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Writing An Introduction For An Essay On Great Gatsby And The American Dream


As you may already know from class or from reading the novel, the idea of the American Dream plays a prominent role in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby. In the novel, Fitzgerald explores the beginning of the end of the American Dream in the 1920s through pointed use of symbolism and a wide range of literary devices and techniques. Writing an essay on this topic can be a challenge, but a great way of gaining the attention and respect of the reader is start off with a great introduction. Here’s what you need to know about writing a compelling essay introduction:

  • Start with a compelling quote or question
  • A great technique for grabbing the reader’s attention right from the start is to use a compelling quote or question that engages the reader and encourages some critical thought. Literature essays really lend themselves to this kind of start. Just be sure you choose something that is familiar to the reader or something that he or she can quickly relate to.

  • Provide some background to the novel
  • Despite the assignment being for a class, and the fact that it is one of the greatest American novels of the 20th century, there is no guarantee that everyone is familiar with the Great Gatsby – perhaps not at an in-depth level. So, it’s a good idea you present some background information, especially how it pertains to the topic you are going to discuss. Just three or four sentences of background content should be sufficient.

  • Gradually narrow the focus of your topic
  • A great technique for composing great papers is to start off by speaking broadly about your topic, then gradually narrowing the focus until you’ve reached your final sentence – the thesis statement. Think about this as though you were asking the reader to look through the lens of a microscope, with each sentence bringing into greater detail and focus the exact ideas you will be discussing in your assignment.

  • End with a well-written thesis statement
  • Lastly, be sure to end your essay introduction with a precise and direct thesis statement which lets the reader know exactly what position you are taking on your selected topic. Don’t use complex sentence constructions or long and confusing words; these will only detract from your writing and might work against you in putting the reader in a bad mood. Write clearly and confidently.