Great Gatsby Analysis College Essay

Gatsby’s Death: A Question of Morals

by Feross Aboukhadijeh, 11th grade

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920s era novel The Great Gatsby, the character George Wilson shoots the protagonist Jay Gatsby dead. But who is to blame for this moral lapse in judgment? Obviously the person who pulled the trigger, right? But what about other shady characters like Tom and Daisy Buchanan who lied to George in order to get “off the hook”? It is clear that Tom and Daisy played a key role in the murder of Gatsby; therefore, they should share the responsibility for his death.

When George comes to Tom to find out who owns the yellow car, Tom reveals that it was Gatsby, knowing full well George’s deranged mental state and his intentions to murder the car owner. Furthermore, Tom fails to mention important details about the accident—like the fact that it was Daisy driving the car, not Gatsby—in order to pin the blame on Gatsby. It is obvious that Tom knew about Daisy’s involvement in car accident because of his decision to leave town the day after the incident. Furthermore, Tom’s spineless cowardice is displayed by his failure to fess up to the crime of adultery with George’s wife. It is obvious to Tom that George is hunting for the man who had the affair with his wife, and yet Tom has the mendaciousness to blame his own crimes on Gatsby as well. It must be stressed that Tom knew full well while speaking with George that afterward he would seek out Gatsby and try to kill him—and yet he does nothing. This makes him directly accountable for the death of Gatsby and thus morally responsible.

Daisy also comes in for her share of the blame because of her lack of morals. Daisy should have stopped the car immediately after she hit Myrtle, but instead she kept on driving, even increasing her speed. Gatsby said, “Anyhow—Daisy stepped on it. I tried to make her stop, but she couldn't so I pulled on the emergency brake. Then she fell over into my lap and I drove on” (151). After the accident, Daisy should have admitted her mistake and taken responsibility for the actions, but instead she chose to let Gatsby take the heat for her carelessness while she made plans to leave town. At the end of Chapter VIII, Nick sees Daisy “conspiring” with Tom—no doubt about their plan to literally leave their problems behind the next day. Daisy’s failure to come clean causes George to assume that Gatsby was driving the car and ultimately leads to his murder.

Although George played an obvious role in the murder of the novel’s hero, Jay Gatsby, he was clearly maltreated and misguided by Tom and Daisy who through their moral carelessness caused him to commit murder. George does not deserve all of the blame for his actions because he was in a precarious mental state at the time and was egged on by immoral, self-serving characters. Ultimately, Gatsby’s death was caused by a combination of Tom, Daisy, and George who must share responsibility for Gatsby’s death.

Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Sample Cause and Effect Essay - "Great Gatsby"" Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <>.

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Essay example

The American Dream defined the life of the citizens in a way that would make them feel better and have quality living standards. It focused on improvement of all the aspects of the life of all Americans, equality to all, justice, fairness as well as the economic status of the state as a whole. It was meant to encourage hard work, commitment and ambitions of every American citizen.

This phrase is rooted to a historian but according to him, it meant better wages and the ownership of motor cars in the year 1931 (Cullen, 64). It was then developed and acquired a deeper meaning as for today. Currently, this phrase means much of development, advancing to other greater levels and the economic and political stability of the state.

In his work The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald uses characters in a fictional village, West Egg which is located in the Long Island in the year 1922 when it was summer. He focuses on this rich gentleman Jay Gatsby who is passionate and obsessed with Daisy Buchanan. In this book the themes of idealism, decadence, social upheaval, resistance to changes are explored creating a Jazz Age Portrait which is described as the tale which regards the American dream. The essay summarizes the contrasting features between The Great Gatsby and the real American dream. It explains whether the American dream is still being followed to the end in the real life of the American citizens.

In this novel, Jay follows the love of his life irrespective of all the odds that come across his way but it happens that he does not end up marrying Daisy and instead she is married to Tom. Nick Carraway moves from mid west and starts living in the West egg where he intends to become an all rounded man and recapture the exciting moments that he had enjoyed while he was in the army before then. His family was well up when it came to finances “My family has been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western city for three generation.” on page 3 of the book.


Argument breakdown

The essay explores the ideology of “The American Dream” through The Great Gatsby. It begins by explaining what the American dream originally meant and what it means now. The writer mentions different themes in the novel and their effects on the lives of Americans as they pursue the real American dream. The essay also outlines the main characters of the story.

Argument analysis

In general, a book review or report should include several key elements. These include:

  • Background

  • Characters

  • Themes

  • Key ideas

  • Evaluation

  • Quotes

The essay contains many of these elements. The main part of the report should discuss key ideas and characters. Here, the writer is exploring a specific concept within the book -- the American dream.


The writer defines the key term and gives a brief history of it. He or she should include a thesis statement to show readers the direction the essay will take. Is the American dream in The Great Gatsby reflective of the true American dream? The answer to that question is a possible thesis statement.

Body paragraph 1

Argument - The writer introduces two characters, Jay and Daisy, and summarizes the important themes of the book. According to the writer, the novel “explains whether the American dream is still being followed to the end in the real life of the American citizens.” Identification of main characters and themes is an important aspect of this type of essay.

Reasoning - The writer states the book explores “idealism, decadence, social upheaval, resistance to changes.” The writer also states the book “summarizes the contrasting features between The Great Gatsby and the real American dream.” However, the writer does not include supporting information to show how the author does this. How do the actions of the characters support these statements?

Body paragraph 2

Argument - The writer introduces two more characters in this paragraph -- Tom and Nick Carraway. The paragraph focuses on Tom’s financial standing and ambitions. This provides context in terms of how people of that era pursued the American dream.

Reasoning - The paragraph does not dissect the relationship between characters and the American dream enough. The writer could analyze their storylines to reveal similarities and contrasts in perspective of the American dream then and now.

Analysis summary

The essay checks many of the boxes of a book report. However, the writer investigated a specific ideology -- the American dream -- within the story. Therefore, besides a description of the characters, this concept could be explored more. Including excerpts and quotes from the book would strengthen the essay writer's argument. A deeper analysis of one or two of the main characters would reveal prevailing attitudes and contrasts in the society of the time.

The report ends abruptly, so the reader is left hanging. The author should edit essay ending with a conclusion.  The writer should repeat key ideas and give an opinion of the book.

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