Sample Scholarship Essays

Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, born in St. Paul, Minnesota, grew up in an upper-middle class family where he enjoyed the traditions of the upper classes, but not the financial ability to uphold those practices. Fitzgerald acquired his fame, almost overnight, with the publication of his first book, This Side of Paradise, in 1920. His extensive career began with the writing of stories for mass-circulation magazines, such as The Saturday Evening Post. That same year, he married Zelda Sayre, who later became one his major influences on his writing, along with literature, Princeton, and alcohol. In the summer of 1924, Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, a novel about the American dream.

This novel was written in Fitzgeralds own time. The reader is able to see his insight and artistic integrity in the way that which the novel is composed. He brings forth the values that he embraced at least partially in his own life, such as materialism and the magic of wealth, which are clearly placed in the characters of The Great Gatsby. The novel is almost a paradox of his own biography: a unique materialism in which men attempt to create happiness from material achievement. The novel received the most striking critical appraisal, just as predicted by Fitzgerald.

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This honorary event marked the climax of his fame, however, his reputation faded from then on. With the illness of his wife, he reflected his experiences in his further work, such as Tender Is the Night. Some other examples of his work include The Beautiful and Damned and The Love of the Last Tycoon. At the age of forty-four, Fitzgerald dies of a heart attack. Since his death, critics have come to see his work as a reflection of the American culture and of “The Twenties”, a noteworthy representation of his people that is saturated with meaning today.

II. The story of Gatsby takes place in the 1920s, a time that began with the closing of the bloodiest conflict the world had ever witnessed. The European society had suffered spiritually from the effects of World War I, yet life in America became a time of material demand. The twenties are best known as a decade when American business was riding high and increases in productivity brought hundreds of new products within the reach of the average consumer. The widespread impact of the stock market downturn heightened the popular view of the importance of the economy during the 1920s. Americans perceived business as the source of this new good life; thus, materialism grew. The fact that The Great Gatsby takes place during the actual life of Scott Fitzgerald is very significant to the story because in his world, the setting reveals the nature of the characters.

Much of the story is described about the West Egg and East Egg, two distinct locations of Long Island. Tom and Daisy Buchanan, the primary examples of the stable upper class, live in the wealthiest area of Long Island: East Egg. They are satisfied with their inherited traditions and long-term financial situation. Tom and Daisy lack the tastelessness that Gatsby is characteristic of. Jay Gatsby and Nick are residents of West Egg; both have acquired wealth in their lives yet do not have the sheer intelligence associated with prosperity. If looked at from a moral perspective, East Egg and West Egg both carry a kind of individual fault, whether it is rudeness or emptiness. New York City, home of the apartment of Toms mistress and the Plaza Hotel, is where money is made and where pleasure is gained.

Parties and social events take place there. The story also occurs in the home of Gatsby, a place that circulates a cycle of guests. The house is both meaningless and bland, almost an illusion created by money. In general, the setting is directly related to the main theme of the story: the American dream, in the sense that each character, based on their residence, tries to prevail themselves greatly into the faux realm of riches. III. The Great Gatsby is a story that depicts the American dream while, at the same time, criticizes its values.

Nick Carraway, the narrator, is introduced as a functioning character of the book. He has moved form the Midwest to New York to learn the bond business. He learns that Gatsby, his next-door neighbor, held a past relationship with his cousin Daisy that eventually broke due to his shortfall of money. Daisy and Tom invite Nick for dinner where he learns of Toms affair with Myrtle. A short time after, Nick meets Gatsby at one of his parties where they become friends. In a while, Nick finds out that Gatsby is in need of a favor: Gatsby wishes to see Daisy to revive their relationship from the past. Since Gatsbys main thrill in life was to ultimately impress Daisy with his startling wealth, he was both terrified and eager to meet her at Nicks place.

They fall in love; oddly, Daisy is swayed by the amount of shirts he owns. Tom develops a suspicion, and Gatsby realizes his relationship with Daisy is not the same. The affair between Daisy and Gatsby comes out into the open during lunch at the Buchanans. Toms jealousy is let loose when he initiates a fight with Gatsby, and he forces Daisy to make a decision. Although she wishes to continue to enjoy both Tom and Gatsby, she chooses Tom, and Gatsbys dream is over.

At this time, Wilson discovers his wife has been unfaithful, and Myrtle escapes. A car, of which Daisy was the driver, kills her; Gatsby feels he must accept the blame for her. The crazed husband of Myrtle kills Gatsby, assuming he was the driver, and then kills himself. Seemingly, the only person who prepares a funeral for Gatsby is Nick. The others leave without any notice.

Disgusted by what he has seen, Nick realizes than a belief based on materialism shames the American dream more than fulfills it. He moves back to the Middle West. The conflict between the traditional rich and the newly rich shows the horrific effects of wealth. Each character bases his life around petty means, and is in conflict with each others illusions. Toms wealth and Daisys love for it surmount Gatsbys enduring dream, the American dream: the misconception that happiness can be recaptured if only one can make enough money. The practicality of it all is highly unlikely.

When one bases his life to the acquisition of money, all morals and realities are reduced to a realm of shallow thoughts. This is clearly seen in Gatsbys failure to regain Daisy. Outside forces, such fortune, money, and greed, interfere with the characters goals. The outcome of the story was fitting to the plot. Since the purpose of the novel is to demonstrate the failure of a life based on materialism, the characters end up failing in becoming true beings of their own will and power; money becomes their driving force.

This scenario serves a universal appeal to those whose only objective is money. IV. Perhaps the best example of the superficial attitudes involved in materialism is Daisy. She is lovely, delicate, and at the same time, arrogant. Daisy was born into her wealth and knows no other life.

Money is her main concern, just as Gatsby said “her voice rings with money.” Both Tom and Gatsby want her in their lives. However, Tom does not envision at her as a woman, but rather as a child. Hence, he has a mistress Myrtle who is Daisy’s complete opposite. Daisy possesses a cold heart with little concern for those around her, especially Gatsby. She was very much in love with him in their early stages of their past relationship, however she chose Tom, who has more money. Her attitude toward Gatsby revolves around the superficial illusion of what he represents, not what he truly is.

As for Tom, he and Daisy are more partners in a world of wealth than husband and wife. For that reason, she can never leave him for Gatsby, a West Egger. She wanders off every so often when her emotions seep through the cracks of her soul, yet her narrow-mindedness is brought back at the reminder of her husband. She is pulled away from Gatsby as the pressure of Tom, for she will never appreciate a life without wealth. Her perception of life lacks real moral values, as demonstrated by her superficial actions to numb herself to her husbands infidelity.

In the outcome, Daisy destroys Gatsbys goal, for she herself stands for the corrupted vision of distorted goals. Unfortunately, Daisy never realizes her problem of shallowness. Still married to Tom, she flees to New York at the death of Gatsby, living her life as an”obedient” wife. Being put in the setting of the story, I would have not acted as Daisy. The story has taught me how insignificant a life based on improper morals is. I would have followed my true initial feelings, in this case, love for Gatsby.

A life based on materialistic aspects is a waste of time; the person is not drawn to the qualities of the other person, but rather his possessions. V. Certainly the most central theme of The Great Gatsby is the American dream, or even further, its failure. The genuine American dream is a romantic expectation, a belief in the possibility of achieving goals and pleasure with hard work and dedication. However, this dream corrupts itself in the person of Gatsby. Fitzgeralds purpose in writing this novel was to demonstrate the path of this perception, and how it was overcome by the vulgar interest in wealth. Fame, money, reputation, and excitement are symbolic of the life of the characters.

Fitzgerald criticizes the fact that the power of society was solely dedicated to gain excesses of capital. The theme of the corruption of value is a main concern. The lives of the Buchanans, filled with material comforts and luxuries, and empty of purpose, represents this condition. Another theme that is closely related with materialism is the discovery of oneself. The Great Gatsby is a paradox.

Gatsby was neither great nor Gatsby; his real name was Gatz. This invention of a new soul is purely to obtain his dream: Daisy. He never discovered the real Gatz and the capabilities of his true spirit. “Gatsby” was clearly driven by money, and he was led to failure. Ultimately, his dream lives on, and even at the time of his death, Gatsby holds on to his faith.

His dream is so strong that it can uphold itself in any case. Hence, a third theme develops: the need for hope and dreams to give meaning to mans efforts. Striving towards some ideal is the way by which man can feel a sense of his own identity. The reader is able to grasp these concepts easily, and is left with one concern: Is it possible to love Gatsby and be critical of his dream at the same time? It is possible to love Gatsby for his strength and unselfish nature, yet still criticize him for his self-delusion. The disappointing mood of the book is constantly being maintained with the blindness of the characters. Even Gatsby never truly sees Daisy or himself, so blinded is he by his dream. Toms affair along with Daisy and Wilsons shows how unreal the material world is without necessary humane elements.

Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby
By: Scott Fitzgerald
Book Report By:
Claudia Yaeger
Mr. Clark C.P. English 11
Due October 22, 2001

1.) Title: The Great Gatsby
Published by: Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York
Author: Scott Fitzgerald
Where book was acquired: Wittenberg Library: Wausau Library.


2.) What type of book: Fiction, told in First Person.

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3.) Characters:
1.) Nick Carraway: (Direct Character) Nick is the main character telling us the story. He attended college at Yale University, and started a bond business in New York. He lives in West Egg, Long Island, the low part of the Island, near his cousin Daisy, who lives in East Egg. His neighbor is Jay Gatsby, Daisy’s lover, and he dates Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend. He also hates where he lives.


2.) Daisy Buchanan: (Indirect Character) Daisy is Nick’s second cousin, once removed, and absolutely loves Nick. She tries to set him up with her best friend Jordan Baker. She also married Tom Buchanan, Nick’s old classmate from college, and lives in the upper part of Long Island called East Egg. She is a well-respected girl, and is still in love with her ex-lover Jay Gatsby.


3.) Tom Buchanan: (Indirect Character) He is Daisy’s husband, and, an old classmate of Nick’s. A well-known rich sophisticated, and yet snobby and racist, businessman. Tom is having an affair with young Myrtle Wilson. Tom has suspicions of his wife Daisy and Jay Gatsby having an affair.
4.) Jay Gatsby: (Indirect Character) He is a rich man who always throws parties, and lives next door to Nick’s summer house in West Egg. In the beginning he is a quiet, well-respected, rich man, but in the end it turns out he has a history of crime, and wasn’t at all who he said he was. Gatsby is having an affair with Daisy Buchanan, and is very jealous of her husband Tom.


5.) Jordan Baker: (Indirect character) Jordan is a woman who acts very unfeminine. She smokes, drinks, swears, and is also a pro-golfer. She is quite the “modern woman,” and has been friends with Daisy for a long time. Nick Carraway and her become involved.


6.) Myrtle Wilson: (Indirect Character) George Wilson’s wife and Tom Buchanan’s lover. Her and her husband operate a garage fixing, or pumping gas into cars.


4.) Two main conflicts:
1.) Gatsby vs. Tom: Both Tom and Gatsby are in love with Daisy. Daisy is Gatsby’s lover from the past, and they were supposed to get married, but lost contact. Gatsby wants to marry her now that he found her, but she is already married to Tom Buchanan. Tom loves her, but also has a mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Gatsby thinks that Tom is not treating Daisy right, and wants her to go with him.
In the end Gatsby asks Daisy to go with him and she chooses to stay with Tom. Tom’s mistress dies when Gatsby and Daisy hit her with a car, and Tom stays with Daisy. After Gatsby is killed they leave town together.


2.) Nick vs. Society: Nick just moved to New York from the Midwest to start a business in bonds. When he gets there he realizes he hates it. He doesn’t like where he lives on Long Island, and doesn’t know that many people. His cousin Daisy introduces him to some of her friends, and he also attends one of his neighbor’s parties to meet people. A lot of the people he meets are crooked, and dishonest, and Nick isn’t used to that.

At Gatsby’s funeral Nick realizes that rich people have nothing. All they have to offer is money, and that’s it. When ever Gatsby had a party a lot of people would be there, but only his father and Nick attended his funeral. He sees that, all the people are interested in is money, parties, and fame, and it doesn’t matter where it comes from or who’s party they have to go to. Most of them have a hidden background that no one is to know about, and they want everyone to think that they are happy, when in fact, most of them aren’t.
5.) Setting:
Where: This book takes place on Long Island New York. Gatsby and Nick Carraway live in West Egg, Long Island, the less populated, unsettled part of town. Only the people of lower class live in West Egg, except for Gatsby’s mansion. Dick’s cousin Daisy and her husband Tom live in East Egg, Long Island, the upper class part of town. The people of higher societies live in this part of town.

When: 1922
6.) Plot:
Nick Carraway just moved to NY, from he Midwest, to learn the bond business. He buys a house in a town called West Egg, Long Island. West Egg is the lower class part of town, and Nick hates it there, but his neighbor Gatsby lives in a mansion. His cousin, Daisy Buchanan, lives in East Egg, Long Island, the upper class part of town. Shortly after he gets there his cousin invites him over for dinner. At Daisy’s house, Nick meets Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend. Daisy tries to hook them up. During dinner, the phone rings and it is Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan’s mistress. Shortly after dinner, Jordan leaves to her golf tournament.

A couple days later Tom takes Nick to the garage where Myrtle lives with her husband George. Nick sees that Myrtle is young, and beautiful, whereas George is very plain. A little while later Tom, Nick, Myrtle, and her sister go to Tom’s apartment in New York. They are sitting around in his apartment, and soon are all drunk. Then Myrtle starts saying Daisy’s name, and Tom hits her and breaks her nose.

A couple weeks go by, and Nick is invited to one of Gatsby’s parties. He goes there and talks with Jordan Baker. He learns that Gatsby throws big, fancy parties, but no one knows anything about him. Later that night Nick finally meets his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and they talk for a while.
One day Gatsby drives Nick into New York for lunch. While talking, Gatsby tells Nick that he is from the Midwest, and went to Oxford University in England. He also told him that he fought in the war, all of which Nick doesn’t believe. During lunch with Gatsby, Nick meets his associate, Meyer Wolfsheim, and learns that he was the one who fixed the World Series in 1919. Nick then thinks that Gatsby’s wealth comes from his connection to Meyer. Later Jordan tells Nick all about Gatsby and Daisy. She tells him how they used to be lovers, but she married Tom Buchanan, and that he still loved her. Nick then realized that Gatsby is his friend because Daisy was his cousin. She also tells him that Gatsby wants to see Daisy again, and that he should help.

Nick invites Daisy to his house so she can reunite with Gatsby. Gatsby gets a little nervous, but Nick tells him no to worry. When Daisy gets there she is surprised. After a while she gets used to him and they start to talk, and they end up talking all night.

After this Gatsby tells Nick the truth about himself. First he told him about how he and Daisy were once in love. Then he tells him how his real name is Jay Gatz, and that he was the son of a farmer. He also told him that he dropped out of college, and befriended a millionaire, which would explain his wealth. One day Nick goes over to Gatsby’s house and finds him talking to Tom. He sees that Tom does not like Gatsby, and no longer trusts Daisy alone.
Nick, Jordan, and Gatsby are all invited to Tom and Daisy’s house for lunch. Daisy and Gatsby cannot hide their love for each other, and Tom sees his. Tom gets very angry from seeing this. They all decide to go to the Plaza hotel, in New York, and get a suite. There, Tom and Gatsby yell at each other, and Tom makes sure that everyone knows that he never went to Oxford. Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy doesn’t love him, and that she only married him because she didn’t have any money, and didn’t want to wait for him anymore. Daisy then chooses to stay with Tom, even though she is not happy. Gatsby is heartbroken. Tom then sends Daisy home with Gatsby, knowing that nothing will happen, and on the way home they hit Myrtle Wilson, and kill her. To protect Daisy from Tom, Gatsby takes the blame for the accident, even though it was Daisy who was driving, and stays at Tom’s to prevent him from beating Daisy.

Nick and Gatsby talk at Gatsby’s house, and Gatsby is really depressed. While at work, Nick worries about Gatsby, and decides to go find him. Meanwhile, Tom told George that Gatsby killed his wife, and where to find him. When Nick gets to Gatsby’s house, he finds him shot to death, and a few yards away is George Wilson’s body. George went there to kill Gatsby, and also killed himself.

Nick goes to Gatsby’s funeral, and nobody shows up except for Gatsby’s father. Nick is disgusted on how so many people can go to Gatsby’s parties, but no one can show up for his funeral. Tom and Daisy moved out of town, and Nick broke up with Jordan to move out west.


7.) Two things I learned from this book:
1.) I learned that money doesn’t bring you anything but unhappiness. Gatsby had all the money in the world, but he didn’t have any real friends, except for Nick, and was left alone in the world. He lost Daisy, and ended up dying with nothing.

2.) The second thing I learned is that you should never have an affair when you are married. It only makes things a lot worse. Like in Tom and Daisy’s situation. Daisy ran Myrtle over, and Tom killed Gatsby, by telling George that Gatsby killed his wife, knowing that George would go after him.


8.) Two main themes:
1.) One possible theme could be, don’t waste your life on riches and material things, spend more time trying to get to know yourself, and others around you.

2.) Another possible theme is, money doesn’t make you popular, or well known. Like Gatsby, he threw all these parties that were crowded with people, but when his funeral was, only Nick and his father showed up. You can’t buy your friends.

Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby For centuries, men and women from all over the world have seen in America a place where they could realize their dreams. We each dream our own American Dream. For some it is a vision of material prosperity, for others it can be a feeling of secure and safe. It can be the dream of setting goals. It can be about social justice, as Martin Luther King Jr.

gave the speech of I have a dream, says In spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. We believe in the American Dream because it does not fit with any temporary contentedness, rather it brings us the power for improvement and equality. However, why does the American Dream still fall? The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is considered as the representative of the decline of the American Dream, can give us some ideas of what it is about. The Great Gatsby describes the failure of American Dream, from the point of view that American political ideas conflict with actual conditions that exist. For whereas American democracy is based on the idea of equality among people, the truth is that social discrimination still exists and divisions among the classes cannot be overcome. Myrtle Wilson`s attempt to break into the Buchanans fails at last.

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She struggles herself to fit into an upper social group, pretends to be rich and scorns people from her own class. She does all these because she wants to find a place for herself in Tom Buchanan`s class but she does not succeed in doing so. Nearly all the characters in the story are materialistic and this included Fitzgerald himself. Fitzgerald mirrored his nation`s new attitude toward money: he was considerably more interested in making and spending it than in accumulating it. This is exactly what Tom and Daisy Buchanans are behaving. The roaring twenties is immortalized as a time of entertainment of a glamorous movie stars and singers, high fashion, leisure activities, numerous radio shows and parties.

In “Highlight of American Literature”, Dean Curry writes: “The Great Gatsby reflects Fitzgerald`s deeper knowledge, his recognition that wanting to be happy does not insure one`s being so and that pursuit of entertainment may only cover a lot of pain.(182) Popular culture thrived in this decade because of the need to escape. People wanted fun and absorbing kinds of things to take their minds off the bleak world they saw around them. Basically, this dream world for most people, is to get lost when problems are getting too big to handle. Fantasies serve a foundation for all those who do not want to face the pressures of living in a modern world. Benjamin Franklin believed that the only way to true wealth was through hard work. He also believed very strongly, that all people were created equal and had the same opportunities available to them to achieve the American Dream. However, for our central character, Jay Gatsby, this is not quite true. Gatsby tries very hard to transform himself from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, an Oxford man.

He wants to erase his history but in the other side, he wants to repeat the past. He attempts to delete his past record because he does not want to involve in poverty anymore. However, on the other hand he longs for the past because in the past, he had a love affair with Daisy. He knows that he could not marry her because they are of different social class. He leaves her and achieves his American Dream.

Once he becomes rich, he moves to the opposite bay to Daisy`s house just want to be near to Daisy. He holds extravagant parties, hoping he could see her one day. He, himself, does not attend his parties but watches them from a distance. Gatsby`s American Dream is not material possession. He only comes into riches so that he can fulfil his true American Dream, Daisy.

However, he fails to make his dream to come true in the end. The failure of the American Dream is unavoidable, for reality cannot keep up with ideals, but also because the ideals are in any case usually too fantastic to be realized. The American Dream also criticizes that it is also time for idealists to wake up to reality. When the crash of October 1929 ended the biggest speculative binge in the nation`s history, it brought the roaring twenties to a close. The thirties, remembered as the decade of economic depression, poverty and unemployment, is also the time our story “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams takes place.

Williams presents us a story in The Glass Menagerie with four characters who seem to avoid reality more than facing it. The four Wingfields, including the father, who abandoned his family to join the merchant marine years before, are all mashed by poverty and personal problems. Amanda has had to bring up two children alone. Tom’s shoe-warehouse job supports the whole family. Laura has been so perplexed by a leg-brace throughout high school that she can neither endure secretarial school nor flirt with boys.

And she is truly terrified by the world outside that she believes it can never include her. The play deals with issues and emotions that practically everyone has had to face: Freedom towards the burden of responsibility; love to the family towards the need to live your own life. Tom longs to leave home and make his own adventures. He hates his job in the warehouse and spends most of his time working on poetry and escapes into movies. Tom and Laura have a close relationship. He cannot leave like his father without regrets because he is too devoted to Laura, who has been crippled both by physical disfigurement and her own extreme shyness. Laura is very shy and does not want to be involved with the world outside of their apartment.

She collects tiny glass animals, and she treasures them more than actually participating in daily contact with the public. She is like a wounded animal, mirrors her own fears of failure. Amanda, an erstwhile Southern belle, clings to the past, as she constantly reminds Tom and Laura of her seventeen gentlemen callers. Though Amanda often retreats to memories of her past, she worries of the present situation. She insists Tom should find Laura a husband before he abandons them, fearing that Laura will wind up to be an gold maid. Although her own marriage brought her nothing but poverty, still she believes a husband can be salvable for Laura. In the story, we can see that the American Dream does not exist – Jim tries but the Wingfields have almost given up on their lives.

They avoid reality and are so involved in their illusory world that they have no time to work on their goals. In the end, it appears that Laura is finally overcoming her shyness, but as she knows Jim is engaged, she returns back to her Victrola which is also the symbol of her fantasy world. Tom determines to leave but he sticks too much to the past memory, especially his memories with Laura. Jim is the only one in the story that faces reality. He believes in himself.

He knows that as he works hard, one day he will achieve great success. He said, “Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is another. I am disappointed but I’m not discouraged.” (116). The Glass Menagerie is simple on its surface it tells a single incident in the life of a small family. It has no heroic characters like what we see in The Great Gatsby. The poorly born characters in The Great Gatsby, such as James Gatz and Myrtle Wilson desire to change and to go away from the valley of ashes. Gatsby`s dream comes from his past and he will sacrifice everything just for the accomplishment of his goals, while Amanda, Laura and Tom are just too obsessed to their past events.

Maybe we can conclude the decline of the American Dream by what Fitzgerald said in his late life, France was a land, England a people, but America, having about it still the quality of that idea, was harder to utter it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart.

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