flaunting their money in front of everyone. The old money looked down upon this, seeing the new money as a lower class of being. So even though the West Eggers have achieved their dreams of gaining riches and buying big homes and spending lavish amounts of money, they were still spurned within their social class as being lower class. They were looked down upon by the East Eggers. Yet both sides of the bays, old and new money, expected every opportunity afforded to them through their great wealth. The characters in the novel have come to expect their dreams to come to them. Most working class citizens understand the value of a dollar. They’ve worked hard for that dollar and they will work hard for their dreams. In the novel we are faced with a different breed of American citizen. The upper class American. The old money had everything handed to them, from money to their property to their educations. They do not understand a day’s hard work. Many opportunities open themselves to people with money, especially those who have a name behind that money, and old money has both of those things. The new money came about because of the growth of the economy. They may understand how hard it is to earn something you work for, but money corrupts. They have what they want, and now they want their dreams to come to them. Everybody believes that if you can just be a little wealthier you can have everything you want. You can be free to pursue your dreams. That’s just not true. The pursuit of wealth is not equal to the pursuit of happiness.

Third, the American dream can be related to the characters of the novel in of course different ways but what does that mean…different which then show how to be successful or which then show how a tragic ending happens or…different ways. Jay Gatsby, Jordan Baker and Tom Buchanan are three excellent examples of the relationship between wealth and the corruption of the American dream. Jay Gatsby pursues his dream of re-creating the past in the future. He was poor man from North Dakota who dreamed of being with a girl. He had to leave this girl when he went into the military and when he came back, she was married to a wealthy socialite. He knew he had no chance of ever winning her if he stayed poor, so he pursued wealth through crime. He becomes the newly rich and buys the biggest mansion in West Egg directly across from Daisy’s home in East Egg. He throws lavish parties every weekend just in the hopes of luring Daisy across the bay. He staked everything he ever had on the only dream he ever wanted, a dream that was stuck in the past. Chandler 3 Even after he worked hard to amass his fortune and create an entire new persona for himself, he still failed at his dream. In the end, Gatsby ultimately fails in attaining his dream. Once Daisy learns of Gatsby’s methods of gaining his fortune, she is driven closer to Tom and chooses to stay with Tom in the end. Gatsby dies alone, stuck on a dream of the past that he sees for the future. Jordan Baker pursues her dream of being a successful golf player, through deceit. She is a shallow, dishonest person who really only cares about herself. We learn in chapter three that she lies and she cheats. Nick relates a story about Jordan’s first big golf tournament where “there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers-a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round” (57). This is our first glimpse at Jordan’s true personality. She tends to lie to cover anything unsavory about herself. She wants to be a golf champion, and it’s apparent that she will use any means to reach her goals. Tom Buchanan, his dream being realized through football in college, is now a restless person seeking anything to distract him from everyday life. He and his wife move from place to place, never settling down anywhere permanently. Tom constantly picks up new hobbies, such as polo horses, to distract himself from his domestic life. He even goes as far have an affair, and makes no real effort to hide this affair from his wife. how is this relaed to distractng himself?Yet when his lover taunts Tom about his wife, he is quick to strike her out of anger. It seems Tom is frustrated with the life he leads. He finds different ways of occupying himself to help him forget his past. He clings to an old dream which makes him bitter. is any of this Tom’s way of expressing his power?…All three of these characters have the money that seems to be required to realize or dreams, yet all of them ultimately failed at their dreams. Jay Gatsby died with nobody at his side, Daisy having stayed with her husband. Jordan Baker lies her way through life and has to cheat to attain her dream of being a golf champion. Tom Buchanan is not happy with the way his life has turned out, so he turns to arrogance and bullying to achieve his happiness, which he still fails at. Americans may believe that the answer to their dreams is money, but money does not equal happiness. this closing needs its own closing paragraph which is missing here…In summary, the American dream was originally a dream of achieving goals no matter a person social or racial background. According to Fitzgerald, the American dream was corrupted in the 1920’s and turned into a pursuit of wealth and personal pleasure. This can be related to three of the main characters in the novel who even with wealth, they all seem to fail at their dreams in one way or another. In conclusion, the American dream has become a corroded illusion of effortless wealth through sometimes reckless means. If weno personal references as in “we” continue this trend of expecting our dreams to fall into our laps, America will no longer be the land of opportunity; it will become the land of forgotten dreams.

Chandler 4

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004

Cullen, Jim. The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea That Shaped a Nation. New York: Oxford, 2003

Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1931

Outline

I. The American dream is corrupted through the reckless pursuit of wealth and pleasure.

II. The American dream is the opportunity to rise above all boundaries and pursue one’s goals.

III. The Great Gatsby explores the corruption of the American dream through loose morals and material excess.

IV. Three main characters exemplify the gain of wealth and the loss of the American dream.

V. America continues in a downward spiral of greed and expectation.

6.7. Module 6.7: Sample Thesis Statements for P1
Instructions: Here are some sample thesis statements for P1.
Do not use “and” in the thesis statement…the main idea of Paper 1.

Samples”

Sample: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is devotes itself primarily to the failure of the American dream.

Sample: F. Scott Ftizgerald’s The Great Gatsby is about the terrible costs of the American dream.

Sample: F. Scott Ftizgerald’s The Great Gatsby is about the the American dream’s  tragic impact on its major characters.

 

 

 

NOTE: Later, when you are writing your Paper 1–

To start your essay, use the following phrasing:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (verb of your choice)…. Make this first sentence of the essay be your thesis statement.

There is discussion in textbooks about where to place your thesis: Should it be the first sentence? Should it be in the middle of the first paragraph or at the end of the first paragraph?

For this class, for the purpose of uniformity and clarity for your reader (me), make your first sentence be your thesis statement.

Consider:

Consider that for Paper 1 you need one main idea.

Consider that “and” puts your thesis in the danger of having two.

Take this thesis for example:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is about the folly in the American dream

and the dangers of pursuing possessions for purposes of self-gratification.

Thesis statements with two main ideas:

Consider:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is about the folly in the American dream

and

the dangers of pursuing possessions for purposes of self-gratification.

The thesis is about the dream’s folly

AND

it is about the danger of pleasing oneself.

Which is the main idea?

Is the dream a folly

OR

Is it a danger?

When you reach your closing, is it about folly and danger?

Are the three supporting 20-sentence paragraphs of the body about

BOTH

folly and danger?

Do dangerous things tend to be “lacking good sense”?  If it is about danger more than folly, then focus on danger.  If at some point in the body you want to say that it is foolish, go ahead.  This way with a focus on danger you can describe tone or setting in the second body paragraph and characters in the third body paragraph without concern about tying danger and folly together somehow.

Conversely, if the thesis is about folly and not danger, again you will be able to focus on folly without having to reconcile how folly can be dangerous.  Nevertheless, you can make the point that a factor related to this kind of folly is danger.

As you start to work on your papers, consider a thesis statement that does not use “and” in it so that you are able to focus on a main idea.

 

6.8. Module 6.8: How Will Your Professor Evaluate Your Paper?
How professors will look at the technical aspects of a formal exposition paper:

These criteria come from Modules, Evaluation Criteria.

1. Elements of Organization

I. Opening paragraph: It needs both a thesis statement and an organizing idea. It should end with a statement of significance.

_____Thesis

_____Organizing Idea

_____Statement of Significance

V. Closing paragraph: It needs a summary, a conclusion, and a hint of things to come.

_____Summary

_____Conclusion

_____Hint of Things to Come

II. What is the American dream in general terms (but be prepared to relate your description to the novel)? 20 sentences Body paragraph

_____Does this paragraph have its own 1-3-1 shape?  Is it fully developed?  Is the method of development clear?

III. What is the American dream in The Great Gatsby? 20 sentences Body paragraph

_____Does this paragraph have its own 1-3-1 shape?  Is it fully developed?  Is the method of development clear?

IV. Relate the American dream to characters in the novel. 20 sentences

_____Does this paragraph have its own 1-3-1 shape?  Is it fully developed?  Is the method of development clear?

2. Methods of Development: Use description and example for the three-segment body of the paper.

_____Does each segment/paragraph of the body have ample description with example.  Does each develop some aspect of the thesis and lead to the conclusion?

3. Mode of Order: The overall mode of order for this paper is general-to-specific; however, consider what your mode of order is for each segment as well.

_____Why is the first body paragraph first, the second second, and the third last?  What is the mode of order you are using; is it clear, and does it help to make the paper stay together, cohere?

4. Mechanics: For a passing grade, review your paper for effective mechanics, with no more than four errors per page.

Include two quotes from The Great Gatsby.

Use a works cited page, referencing the novel.

Consider using quotes to support the examples you are presenting of the American dream.

Notice that it is “the American dream”: lower case “t” and “d.” Only the “A” is capitalized.

Always underline the title of the novel, The Great Gatsby. You need to mention the author and the novel’s title once in the first sentence of the paper, but after that you can refer to him as Fitzgerald and to the novel as the “novel” to avoid repetitiveness. So the first sentence, your thesis sentence, might look like this: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a search for the meaning of the American dream in modern society.

_____Is the title of the novel underlined?

_____Does the paper have two quotes at least using MLA in-text citations?

_____Does the paper have a Works Cited page?

_____Overall, has the paper been adequately proofread and edited?

5. Transitions: Use “first,” “second,” and “third,” for the three segments (paragraphs) of the body of the paper. Each is followed by a comma. Use “In summary,” and “In conclusion,” in the closing. Each is followed by a comma.

_____Are the three organizing transitions present and correct?

What transitions are you using to communicate your methods of development and your modes of order?

6. Format: Double space the entire paper beginning with your last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner, per MLA; note in the sample papers.

Four-line heading: Remember to put English 101, Paper 1 and your section number at this point. Follow the style from MLA.

So the four-line heading will look like this, with two minor changes that are noted below after the English 101:

Johnny Johnson

Professor Sprague

English 101

4 October 2007 (or whatever the accurate date is)

Use a title that hints at the thesis. Don’t try to write the title until your paper is over, so you can be sure that it hints at what the overall idea of the paper is.

Indenting: Every time you indent, you indicate that a new paragraph is starting. Indents are five spaces. Because this is a five-paragraph essay, you will have five indents.

Formal tone: Eliminate the use of the following: “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine”; “we,” “us,” “our,” “ours”; “you,” “your,” and “yours”). Formal exposition is not about us; it is about the topic that is being developed.

Works Cited: This should be the last numbered page of your paper. Check MLA to see what one looks like. Follow the rules for creating your works cited references from MLA.

Follow the rules for creating your in-text citations from MLA. Use signal phrases following MLA.

Outline. For your outline for Paper 1, copy and paste your thesis statement, the three topic sentences for the three-part body, and the conclusion onto a separate piece of paper at the end of your paper. It should be an unnumbered page because an outline is not part of MLA style. The outline is just for English 101. Use Roman numerals for the five pieces (I-V) of your essay.

_____Does the paper have a formatted heading?

_____Does the paper have a title?

_____Does the paper have formal tone without personal pronouns?

_____Does the paper have a five-sentence formal outline?

 

Study the Module Evaluation Criteria for additional information about how Paper 1 will be evaluated.

6.9. Module 6.9: Two Sample Papers 1
 

…two sample papers:

 

 

Joseph Blowsky

 

Professor Sprague

English 101, Paper 1, Section #8043

17 September 2012

The Great Gatsby: A Tainted American Dream

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays the destructive realities of the American dream for its hero and the other characters as well. The American dream is often stated by the idea that success and wealth can be achieved by anyone, given the right opportunity, who is willing to work hard, has determination and hope, as exemplified by the main character, Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby shows how one never stops to think of a true American dream that chases the freedom one honestly pursues to achieve goals and rejects the imprisonment one gains through greed and selfishness. The search for happiness in wealth is one factor that lives within a majority of the characters in the novel. However, the novel shows that fulfilling the American dream in a selfish manner can lead to the corruption of the dream.

First, the American dream in general can be realized through hard work and determination. This dream of having a better life started when the Pilgrims arrived in America. The Pilgrims left their motherland due to poverty, religious persecution, and political danger. The hopes of finding a better life for them would be the beginning of the American dream. The pursuit for the dream was also stated in the “Declaration of Independence” second paragraph, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. These powerful words helped end slavery and started movements such as Women’s Rights, which shaped America. The dream is not just achieving material things. In The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams states that “it is a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position” (Adams, 404). The foundation of the American dream is for all to want it and share it. Its idea is not to compare the material goods to one’s neighbor. Being able to rise up from nothing to something big is an American dream come true. During the 1920’s the economy started to grow and anyone with little money can make money grow exponentially mostly through the stock market. It is also the time when the mobsters made a lot of money due to prohibition. America offered a lot of promise in the decade of the 1920s. However, the American dreams have changed throughout time. Nowadays, the most common dream is to own big houses, expensive cars, and youthful looks. For those who are already successful in life, they dream of becoming even more successful in order to fulfill a greater happiness. Some people may learn that the greatest happiness is achieved through the sharing of wealth. The Great Gatsby shows that money cannot always buy happiness.

Second, Fitzgerald’s novel shows three kinds of American dream: a dream that was realized through hard work and determination, a dream that is difficult to achieve, and a dream to stay wealthy. The Great Gatsby shows how the American dream is underappreciated and taken advantage of.  The scene of the novel was in a wealthy neighborhood of New York where residents have surrounded themselves with the American dream through elite parties and extravagant homes. In the West Egg are the nouveau riche who has under-developed taste and little connections to a higher rank. Though they are in a lower rank within the ranking of the West and East Eggs, they are a part of the American dream. They have made it thus far and though they have little connections, they wish to fulfill a higher wealth by becoming acquainted with the social aspect, which is an important factor in achieving the American dream. Similar to their money, they are new to the American dream. In the East Egg, residents have fulfilled the American dream through hard work, along with a series of connections. This American dream allows one to live comfortably without the cares in the world. In Chapter 1, Nick Carraway describes the American dream that is lived by his cousin and her husband. “Why they came east I don’t know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together” (Fitzgerald, 8). This is an example of the American dream being lived through old money. Old money is money that has been maintained and passed on through several generations. In The Great Gatsby, one who lives effortlessly and comfortably is one who has fulfilled the American dream. However, the American dream of living effortlessly and carelessly is not described in the constitution. While living the American dream in an effortless manner, the novel shows how one can be led astray with a materialistic mind. Towards the end of the novel, Nick Carraway gives the reader a vivid description of the American dream in its most innocent form:

I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes— a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. (Fitzgerald, 192)

Some people can live comfortably without strict morality and ethics. Though when people think of money they think of the American dream without considering the corruption.

Third, Fitzgerald introduces a series of characters that are considered to have fulfilled the American dream: NickCarraway, Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. The novel begins with an introduction to Nick Carraway, a character who has fulfilled the American dream in a careful and precise manner. Carraway’s accomplishments include fighting in the war and attending Yale. Although he is working to fulfill his American dream, he also witnesses the corruption of the American dream in others. Carraway’s cousin, Daisy, lives on the East Egg of the neighborhood and is married to a prestigious man, Tom, who belongs to old money. The marriage is built from the American dream, but has suffered because of arrogance, selfishness, and materialism. In Chapter 4, Fitzgerald tells how love can be blind due to money and wealth. Daisy’s friend, Jordan Baker, explains the story of how the eighteen years old Daisy is in love with officer Gatsby. Daisy denies Gatsby and is blinded by the old money, which Tom Buchanan possesses. However, Tom is committing adultery with Myrtle, a woman who also wishes to fulfill the American dream. They hold onto a marriage surrounded by adultery and regret which causes Daisy to run back into the arms of Gatsby, who intentionally builds a collection of material goods to win her heart back. Gatsby is living the American dream solely for the attention of an old love. Jay Gatsby was determined to reach the American dream because he believed that having wealth would bring him all the happiness he wanted, including Daisy. But money cannot buy one’s happiness. In Chapter 7, Carraway explains the insanity that Gatsby has acquired over the years because of high hopes to fulfill his American dream. “He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life has been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place.” (Fitzgerald, 118). Gatsby is certain that the American dream will fix such issue, however it’s safe to say that love and happiness is omitted from the dream. It is disturbing when Gatsby was killed by Myrtle’s husband in the assumption that Gatsby has been involved in his wife’s affair. Towards the end of the novel, it shows the corruption and death the American dream has caused.

In summary, The Great Gatsby highlights how the American dream has been corrupted due to selfish and material needs. The 1920s was a decade which consisted of easy money and letting loose on prime ideas of morality. When it came to the American dream, the founding fathers focused on three simple things that would ensure a freedom from corruption: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. In conclusion, The Great Gatsby shows how the American dream has changed from the settlers dream to have a better life in America to selfishness and greed. The novel shows the dream in contemporary and compelling form.

 

Work Cited

Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1931.

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great GatsbyNew York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925.

Outline

I. Chasing the American dream tainted with wealth and success.

II. The general meaning of the American dream and how it changed through time.

III. Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby show different settings of the American dream.

IV. Three characters from the novel in pursuit of the American dream.

V. The American dream once filled with hope by everyone is now full of greed and corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

remember to underline the title of the novel… Student’s Name Professor Sprague English 101 September 2011 Chasing Wealth            F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsbyunderline… revolves around an American dream that is centered on personal material wealth, which ultimately cannot coexist with happiness. This dream that anyone could go from nothing to something grew out of a period of rapid industrialization around the globe, the side effects of which were very often horrific working environments and unbridgeable gaps between the rich and the poor. The Great Gatsby conveys America’s reaction to, and progression of, this problem through the devices of capitalism, opulence, and greed. With the use of specific characters in the novel, Fitzgerald portrays both the desirable material aspect of the American dream in addition to the inability of the attainment of this dream to produce genuine happiness. In a time when millions of American people are struggling to merely get by, The Great Gatsby’s representation of an American dream that brings wealth as well as unhappiness, is extremely important.                       First, 20th century America developed out of a prosperous, yet brutal economic environment brought about by the age of industrialization in the wealthy countries of the world. The 1800s witnessed a vast expansion of the power that countries could hold. With the improvement of technology, the production capability of a nation grew to previously unimaginable heights. However, this improvement in technology which helped lead to an increase in the capital gains of wealthy business owners, came at the expense of the working class as a whole. No where else was this seen more clearly than in mid 19th century England. Writers such as Charles Dickens and John Stuart Mill highlighted the dichotomy between the affluent lifestyle of the business owners and the slum like living conditions of almost everyone else. Elizabeth Gaskell, in Mary Barton, wrote about this very difference. After describing the luxurious lifestyle of the business owners, and the very minor affect that the burning down of one of their factories has on them, she tells of the altogether opposite situation of the workers: “There is another side to this picture. There were homes over which the Carsons’ fire threw a deep, terrible gloom; the homes of those who would fain work, and no man gave unto them—the homes of those to whom leisure was a curse” (95). The description above leaves the reader with the sense of the near impossibility of someone escaping the horrible conditions of the working class. Such citizens lived in mere shacks in large cities such as Manchester and London where the streets were filled with trash and waste. These are the conditions out of which the American dream was born. America was a place where an individual could go to escape the grips of poverty and make something of himself. There was an ideal that the division between the rich and the poor was not set in stone. If a man worked hard enough, he could gain the same wealth and apparent happiness of those who were born with it. No matter what background someone was born into, they could have the goal of reaching the top. That is the essence of the American dream, and that is also the problem with the American dream. Although it created the possibility of better financial circumstances, it did not lay out the instructions for how to live a happy and content life, and therefore, the values of wanting more and more began to take hold of individuals as well as societies.                       Second, Fitzgerald sets The Great Gatsby in one of the most opulent ages of American society. The years just before the Great Depression were a period of incredible consumption. It was the height of American capitalism, and lay at the heart of the American dream. In 1776, almost two centuries before Fitzgerald’s time, Adam Smith published his treatise on the current state of economics in the world entitled the Wealth of Nations. In the essay, Smith states that, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer” (49). This very idea of consumerism is displayed throughout The Great Gatsby. As Nick observes the preparation that goes into one of Gatsby’s parties, consumerism can almost be seen as a character in and of itself: “Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiter in New York …. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour, if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb” (Fitzgerald, pp. 43-44). The image produced is one that indicates that no expenses were ever spared, even for the most trivial devices. And rather than taking a trivial role in the story itself, material items such as the orange squeezer, cars, lights boats, and food take on a central role in the story. Such items are symbols of status, and thusly, a measurement of an individuals importance in society. Consequently, Fitzgerald’s novel is able to focus the reader’s attention onto one of the unfortunate results of such successful capitalism and its extravagant effects. This consequence is greed. The accomplishment of inserting oneself into the upper echelons of society is not enough anymore. The material wealth that provides a family with a healthy and sufficient subsistence is insufficient. As Adam Smith said, consumption must continue. Therefore, the idea of ‘more’ is planted into the individuals mind, and the ability to reach the original goal of material wealth and happiness becomes impossible.                       Third, the unfulfilling nature of the American dream can be seen throughout the narrative in the characters of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson, each of whom falls victim to the grandeur of the American dream. The opulence and status takes hold of each of their lives until happiness simply becomes an unattainable dream. In Gatsby’s first introduction into the story, he is shrouded by a cloud of mystery and extravagance. No one knows anything concrete about him. At his parties, rumors jump from table to table about who Gatsby is and what means he could possibly have taken in order to gain such a fortune. His image, in terms of wealth, from the outside was about as perfect as one could hope during the time. He was in the top tier of society, his money giving him a great deal of power, and yet, he died alone, unhappy, and without that which he wanted above all else, Daisy. Ultimately, when Nick is able to discover the truth about Gatsby’s life, it seems to be a life of constant insecurity and permanent dissatisfaction with the life he has. As a teen, while working as a clam digger along the shore of Lake Superior, Nick describes how James Gatz’s mind would run wild at night, “The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor” (105). He was taken by dreams of ‘ineffable gaudiness’. If only he could attain this material wealth, he would be happy. As it turned out, though, the happiness begot by the material wealth he did gain was only ephemeral. Till the day he died, he was driven by what he could not have. The subject of Gatsby’s ultimate desires, Daisy Buchanan, reveals to the reader a similar, yet separate drawback to the American dream. In her youth, Daisy had fallen madly in love with Gatsby, but Gatsby was poor and he knew that Daisy could not take him because of this. In his absence, she married Tom Buchanan, a successful businessman from a wealthy family. Living with her husband Tom in East Egg Village, she lived an affluent and comfortable life. As far as American capitalism and the American dream are concerned, it was an ideal arrangement. But that is exactly what it was, an arrangement, built and maintained without love or happiness. Tom Buchanan has an affair with Myrtle Wilson, a situation which Daisy is fully aware of, though she does not know who exactly the mistress is. When Gatsby reintroduces himself into her life, she jumps into his dream and for a moment it seems that that they can live happily together without a second thought. But when a confrontation inevitably arises between Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy, everyone is violently brought back to reality. Daisy learns of Gatsby’s dishonest means of making his fortune and reverts back to the safety of her arrangement with Tom. Finally, Myrtle Wilson’s brief appearances as Tom Buchanan’s mistress, are possibly the most telling situations with regard to the greed-obsessed characteristic of the American dream. When Nick meets her for the first time, she engages in a conversation in which she describes her thoughts on her husband, ‘“The only crazy I was was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake. He borrowed somebody’s best suit to get married in and never even told me about it, and the man came after it one day when he was out’” (39). Her husband, George Wilson, is a kind, soft-spoken gentleman, who owns a car repair shop, but he does not have extravagant wealth and he does not have status. Myrtle sees him as below her; he couldn’t even afford his own suit for their wedding. She is appalled and offended at this frugality. To be associated with someone as low and base as George Wilson is simply unacceptable. The image of wealth is more important than happiness and quality of character. All of these characters’ lives come to an interconnected and tragic conclusion in which no one is left content, and those who are still alive, are left wanting.                        In summary, the American dream represented the idea that an individual, through hard work and perseverance, could escape the grips of poverty and create a life for himself and his family. The Great Gatsby’s numerous images of material wealth and luxury display the often unsatisfying results of such material pursuits. Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson each represent an aspect of the lack of fulfillment that the American dream can bring. In conclusion, Fitzgerald’s novel portrays an American dream that, through its unilateral pursuit of wealth and status, leaves its pursuers in want of true happiness and loving companionship. While achieving greater equality in America is a goal worth pursuing, this search for equality cannot become overwhelmed by greed and an uncontrollable desire for dollar bills and reputations, for these ends are the antitheses to real equality and success.    needs Works Cited…see samples in Modules for format for this page Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2003.   Gaskell, Elizabeth. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. London: Penguin, 1998.   Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edwin Cannan,             ed. 1904. Library of Economics and Liberty. 26 September 2011.

6. Paper 1 Preparation
6.10. Module 6.10: Using Description and Example
Instructions: Review this information to give you a sense of using description as a method of development.

Writing a Narrative composition appeals to one of humankind’s basic instincts, the impulse to share stories. Sometimes the aim of the story-teller is simply to entertain, to provide a moment of escape from the business of the day or the horrors of the night, but sometimes the aim of the story-teller is to instruct, to help others in their understanding of something. The best part of teaching in this way is that our listeners’ natural resistance to heeding the words of others is low and they are not always aware that they are being taught anything until it’s too late – we’ve got them.

The skills needed to narrate a story well are not entirely the same as the skills needed to write a good essay. Some wonderful short fiction writers are not particularly good essayists and vice versa. Still, it is useful to look at those elements that make up a good narrative and know how to apply what we learn toward making our essays as dramatic as possible whenever that is appropriate.

Review, also, the elements of the Personal Essay , as the personal essay and the narrative essay have much in common.

 

Descriptive Elements

The ability to describe something convincingly will serve a writer well in any kind of essay situation. The most important thing to remember is that your job as writer is to show, not tell. If you say that the tree is beautiful, your readers are put on the defensive: “Wait a minute,” they think. “We’ll be the judge of that! Show us a beautiful tree and we’ll believe.” Do not rely, then, on adjectives that attempt to characterize a thing’s attributes. Lovely, exciting, interesting – these are all useful adjectives in casual speech or when we’re pointing to something that is lovely, etc., but in careful writing they don’t do much for us; in fact, they sound hollow.

Let nouns and verbs do the work of description for you. With nouns, your readers will see; with verbs, they will feel. In the following paragraph, taken from George Orwell’s famous anti-imperialist essay, “Shooting an Elephant,” see how the act of shooting the elephant delivers immense emotional impact. What adjectives would you expect to find in a paragraph about an elephant? big? grey? loud? enormous? Do you find them here? Watch the verbs, instead. Notice, too, another truth about description: when time is fleeting, slow down the prose. See how long the few seconds of the shooting can take in this paragraph. You can read the entire text of George Orwell’s story by clicking HERE , and you can read additional essays by this famous author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four at “The Political Writings of George Orwell.”

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