Essay Planning Grid

Place Message Evidence
West Egg The corrupt            American Dream “the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.”

“Who is this Gatsby anyhow… Some big bootlegger?… I didn’t hear it. I imagined it. A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootleggers.”

Valley of Ashes The failed American Dream “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens…”  

“…finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.”

East Egg The false American Dream “Distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belong”

“Their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire”

“East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety.” 


Character Idea Evidence
Gatsby. You can not ever reinvent yourself. The colossal vitality of his illusion”

“Gatsby looked with vacant eyes”

Daisy. Not everyone is who they appear to be. Strained counterfeit of perfect ease”

“She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life …”

Nick. You can never fully hide from your true self. “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

“I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.” – Jordan to Nick

Idea Message Evidence
The American Dream Even by working hard, things don’t always get better “finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air”
Illusion Not everyone is who they say they are
Greenlight You don’t always get what you want in life, even if you completely devote yourself to it
Language Feature Idea Evidence
Imagery The image of Daisy is breaking apart in front of Gatsby’s eyes. “He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.”
Symbolism – White Daisy is ‘white’ she is blank, boring and a void of emotion. “She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life”
Event Why it impacted the characters Evidence
Gatsby’s Death Nick was so consumed by his presence and his life, that once Gatsby died he did not know what to do. Most of those reports were a nightmare — grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and untrue.”
The Hotel Room Everything was finally brought to the attention of all the characters, forcing them to see the truth whether they liked it or not. “… he began to talk excitedly to Daisy, denying everything, defending his … with every word she was drawing further and further into herself,”

“only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room.”

told it to me because “Jay Gatsby.” had broken up like glass against Tom’s hard malice, and the long secret extravaganza was played out.”

Nick’s first encounter with Gatsby It introduced Gatsby to the story and started Nicks fascination with him. “He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way … Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of the dock.”

“He smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.”

Relationship Idea  Evidence
Daisy and Tom Understand how shallow and weak Daisy was, and how conceded Tom was. “Her eyes fell on Jordan and me with a sort of appeal, as though she realized at last what she was doing — and as though she had never, all along, intended doing anything at all.”

“I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game”

Gatsby and Daisy How desperate and obsessed Gatsby was, and how superficial Daisy was. “paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.”

“Just mention my name. Or present a green card. I’m giving out green ——”

Gatsby and Nick How selfish Gatsby was and how judgemental Nick was. “I used to laugh sometimes.”— but there was no laughter in his eyes ——” to think that you didn’t know.”

“I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

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