The Great Gatsby and the Great War
by Feross Aboukhadijeh, 11th grade
The Great War, more commonly known as World War I, influences F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel in many important ways. The War directly causes Gatsby to lose his lover Daisy and is responsible for his Montenegro medal and significant “Oxford education”.
World War I forced many young American men to leave their family to fight a war in unfamiliar European territory. Unexpectedly drafted into a conflict that they had little concern for, the War inexplicably altered the lives of millions of Americans. Faced with terrible conditions and unbridled inhumanity many soldiers returned home insane or permanently shocked from their war experiences. To add insult to injury, the government failed in its duty to assist veterans economically after they returned from the War. For Gatsby, World War I meant that he would have to leave his sweetheart Daisy behind while he fought overseas. Though they regularly sent letters to each other at first, Daisy eventually grows tired of waiting for Gatsby and marries Tom Buchanan; Gatsby literally loses Daisy to the War. When Gatsby returns he is extremely poor, barely surviving from day to day. He is forced to wear his military uniform for months after his return because he is unable to purchase civilian clothing. When offered lunch by Meyer Wolfshiem, Gatsby “ate more than four dollars' worth of food in half an hour” (179). Without money Gatsby could no longer attract Daisy like in his youth. Gatsby’s sad story was echoed by an entire generation of American veterans.
When horrible images and nightmares of war haunted a soldier’s dreams upon his return, one of the few things he could have pride about were his metals. Symbols of brave, courageous deeds, metals offered a soldier honors and welcome when he returned home. Many decorated soldiers were hailed as national heroes at first, but were quickly forgotten. In Gatsby’s case, he fought bravely in a number of important battles and was promoted to the rank of “Major” earning honors from “every Allied nation”. Of particular significance to Gatsby was the metal from “little Montenegro” which he carried with him throughout the story for good luck.
Upon their return, some lucky soldiers were offered opportunities for higher education. The U.S. government attempted to compensate soldiers for their time in service with higher education but fell short; hundreds of thousands of uneducated soldiers became “bums” upon their return to the U.S. Gatsby was one of the soldiers fortunate enough to attend Oxford University. However, Gatsby’s stay was only five months long and was especially consequential because it was the final event that lost him Daisy.
After World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity and entered a period known as the Roaring 20s as the economy soared. However, for many American veterans the illusion of prosperity presented by the 1920s could not compensate for precious time lost forever to the War.
Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Sample Informative Essay - "Great War"" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/english/sample-essays/informative-essay-great-war/>.
If you're writing an informative essay, you need to make sure that you're using the right techniques; otherwise, your piece could wind up without any substance (or, worse yet, in the bottom of the "circular file.")
Too often, so-called "informative" essays are actually flowery, doctored-up creations. Though they may cite one or two facts, they leave the reader without any more knowledge of the topic area than when he or she began reading the piece.
If you truly want to inform your audience, you need to follow some simple guidelines that will ensure that your words are memorable, informative, and concise. Below are seven helpful hints to get you started on an essay that is fact-based, pithy, and powerful.
1. What's The Point?Before you ever begin your informative essay, create a thesis statement; in more basic terms, this means you must have a "point". By formulating a hypothesis and using that as the basis of your informative essay, your work won't meander like a snaking stream. Instead, it'll stay on point from beginning to end.
2. Ditch The Flowery ProseFlowery language can be effective in the right forum; however, overly embellished sentences do not belong in your informative essay. Keep your verbiage simple and straightforward, or your reader will pay too much attention to your overuse of adjectives and adverbs.
3. Put Your Feelings AsideYou probably have an opinion about what you're writing, but unless your essay is meant to be read as a personal syndicated column, leave your feelings at the door. Instead of editorializing, tell the facts like a good journalist; if you do, your readers will be able to draw their own conclusions instead of having yours foisted upon them.
4. Get Your Facts StraightAn informative essay needs to have supporting data to give it clarity and authority. However, that doesn't mean you can rely on any statistics you find online. Unfortunately, the World Wide Web is filled with "facts" that are actually only half-truths (or even outright lies.) Make sure the ones you choose for your work are from reliable sources, such as well-known companies or government agencies.
5. Go to The SourcesIf you need to interview individuals to add power or legitimacy to your informative essay, make sure you choose your interviewees carefully. Avoid the temptation to allow just anyone to use your essay as a mouthpiece. Judiciously pick who you want to quote, then make sure that your quotes are accurate.
6. Active Voice = Strong EssayPresent your information in a strong tone, using active words and powerful adjectives that "pop" off the page, not simply dribble down onto the reader's lap. For instance, replace words like "good" or "bad" with much more expressive counterparts. Remember, though - your goal isn't to be poetic; it's to add proper emphasis to your thesis and supporting information.
7. Write About What Interests YouIf you don't like the topic of your informative essay, no one else will, either. Of course, we cannot always choose what to write about (unless we're very lucky authors, indeed!) Therefore, you owe it to yourself and your readers to find an element of your essay that intrigues you. Even if you have to manufacture enthusiasm for your work, that's okay; just never allow your audience to hear your disinterest or they'll surely follow suit.
By using some or all of the above seven ideas, you can ensure that your next informative piece of writing is strong, interesting, and succinct.
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