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Unique topics of The Great Gatsby

02 Nov 2016We help students

Preparing my class essay for The Great Gatsby a few years ago, I found that so much has been written about the novel, it was hard for me to think of new perspectives to talk about. I did not want to write about the same tired topics about the American dream, the autobiographical nature of the novel, the importance of the setting in the novel, the reliability of Nick as a narrator and compare and contrast essays against two men who represented different sections of society.

When I took a step back and forced myself to think a bit out of the box, however, I came up with a few approaches that interested me, the other approach you can read here: Great Gatsby popular essay topics. While my essay is done with, I would like to help you guys out there looking for new and unique topics on The Great Gatsby with some of my ideas.

Ideas on Cross-Gender Comparisons

The following characters are most often paired in compare and contrast essays: Nick and Jay, Tom and Jay, Tom and George, Daisy and Jordan and Daisy and Myrtle.

I thought it would be possible to bring a fresh angle by comparing characters across genders, such as:

  • Daisy and Tom – the overlying theme could be how Daisy and Tom repair their fractured marriage over and over again, despite multiple affairs on both sides, because they come from the same social class. In other words, how money is more important than love in The Great Gatsby.
  • Myrtle and George – this pair does not have the luxury of patching up their broken marriage, because they have no money. In other words, Fitzgerald seems to be saying that without money, there is greater vulnerability to conflict and tragedy in Gatsby’s world.
  • Daisy and Gatsby – while the symbolization of Daisy as Gatsby’s American Dream is a common theme in essays, looking at this relationship like a meditation on change. Gatsby is unwilling to change his course of the pursuit of Daisy, even though she has moved on. The rest of the novel is also about changes and transformations, which can be explored further.

Timeless Themes in the Novel that Are Still Relevant Today

  • Imagination in The Great Gatsby – It is not far-fetched to say that imagination could be considered the central theme of the novel. The self-created persona of Gatsby, the ideal that he imagines in Daisy (which she cannot live up to), the notion of Gatsby’s that Time is a truth that will exist independent of an individual’s point of view (in this case Daisy’s) are all acts of his imagination.
  • Gatsby as a playwright – While Gatsby has been ironically compared with Jesus within the fabric of the novel, it is also possible to look at Gatsby as a playwright who sees himself as someone who can not only create an entire persona for himself, but also subject Time, Daisy and their reality to his own desires and script.
  • You could also consider subjects like Adultery in the novel and compare it with adultery in another well-known novel that deals with the theme, such as The Scarlet Letter. Consider analysing the women in The Great Gatsby, especially in light of the roles of women in the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties.

I eventually chose to write on another topic, but these are some of the topics that I would still be interested in exploring. There is really a lot that you can talk about in your essay if you look at the larger sweeping ideas and see how relevant they still are to the human condition. That is what makes this novel one of the Great American Novels of all time.


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