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Name: _____________________________________

Theme Essay: The Great Gatsby


What theme does Fitzgerald present readers through The Great Gatsby?
Minnesota State Standards
W.11-12.1 Write arguments that support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant
and sufficient evidence.

a. Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), and create an organization that
logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and, evidence.

b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while
pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audiences knowledge level,
concerns, values, and possible biases.

c. Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and
clarify the relationships between claim(s) and counterclaims.

d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the
discipline in which they are writing.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

Directions: Write a well-written paper that analyzes The Great Gatsby for a chosen literary theme using
5 cited quotes as evidence from the text. (Cited means being copied word-for-word, include quotation
marks, in MLA format.)
Requirements:
- Introduction: Attention Getter, Context, Thesis
- 3 Body Paragraphs: Clear transitions, topic sentences, identification of foreshadowing clues,
detailed descriptions, and concluding sentences.
o 5 cited quotations word-for-word from the text, MLA format
o Provide context for each quote
o Explain HOW the quotes helped you identify the theme
o Make clear connections between each quote
- Conclusion: Restate main idea, summarize key points, zinger (leave your reader thinking)
- Typed, 12 pt. font, Times-Roman, double spaced
Potential Themes: The American Dream, Society, Class, Love, Marriage, Wealth, Women, Materialism,
Hope, Lies, Deceit, Memory, the Past, Isolation, Mortality, etc.


100 pts. Exceeds Expectations
(10 pts.)
Meets Expectations
(8 pts.)
Needs Improvement
(6 pts.)
Theme

______/20
The writer identifies a theme present
throughout The Great Gatsbys
entirety and uses the theme to develop
a strong argument.
The writer identifies a theme that is
present in only part of The Great Gatsby
and uses the theme to develop a
somewhat strong argument.
The writer does not identify a
theme that is present throughout
The Great Gatsbys entirety and
does not develop a strong
argument.
Evidence

______/20
The writer identifies 5 strong quotes
from The Great Gatsby to support
his/her argument and theme as
identified in the thesis.
Each quotation is accurately quoted
with proper punctuation and follows
MLA format.
The writer identifies 2-4 strong quotes to
support his/her argument and theme as
identified in the thesis.
OR
The writer identifies 2-5 quotes but the
quotes do not support his/her argument or
theme.
Each quote is somewhat accurately quoted
with proper punctuation and MLA format.
The writer identifies 0-1 quotes to
support his/her argument and
theme as identified in the thesis.
The quotes are not accurately
quoted, use proper punctuation, or
MLA format.
Introduction

______/10
The writer grabs the readers
attention through a developed &
advanced attention getter that is
closely related to the topic of the
essay.
The writer provides clear and relevant
background information/context
needed to understand the topic of the
essay.
The general information transitions
well from the attention getter and
into the thesis.
The writer includes a clear thesis with
3 clear & supporting reasons.
The writer grabs the readers attention
through an attention getter that is related
to the topic of the essay, but the attention
getter is not developed.
The writer provides background
information/context needed to
understand the topic of the essay, but the
information is not relevant or is too
minimal.
The general information does not
transition well from the attention getter
and/or into the thesis.
The writer includes a thesis with 3
supporting reasons, but it is unclear.
The writer does not include an
attention getter.
The writer does not provide
background information/context.
The writer does not include a
thesis.
Body Paragraph #1

______/10
The topic sentence states the
paragraphs main idea correlating to
the 1
st
reason in the writers thesis.
The writer gives 3 examples and
details supporting the topic sentence.
Quotes are used as supplemental
evidence to the writers ideas.
Each example is well-developed.
The concluding sentence restates the
paragraphs main idea, while not
repeating the topic sentence.
The writer includes a beginning
transition and transitions between
ideas.
The topic sentence states the paragraphs
main idea correlating to the 1
st
reason in
the writers thesis.
The writer gives 1-2 examples and details
supporting the topic sentence.
Quotes are not used to supplement the
writers ideas.
Examples are not well-developed and
need additional details for relevancy.
The concluding sentence restates the
paragraphs main idea, but simply repeats
the topic sentence.
The writer includes a beginning transition.
The writer does not include a topic
sentence.
The writer did not include
examples or details to support the
topic sentence.
The writer does not include
quotes.
The writer does not include a
concluding paragraph.
The writer does not include
transitions.
Body Paragraph #2

______/10
The topic sentence states the
paragraphs main idea correlating to
the 2
nd
reason in the writers thesis.
The writer gives 3 examples and
details supporting the topic sentence.
Quotes are used as supplemental
evidence to the writers ideas.
Each example is well-developed.
The concluding sentence restates the
paragraphs main idea, while not
repeating the topic sentence.
The writer includes a beginning
transition and transitions between
ideas.


The topic sentence states the paragraphs
main idea correlating to the 2
nd
reason in
the writers thesis.
The writer gives 1-2 examples and details
supporting the topic sentence.
Quotes are not used to supplement the
writers ideas.
Examples are not well-developed and
need additional details for relevancy.
The concluding sentence restates the
paragraphs main idea, but simply repeats
the topic sentence.
The writer includes a beginning transition.
The writer does not include a topic
sentence.
The writer did not include
examples or details to support the
topic sentence.
The writer does not include
quotes.
The writer does not include a
concluding paragraph.
The writer does not include
transitions.


Body Paragraph #3

______/10
The topic sentence states the
paragraphs main idea correlating to
the 3
rd
reason in the writers thesis.
The writer gives 3 examples and
details supporting the topic sentence.
Quotes are used as supplemental
evidence to the writers ideas.
Each example is well-developed.
The concluding sentence restates the
paragraphs main idea, while not
repeating the topic sentence.
The writer includes a beginning
transition and transitions between
ideas.
The topic sentence states the paragraphs
main idea correlating to the 3
nd
reason in
the writers thesis.
The writer gives 1-2 examples and details
supporting the topic sentence.
Quotes are not used to supplement the
writers ideas.
Examples are not well-developed and
need additional details for relevancy.
The concluding sentence restates the
paragraphs main idea, but simply repeats
the topic sentence.
The writer includes a beginning transition.



The writer does not include a topic
sentence.
The writer did not include
examples or details to support the
topic sentence.
The writer does not include
quotes.
The writer does not include a
concluding paragraph.
The writer does not include
transitions.
Conclusion

______/10
The writer restates the essays main
topic while not repeating the thesis.
The writer summarizes the key points
in the essay.
The writer includes a thought
provoking zinger.
The writer restates the essays main topic
but simple repeats the thesis.
The writer somewhat accurately
summarizes the key points in the essay.
The writer includes a zinger, but it does
not encourage continued thought by the
reader.
The writer does not restate the
essays main topic.
The writer does not summarize
the key points in the essay.
The writer does not include a
zinger.
Grammar & Mechanics

______/10
The writer uses complete sentences to
form a paragraph with flow and no
grammatical errors.
The writer uses complete sentences to form
a paragraph; however, the paragraph has
minimal flow and some grammatical errors.
The writer does not use complete
sentences to form a paragraph.
The paragraph has no flow and has
enough grammatical errors to distract
the reader.

______/100

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