VCE Essay prompts: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Looking for practice essay prompts for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald? Here are some practice prompts to help you prepare for the text response essay!

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Appearance/ Reality / Truth 

  • The only greatness Jay Gatsby achieves is his fictional success, which he cannot sustain indefinitely. Do you agree? 
  • In The Great Gatsby‘s New York, nothing is real. Discuss. 
  • ‘Evidently some wag of an oculist set them there… then sank down himself into eternal blindness.’ The only truth of The Great Gatsby is the lack of authenticity and honesty. Do you agree? 

American Dream / Poverty / Wealth / Class 

  • The Great Gatsby critically examines The American Dream and ultimately concludes it is a harmful delusion. Do you agree? 
  • Every character in The Great Gatsby is ‘careless’. Discuss. 
  • Money and the American Dream are the real antagonists of The Great Gatsby. Do you agree? 
  • In the end, no one escapes from corrupt American Dream in The Great Gatsby. Do you agree? 
  • In The Great Gatsby, the American Dream has replace God and religion. Discuss. 

Past / Hope / Love 

  • Love in The Great Gatsby is presented as a relic of the past. Do you agree? 
  • In The Great Gatsby, money is more powerful than love. Discuss. 
  • ‘No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.’ The Great Gatsby frames memories of the past as dangerous and unreliable. Discuss. 

Characters

  • In the end, there is no difference between Gatsby and Tom. Discuss. 
  • The female characters of The Great Gatsby are only superficially powerful, and are subject to the whims of the men around them. Discuss.  
  • Rather than being great, Jay Gatsby is pathetic. Do you agree? 
  • The Buchanans are not worse than Gatsby, they are just as morally corrupt as each other. Do you agree? 
  • Daisy Buchanan is more innocent than guilty. Do you agree? 
  • The women of The Great Gatsby are all victims of their patriarchal society. Discuss. 
  • The death of Jay Gatsby cannot be blamed on any sole individual in The Great Gatsby. Discuss. 

Morality / Corruption 

  • ‘They smashed up things and creatures… and let other people clean up the mess they had made.’ F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores the power dynamics of the privileged and the disadvantaged. Discuss. 

Narrative structure / Literary Devices 

  • Nick’s version of the events in The Great Gatsby cannot be trusted. Do you agree? 
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of minor characters lends his novel’s criticism of 1920s America depth and authenticity. Discuss.

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