Second Close Reading Assignment

PURPOSE: to practice the art of close reading and writing

LENGTH: 350-450 words (about a page-and-a-half, typed & double-spaced)

  This assignment gives you a chance to keep flexing your interpretive muscles by doing another close reading, as you did in the very first piece you wrote for the class.

  Start by chosing the theme or issue in The Great Gatsby that interests you most, then find in the novel a passage (about 150-250 words) that seems to you to say or imply a lot about that theme. Begin your exercise by copying out the passage in full. Then, in 250-400 words of your own, analyse how the passage develops or displays that theme. Be specific about what is in the passage (quote or name specific words, images, patterns, in your interpretation), and be clear about what you think they mean.

  At the end of your analysis you can suggest the connection between what you've seen in the passage and the novel as a whole, but almost all your essay should focus specifically on the passage you've quoted.