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When The American Dream Vanishes…

“Her voice is full of money……”

In the American history of literature, the 1920s are called “the Knight Age.” When Fitzgerald considered the decade, he wrote: “This is a miracle age, an artistic age, a taunt age, an indulgence age.” It was also the age of knowledge, ability and a wisdom. The Great Gatsbyconsidered by many scholars to be the greatest and most influential American novel of the 20th century, a product of and a biography of the Knight Age, “the rough quartz ground to the genuine diamond.”

[OKAY Introduction.  Broad opening narrowing down to the topic.]

Young military officer Jay Gatsby, born in an American midwest ordinary peasant family

[incomplete sentence].

He was handsome, intelligent, delayed in romantic dreams [?]. When he stayed in a big city

[Did you read the book? Why so vague?] in the South, he fell in love with Daisy, a young lady from a rich family. Then Gatsby went to battle with the Europeans, and the beautiful loose [idiomatic for a formal essay] fiancée actually married a playboy Tom Buchanan.

This is an essay of Literary Criticism.  In this type of essay, the student should give his/her studied analysis about one or more elements of a written text.  So far it is only a summary of the book The Great Gatsby

 [I’ve also highlighted in red the common mistakes of student writers.]    –Miss McCulla

When Gatsby returned from the battle, he became engaged in the illegal bootlegged liquor business in New York. Making money; lots of money.  The American Dream.  And he was determined to recapture his old love. By then Tom and Daisy had moved into their mansion in

New York Long Island [this doesn’t make sense].

Gatsby then, at[on] the opposite shore of the bay, bought a more luxurious villa, frequently hosting grand parties, in the hopes that Daisy would attend a party, and reviving

 [verb form error] his old dream. Finally meeting again after a long separation, Daisy was deeply moved by Gatsby’s loyalty; and she was also moved by his wealth. But before long Tom discovered the attraction. [ HOLD for book development plot lines, symbols, imagery,character faults, motives UNHOLD]    Uh-Oh!!!

You will get caught if you buy a paper online!  I’m sure that the student didn’t mean to leave this sentence in the paper. This poses three problems:  One, writer submitted a paper that he did not write; Two, writer didn’t even proofread the essay; Three, student assumed he would receive a perfectly written paper for the money he paid.  Not even close.

Now Tom exposes Gatsby in the presence of [everyone] that Gatsby made his sudden wealth on the bootlegged liquor business [Word choice is redundant]. At the same time Gatsby refused to admit losing, claiming the five-year faithful love between him and Daisy, and requested Daisy to go with him. Daisy actually said no and refused to leave her vulgar disloyal husband. Then Daisy drove from New York to go home, distracted and disturbed, when she killed Tom’s lover, Ms. Wilson.  Tom made a false report saying that the driver was Gatsby.  Then he provoked Mr.Wilson to gun down Gatsby.

For students:  This is an example of Literary Criticism. By definition, it is the writer’s opinion,thus it is also a Persuasive Essay.  In this type of essay, the student makes an assertion (called a thesis) about any issue in the book.  That thesis is usually the last sentence of the introduction paragraph.  Then the writer uses the body of the paper to support that assertion.   –Miss McCulla

The so-called “American Dream” is a kind of faith, a kind of desire, a kind of illusion, when actually it promotes materialism, competition, and accumulation of wealth, and  you must follow the explicit standards of conduct to live.  [This sentence comes out of nowhere.]

The moment Gatsby regarded Daisy as the sort of beauty he had been pursuing

[she was the EXACT and particular beauty he had been pursuing],

he started his life tragedy.

[What does that clause actually mean?] The so-called beauty and kindness was in fact distorted by money, although he had figured out “Her sound was full of money” clearly, he still did not change the original intention, pursuing his dream tenaciously. Daisy is not his dream by far. This is not her fault, but the dreamer’s. Gatsby’s dream has surmounted all. He creates the warm investment to this illusion, inflates the illusion with each nerve.

[Completely incoherent.]  Then finally his dream was disillusioned thoroughly. The author sighed

[No, not the author, but the narrator.] : “It seems like his dream was very close to realize , extremely easy to obtain, but he did not know that dream had gone far away, leaving him behind, throwing him into that boundless chaos behind this city.” The future Gatsby [Who is the future Gatsby?] had been yearning for so long has vanished forever. His dream which was cultivated in the agricultural society has already vanished in the air…forever…… [1. Out of nowhere you suggest agricultural?  2.  You’ve been alternating present and past tense. 3. An ellipsis is three points or dots, not six.]

Gatsby’s death is the high tide of the entire story. His legend which started bewilderingly didn’t seem to end with his death. [bewilderingly?] After his father arrived at his villa, startled, the intense sense of pride already covered to bury his sadness. Then, Gatsby’s funeral started in [with] his father’s acclamation, also ended in that kind of acclamation. Nick’s monologue was incapable. [What in the heck does this mean?]  He remembered Gatsby’s theatrical life, remembered that green light which Gatsby believed in, remembered those deplorable arguments and the urban light which had gone far away gradually. His soul was full of loneliness.

If a work merely talks about a vanishing dream, it cannot bring inspiration to the humans. [Are you proposing that the aliens might find inspiration?]  What is valuable is that the work also expresses the tenacious vitality of “the humanity final also the greatest dream.” [This just doesn’t make sense.]  On Fitzgerald’s tombstone there engraves the last few words of the novel: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Not coming singly but in pairs, a present age “American dream” Bill. Gates also engraves these words in his mansion library on the roof, taking for his own motto. Life probably is in this kind of hopes and vanishes between the samaras. [Does the writer actually realize that this entire last paragraph incoherent and meaningless?]

I wouldn’t have graded this paper, of course.  As soon as I realized plagiarism, I would have given this student an F and returned the paper.  Students:  Learn from this “professional” essay:  make sure that your writing is coherent.  A good practice is to read the essay from the last sentence to the first.

Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 32 years.  She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository, fiction writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career.  She has written/edited/self-published five books, and currently manages a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, analyses of literature, just like those asked of students and writers in the university and publisher houses, and years of “teacher tips” and “general interest examples,” and passes them on to interested writers.

March 15, 2019   46   mary    Descriptive Essay, Opinion Essay  
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