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Sample Literature Outline

Literary analysis of symbols in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reflective and close-reading analysis

  • Present symbols and reason/purpose for each symbol.

Use each body paragraph to focus on one symbol in particular. Introduce symbol and where it is prominently shown in the book. Continue by explaining and evaluating its purpose to the novel and its effect on the storyline and characters.  

  1. Intro
  2. Symbol One: Location
  3. Symbol Two: Weather
  4. Symbol Three: Colors
  5. Symbol Four: Green Light
  6. Conclusion
  1. Intro
  1. Introduce what to expect in paper.
  2. Provide an overview of the symbols that will be analyzed.
  3. Mention the importance of symbols to a novel.
  1. Symbol One: Location
  1. Introduce the symbol of location.
  2. Explain importance of Valley of Ashes, East Egg, West Egg, New York City, etc.
  3. Analyze the purpose of location as a symbol (displays social class, conflict between locations, similarities and differences between characters)
  1. Symbol Two: Weather
  1. Introduce the symbol of weather.
  2. Explain importance of the hot summer days, rainy visit with Daisy, and the heat again during the drunken feud.
  3. Analyze the purpose of weather as a symbol (parallel to emotions and turn of events: heat held conflict, rain held disappointment or renewal).
  1. Symbol Three: Colors
  1. Introduce the symbol of colors.
  2. Explain the importance of colors in relation to the story (emphasis on the color of clothing, perhaps focus on scene where Daisy cries at Gatsby’s beautiful clothes).
  3. Analyze the purpose of colors as a symbol (colors of clothing help to develop characters, at times showing personality traits not initially displayed).
  1. Symbol Four: Green Light
  1. Introduce the symbol of the green light.
  2. Explain the importance of the green light to the entire theme of the book (American Dream).
  3. Analyze the purpose of the green light (the unattainable quest that Gatsby has allowed himself to go on for Daisy).
  1. Conclusion
  1. Briefly recap what was previously said.
  2. Relate symbolism to the theme of the book.
  3. Provide a strong closing.

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