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My idea for Orals on The Great Gatsby; tips & guidance?

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All right so I was originally going to do my IB Orals on The Great Gatsby on how unreliable the narrator Nick is. But I figured that the point was too debateable so I wanted to expand it to every character.

So my idea was to talk about how everyone in the story is unreliable Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Jordan, etc.

I'm not exactly sure how I would word that as a thesis since it just came to mind right now but I want to know what you people think of it. Would teachers be pleased with the topic? Is it too broad, shallow, should I tweak it or change it entirely? If you think it is fine can you give me some advice or guidance; say some examples or other pieces of literature I can relate it to?

Edited by richardjalba

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I think it's better to focus on how Nick narrates the story as opposed to how everyone is unreliable. So you can talk about how the novel is recounted from a first-person perspective (Nick's) and how his narration affects our perception of other characters like Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, etc. and also how it affects our perception of the events that take place. Find some discrepancies between what Nick says and what may have really happened (there are a few of them), or find some instances where Nick presents his own opinion on a certain event/character and how there could be other possible interpretations based on evidence from the novel.

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A good topic would be analysing the American dream and how it affects the characters, how it makes them who and what they are. You could also take the American dream and look at it from the point of view of Nick and Gatsby and see how different they mean to each other and what made them want to achieve or as such.

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All right so I was originally going to do my IB Orals on The Great Gatsby on how unreliable the narrator Nick is. But I figured that the point was too debateable so I wanted to expand it to every character.

So my idea was to talk about how everyone in the story is unreliable Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Jordan, etc.

I'm not exactly sure how I would word that as a thesis since it just came to mind right now but I want to know what you people think of it. Would teachers be pleased with the topic? Is it too broad, shallow, should I tweak it or change it entirely? If you think it is fine can you give me some advice or guidance; say some examples or other pieces of literature I can relate it to?

I think it's better to focus on how Nick narrates the story as opposed to how everyone is unreliable. So you can talk about how the novel is recounted from a first-person perspective (Nick's) and how his narration affects our perception of other characters like Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, etc. and also how it affects our perception of the events that take place. Find some discrepancies between what Nick says and what may have really happened (there are a few of them), or find some instances where Nick presents his own opinion on a certain event/character and how there could be other possible interpretations based on evidence from the novel.

Yeah I agree, because a topic on how 'everyone is unreliable' is a little vague and might be too hard to tackle in less than 15 minutes. Typical topics for IOPs are when people are just sort of delving into typical themes that your teacher has probably done to death (assuming he or she is a decent teacher, haha). IB appreciates creativity and originality so thinking outside of the box and going more for a strong literary device and how it is used can be a very good approach and using a very pertinent tool in Prose (narrator, narrator's voice, characterization) as the basis for your topic should definitely be acceptable. And you can still talk about a lot of stuff.

As for structure I would suggest something like this (I haven't actually read the book, so bare with me)

Introduce the basic plotline in a sentence or two and introduce your narrator or main character that you are focusing on and talk about who they are (basic character sketch) and their role within the text.

Then go on to talk about how the writer presents this character or narrator and give lots of examples within the body of your presentation. Talk about the presentation of the character, how they interact with others (and what that tells the reader) how the character/narrator sometimes behaves or speaks regarding certain situations. And then as Summer said you can talk about any inconsistencies and again, how does that effect the reader what does that tell the reader and why would this have been important from the witer's perspective in the context of the story. And so on.

And conclude finally about how this character/narrator is presented and overall how you feel they have a significant impact on the story and how it is told and what this achieves (or something like that, you know the drill.)

I would suggest that to get a clearer idea about your topic you should decide what area you are going to focus on like narrative voice, specific characterization, etc. and brainstorm all of the points you think are relevant and try to structure it in a way you think could make a coherent and logical argument and from there you will be able to form a concise topic.

:)

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