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English A1 EE Topic

Hi, so this is my first post on this forum and I need some help with narrowing my topic for the EE. :$

I'm planning on writing about the undermining of the American Dream seen in The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. Is this too broad because I was reading some samples and some essays were something like "The use of outdoors in Emma", while others were much more specific.

My mentor suggested I narrow it through a literary angle, so I was wondering if I could get some help deciding or suggestions.

Here are some of my ideas:

- imagery

- colour

- symbols

- character archetypes

- Irony

- tone

- contrast

Also, would we study just one of these devices, or could we do 2 or 3?

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Imagery, irony and contrast all suggest themselves immediately for Great Gatsby, although just thinking in just these terms will not generate a very original essay.

Your teacher is quite right to suggest that you focus on something that is literary ...

... and I would add that you can concentrate on something that appears --at first sight, least -- banal or ubiquitous (doors, gossip, light, "overhearing" indoors/outdoors, gardens, cars/driving etc) because these usually pass unnoticed or un-commented by the usual critical treatments, yet can lead to originality and insight. Authors convey all sorts of ideas through these objects, interactions, or activities.

So that is where the originality of your own essay can lie, unless of course you have a knack for writing in which case the other option is to re-work old ideas in such a way that you give them a fresh twist ( a twist which comes from writing itself, allowing new perceptions). But that is harder.

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You might want to stay away from reading too many essays about your topic, so that your EE is original and contains your ideas, not just the conglomeration of 5 separate essays. Based on your reading of the two books, come up with some ideas, explain them, and then you could compare it to a published/more formal source.

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