Essay planning

Describe at least one key character in the written text.                                       Explain how this character helped you to understand an important idea.

Character Idea Evidence
Nick Illusion-You can never fully hide from your true self “I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.”

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


“I lived at West Egg, the – well, the less fashionable”

Gatsby Illusion-you can not ever reinvent yourself, this illusion he hides behind will fall away “He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s,”

“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”

“This fella’s a regular Belasco…What realism… didn’t cut the pages.”

Daisy Illusion- Not everyone is who they appear to be ” Her voice is full of money,”

“I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.”

Great Gatsby Essay Planning

Describe at least one important character in the written text.                         Explain how this character is revealed to you throughout the text.

Daisy  White -“High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl”

-“The windows were ajar and gleaming white”

Gatsby  American Dream, -“This fella’s a regular Belasco…What realism… didn’t cut the pages.”

-“He stretched out his arms…distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away,”

Nick Narrative point of view, – “I lived at West Egg, the – well, the less fashionable of the two”

-“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me,Just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”


“Perfection is an illusion which is needed to disguise the emptiness within”. The world famous novel  “The Great Gatsby” written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tells the story of Nick Caraway’s summer  in 1920’s New York. Thrpughout the novel there are three main characters

Annotating and identifying Language Features in passages.

Select three passages from the book (about a paragraph or two in length) that we have NOT annotated as a class. Annotate these passages and identify the language features that Fitzgerald uses. Explain the effect of these features and why he may have chosen to use them.

Passage 1:

“He’s a bootlegger,” said the young ladies, moving somewhere between his cocktails and his flowers. “One time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to Von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil. Reach me a rose, honey, and pour me a last drop into that there crystal glass.”

(1) Gatsby’s guests often speak about Gatsby’s past even though no one is really sure who he was. This statement introduces one of the subjects of this chapter: Gatsby’s biography. These “young ladies” are accusing Gatsby of coming to his money illegally.Despite being between “his cocktails and his flowers,” the ladies have no problem criticising the man who is hosting them. In this line Fitzgerald uses irony to make the readers stop and think about what has just been said, or to emphasize a central idea. He would have used this language feature to add to the idea of people being judgmental at that time but still not caring. The ladies accuse and cliticise Gatsby of illegally procuring alcohol, which is outlawed during this time, while at the same time, they have no problem drinking the beverage they had just criticised him for allegedly smuggling.

(2) The rumours about Gatsby are getting more and more wild. Paul von Hindenburg is the German President at this time, so this is just mindless gossip. So, according to the rumours Gatsby is either:
-Kaiser Wilhelm’s cousin
-A German spy
-An American soldier who “killed a man”
-A bootlegger
-Nephew of Von Hindenburg
-Or second cousin to the devil (The “second cousin to the devil” line indicates that most people are just gossiping about Gatsby’s background for the fun of it, but there actually is very little known about him.)

(3) Fitzgerald uses this passage to show the hypocrisy of 1920s high society. The women are slandering Gatsby and putting him down, but apparently aren’t too good to drink his alcohol or enjoy his hospitality. The decadence and immorality of high society during the 1920s is major theme within the novel.

Passage 2:

“He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher — shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.”

(1) In this passage, Gatsby’s shirts represent new life and opportunities for Daisy, and Caraway (Fitzgerald?) lapses into poetry. The alliteration of ‘sheer silk’ and ‘fine flannel’ serves to emphasize the abundance of fabric.Alliteration focuses readers’ attention on a particular section of text. Alliterative sounds create rhythm and mood and can have particular connotations.She realises that she could’ve had this amazing life with Gatsby and compares it to her life with Tom and becomes sad. The shirts are symbolic of nostalgia and Daisy’s past life with Gatsby.

(2) Just as the books in his library are props, in the “play” of Gatsby’s life, his shirts are his costume. He has shirts for any occasion, to fit whichever scene occurs. They represent the scripted aspect of his life, but also the façade behind which Gatsby hides. No one sees the true James Gatz because they are too busy being dazzled and distracted by his “beautiful shirts.”

(3) ‘Stormily’ is an  adverb to describe Daisy’s response to Gatsby, his wealth and the vitality of his life (as symbolised by his fine and colourful shirts). Being reunited with him (and being reminded of his naive dreams?) instigates an emotional storm within her.

Passage 3:

“As I went over to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” 

(1) It is getting awkward again with Daisy. His perfect imagination of the day they would reunite is far off than how it actually is going.Gatsby could be bewildered by his love for Daisy, finally becoming real in the flesh and blood, or it could be revealing the true nature of Gatsby’s feelings. Now that Daisy is with him, she is more real than the Daisy that he’s been building his life up to impress for the last five years. Five years is a long time, and people change, and the Daisy he loved before may not be the same Daisy that is with him now.

(2) The idea of Daisy that Gatsby has been cultivating all these years is an illusion of perfection, of immense “vitality” and life. Daisy may not be living up to the expectations that Gatsby has set for her, expectations that have been built and imagined upon from their love affair from five years ago. It’s possible that Daisy has grown out of the woman that she was then, and isn’t the same girl that Gatsby is so madly in love with.In these five years, Gatsby only knew Daisy through his imagination and memory, so Nick believes that Gatsby built her up to be more than she actually is. Nick suspects there is no way Daisy could live up to Gatsby’s expectations.

(3) On the surface, his love has been intensified by separation, yearning, and illusion; however, it is implied in “beyond everything” that his love has become deathless and surreal, detached from the actual lover. The desperateness in the expressions “decking it out with every bright feather” and “ghostly heart” suggests the dangerous, destructive nature of love.The author is also referring to a typical phenomenon seen in romantic figures: romantic love is very often much more about love as a splendid ideal than the beloved, a particular agent of love. “Creative passion” means that greater passion has been generated with past memories as its raw material.


Explain what Fitzgerald is trying to say about society through illusion

Explain what you think Fitzgerald is trying to say about society by presenting the idea of illusion so thoroughly throughout the text.

Fitzgerald is trying to say that there is a social divide and lower class people have a this dream of being like the upper class people, this is shown  through the idea of illusion .In the novel there are three areas which represent three different social classes: East Egg represent the ‘old money’. These people inherited their money from generation before and are considered the top of the social classes. These people such as Daisy and tom are represented through the colour white to show that they have no true connections, it is all made up of materialism and the colour gold because they have the money and are actually living rich, luxurious lives.then we have the West Egg, this side of the bay is where all the ‘new money’ people live. These people were born into middle to lower class families and wanted to achieve the ‘American Dream’ so they worked hard and eventually built their lives to be ‘rich’. At least to look like they are rich. This side of town is mainly shown through Gatsby and how everything he has is ‘fake’ and for show. West Egg is represented by the colours Yellow and Green. Finally there is the Valley Of Ashes, this is where all the lower class people live. This side of town is mainly represented by Myrtle and her husband George Wilson. These hard working people are almost like the West Eggers because eat one point in their lives they would have all being the same social class. People such as Myrtle and George have hope but very little of it, therefore they are given the symbol of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes. This pair of eyes is a massive billboard which is located in this setting. These eyes also represent the ‘American Dream’ and corruption.

Most importantly these eyes represent god because it is almost if “they are always watching”.Throughout the novel  we see dreams and fantasies that the character make it seem possible, including Gatsby being able to relive the past. There’s also Nick’s dream of the old America: the place to which you go home for the holidays, “my Middle West . . . where dwellings are still called through decades by a family’s name.” There’s the vague dream of art represented,  by the photographer Mr. McKee, by Gatsby’s shirts, and through jazz. And on the margins are the dreams of intellectual life, business success, and family happiness. Gatsby is magnetic in part because he accepts everyone, no matter what it is they idealise: with a smile, Nick says, Gatsby “understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that he had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” Only later do we realize that Gatsby is so open-minded because he is the ultimate dreamer and pretender. As much as we want to believe that anyone can be who they want and that everybody can be accepted into society, in the set time period of 1920’s many people were judgmental and unaccepting. This idea of judging everybody is shown through the character Nick Caraway. At the start of the novel Nick convinces the reader that he is trusting and non judgemental, but he soon portrays his image of being this non judgmental person.

Describe three symbols


Yellow is the meaning of jealousy and happiness. Jealousy is shown throughout book by Gatsby, Nick, Daisy, Tom, Myrtle, and George Wilson and happiness is constantly portrayed by the same characters.Gold is often used to represent wealth, high-class and expensive value. Gold can show the accomplishment of being in first place, or also  honouring and commending. Both yellow and gold are closely used throughout society.Gold is used to represent success and money while yellow is used to represent the ‘fools gold’. gold is traditional ‘old money’. Whereas yellow is just used for show and isn’t actually valuable unlike gold. “It was a big yellow car” This quote describes Gatsby’s car and the colour of it; yellow. His car is one of the many symbols that represent Gatsby wanting to get in to the high-class society but failing to do so. Yellow is not just the colour of money, but also of destruction. Yellow is the colour of the car that runs down Myrtle. The glasses of Eckleburg, looking over the wasteland of America, are yellow. This dual symbolism clearly associates money with destruction; the ash heaps are the filthy result of the decadent lifestyle led by the rich. This symbol appears throughout the text because it is constantly reminding the reader that Gatsby represent ‘fools gold’/ yellow and Daisy represents Gold.The symbol helps us to understand that Gatsby is false and his life is an illusion. Whilst Gold represents Daisy and helps us to understand that her items are real and aren’t just there for the show and to add to her wealth. Unlike Gatsby.

Green Light: 

The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock represents the “unattainable dream,” the “dream that must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.” Green is a colour that represents hope, dreams, it also represents a new life and what could happen in the future. “He stretched out his arms… I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light,” In this quote Gatsby represents a hopeful seeker, reaching out for his dreams which he can not get; Daisy. The green light appears in chapters 1,5 and 9. It appears in these chapters to signify that Gatsby’s dream of being with Daisy is slowly fading away more and more. Until it is completely covered by mist.”If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” This quote tells the reader that the hope for getting Daisy back is gone, although Gatsby does not yet know this. The symbols help us to understand Gatsby. This is because the green light shows how hopeful Gatsby is. It shows that Gatsby is a dreamer, he sees things but can’t grasp them. He can’t grasp things such as Daisy or her love, the ‘American Dream’ he has chased since he was 17 or the wealth and the social status he wants.  The green light represents illusion because Gatsby is so caught up in his fake life, that he keeps dreaming and he thinks that everything is so close and that everything that he wants is achievable when in reality its far away. His dreams and goals will just stay a dream because it is not possible to rewind or relive the past, it is impossible for Gatsby to live in East Egg with the ‘old money’, because he wasn’t born into that social class and that will always stay the same. 


In the Great Gatsby flowers are used to materialise the rich and reference hope.”he broke off and began to walk up and down a desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded flavours and crushed flowers” this quote means that Gatsby’s dream are ‘crushed’ and he is just walking past them not realising that they are no longer achievable. Flowers re all through out the novel, such as Daisy ,Caraway, and Myrtle are all flowers. This symbol tends to seem during or after major relationship events. The flowers seem to signify that either there is still hope and love or that both of those things are no longer in the relationship. Flowers represent different things for the characters, such as: to Nick flowers represent that he wants status and love. For Tom, he tends to ‘collect’ them: Daisy and Myrtle. This symbol helped me realise that Tom doesn’t appreciate his love interests, yet he likes to show of that he is married to Daisy. Since Daisy is a worthy price, almost like a trophy. This symbol can be related to illusion because flowers are used to represent love and hope but throughout the novel love is constantly portrayed by Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Jordan, Myrtle and Nick. Flowers also portray hope because when Daisy and Gatsby first meet in a room full of flowers, it is like they still have hope yet it is the first time they see each other since Daisy got married to Tom. So there is actually no hope for Daisy and Gatsby to fall in love again just like they were five years ago.

Describe three important relationships and what they revealed about illusion


Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby:



The relationship at the very heart of The Great Gatsby novel is Gatsby and Daisy long-lost connection, or more specifically, Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy. A love that drives the novel’s plot and Gatsby’s adult life. Five years before the start of the novel, Jay Gatsby (who had learned from Dan Cody how to act like one of the wealthy) was stationed in Louisville before going to fight in World War 1. In Louisville, he met Daisy Fay, a beautiful young heiress, who took him for someone of her social class. Gatsby maintained the lie, which allowed their relationship to progress. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy and soon enough they kissed: “Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.” From this point onwards: “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.” But this summer love didn’t las for long since Gatsby had to leave for the war and by the time he returned to the US in 1919, Daisy had married Tom Buchanan.Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship represents illusion because Gatsby has tried to relive the past and be in love with Daisy again. Where as it can’t be reality anymore because Gatsby isn’t wealthy, he has this ‘American Dream’ that can’t be reached. Their relationship is also an illusion because Daisy is married to Tom, and they have a baby girl together: Pammy. This relationship is fake because Daisy’s emotions are no longer real. She says things such as she loves Gatsby because she feels pressured to. For Gatsby and Daisy to runaway together like they want to, Gatsby want Daisy to admit that the past five years never happened and that she never loved Tom. Daisy doesn’t tell Gatsby what he wants to hear because she can’t. Because she did love Tom and one stage, and Gatsby too. Their relationship reveals illusion because Gatsby’s persona is fake, it is false. His whole life is made up of lies and materialistic things to make him look wealthy when really he is the same boy he used to be when he was with his family. He can’t relive the past or change it. Which is what he is trying to do. 

Myrtle and George Wilson: 

Myrtle Wilson is very materialistic. She is unsatisfied with her husband’s small repair shop and doesn’t like her life as the wife of a mechanic.She is desperate to improve her life so when she gets the opportunity to climb up the social ladder through Tom, she takes the opportunity. George Wilson on the other hand is a more meek man. He seems to be content with his life…that is until he discovers that his wife is cheating on him. Myrtle and George seem to have a loveless marriage, this is because Myrtle thinks that she is too good for George and isn’t happy with his social class, therefore she doesn’t love him. An earthy, vital, and voluptuous woman, Myrtle is desperate to improve her life.  She has had a long-term affair with Tom Buchanan, and is very jealous of his wife, Daisy. George is coated by the dust of despair and thus seems mired in the hopelessness and depression of that empty place, while Myrtle is alluring and full of liveliness. Her first action is to order her husband to get chairs, and the second is to move away from him, closer to Tom.When we first get introduced to George and Myrtle their relationship seems fractured, with vastly different personalities and motivations. We get the sense right away that their marriage is in trouble, and conflict between the two is about to happen. One night the couple have a fight and as a yellow car is approaching their home Myrtle  runs  out on the road shouting for help thinking that it is Tom. In a short span of time Myrtle gets hit and is instantly killed. Nick: “Was Daisy driving?”  Gatsby: ‘“Yes, but of course I’ll say I was.” Myrtle ran in front of Gatsby’s car, believing that Tom was driving, and was killed by Daisy, Tom’s wife. I find this extremely ironic. After her death, the size of his grief drives Wilson to murder Jay Gatsby before committing suicide himself.

Tom and Daisy Buchanan: 

Throughout the novel, it is  clear that Tom and Daisy have an unstable relationship.Both Tom and Daisy come from wealthy backgrounds and the upper level of society. Tom likes the idea of a beautiful and social wife; whilst Daisy enjoys having a wealthy and well-connected husband.Daisy is a hospitable character who is forever in love with having a rich and lavish lifestyle.Though big, strong, and arrogant, Tom still shows that he cares a bit for Daisy.Their relationship is toxic and unhealthy, yet they seem to have no intention of working to make it better. “Why they came east I don’t know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here…wherever people played polo and were rich together.” Nick introduces Tom and Daisy as restless, rich, and as a singular unit. Despite all the revelations about the affairs and other events throughout the  novel. Our first and last descriptions of Tom and Daisy describes them as a close, if bored, couple. Tom and Daisy create this illusion of loving other people and not loving each other. Whereas they are actually really good for each other. This is because Daisy doesn’t know how to love someone , she only knows how to love money and social status. Daisy’s whole life is based on materialism and wealth. By the end of the novel, after Daisy’s murder of Myrtle as well as Gatsby’s death, she and Tom are firmly back together, “conspiring” and “careless” once again, despite the deaths of their lovers.As Nick notes, they “weren’t happy…and yet they weren’t unhappy either.” Their marriage is important to both, since it reassures their status as old money aristocracy and brings stability to their lives.”They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” This quote that is told by Nick, sums up Tom and Daisy’s relationship perfectly.


List the four main settings in the novel and discuss how they show the idea of illusion

East Egg:

East egg is where all the ‘old money’ people live. People that have inherited their money from their family live here, such as Daisy and Tom. The Buchanan’s live in :  “a cheerful red−and−white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay.” People that live in East Egg tend to look down on people from the West Egg to display their superiority. East egg relates to the ‘American Dream’ because that’s what people from the Valley Of Ashes and West egg people want to be like. It is the ‘American Dream’ to be like the people from ‘old money’. This setting represents the rich people such as Daisy, Tom and Jordan, that have inherited their money from generations before. 

East Egg can be related to illusion because it the richer side of town which support the idea of the ‘American dream’. on the outside it seems like the people who live in East egg have an ideal, luxury life style that most people would dream of living. Although the truth really is that the people who live these luxurious lives pay a high ‘price’ because their lives are scandalous, dramatic and even contain murder, lies and hidden lovers. So overall their lives aren’t actually the dream, their lives are based on materialism and social class. If you aren’t born into ‘old money’ then you will never truly fit in with this “rotten crowd”. People that live here are all blank canvases. they don’t have true feelings, no real connections, and no love. This idea is expressed through Daisy and the colour white. Most people who live in East Egg would be able to relate to this colour as well because they are all bland and don’t have any relationships that aren’t based on materialism and money.

West Egg:

West Egg is where the ‘NewMoney’ people live such as Nick and Gatsby. People that live in this area are self-made, they were born into a middle class or a hard-working poor family. “I lived at West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two” This quote describes that whilst West Egg is a wealthy community, it the less fashionable out of the two.  Another quote that describes this setting is: “Everyone in West egg is a bootlegger.” This quote which is said by Tom tell the readerTom’s opinion on the ‘new money’ people, mainly Gatsby. This setting is important because it represents the hard-working, self-made people who are being looked down on by the East Egg people such as Tom and Daisy.

West Egg shows the idea of illusion through its re occurring weather and water. At one point in the novel Nick sees Gatsby standing at the end of the dock with his arms stretched out towards across the bay. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and… I could have sworn he was trembling.” In the novel, the bay represents many things: separation, time, American Dream and struggle. The stretch of water symbolises the separation between Daisy and Gatsby. although Daisy’s house seems so close, it is actually quite far because there is big body of water between them.The water also symbolises time; particularly the last five years. Gatsby can see his future with Daisy and it so close, yet so far. This is what the water represents. West Egg also shows the illusion of the American Dream and Gatsby trying to reach this dream. All the people who live in West Egg want to be rich and high in social status like the people from East Egg. So the separation in the Eggs is also the separation in society. They are so close that they can see the end and their wanted lives, but once again the water between the boys symbolises time and what their past used to be liked.Poor or middle class.

The Valley Of Ashes:

In between the East and West Egg, there is a horrible stretch of road that goes through an area covered in dust and ash from the nearby factories. This place is called the Valley of Ashes, this is where Myrtle and George Wilson live. It isn’t actually made of ash but Nick refers to it like that because it’s really grey, dead and smokey. In the novel, the Valley of Ashes stands for the forgotten poor underclass people who enable the lifestyle of the wealthy few. These people are the ones who also represent the ‘American Dream’. They are the dreamers, they are ones that want to become rich and live a luxurious lifestyle. Although the reader knows that they can’t live those lives, it is all an illusion. This setting is import because it has The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg which become an import symbol through out this novel.The  giant eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg  are in  the middle of the Valley of Ashes, right next to Wilson’s garage.

Gatsby’s Mansion:

Mr Gatsby’s mansion is in West Egg right beside Nick’s little cottage. This is how Nick describes Gatsby’s mansion: “The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. ” Gatsby’s house is notorious for its lavish and raucous parties: ‘There was music from my neighbors house through the summer nights. In his blue garden men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” Gatsby’s mansion also seems to be positioned right across the bay from Tom and Daisy’s house which shines a red light at night.