How Will Your Professor Evaluate Your Paper?

How Will Your Professor Evaluate Your Paper?


How professors will look at the technical aspects of a formal exposition paper:

These criteria come from Modules, Evaluation Criteria.

1. Elements of Organization

I. Opening paragraph: It needs both a thesis statement and an organizing idea. It should end with a statement of significance.


_____Organizing Idea

_____Statement of Significance

V. Closing paragraph: It needs a summary, a conclusion, and a hint of things to come.



_____Hint of Things to Come

II. What is the American dream in general terms (but be prepared to relate your description to the novel)? 20 sentences Body paragraph

_____Does this paragraph have its own 1-3-1 shape?  Is it fully developed?  Is the method of development clear?

III. What is the American dream in The Great Gatsby? 20 sentences Body paragraph

_____Does this paragraph have its own 1-3-1 shape?  Is it fully developed?  Is the method of development clear?

IV. Relate the American dream to characters in the novel. 20 sentences

_____Does this paragraph have its own 1-3-1 shape?  Is it fully developed?  Is the method of development clear?

2. Methods of Development: Use description and example for the three-segment body of the paper.

_____Does each segment/paragraph of the body have ample description with example.  Does each develop some aspect of the thesis and lead to the conclusion?

3. Mode of Order: The overall mode of order for this paper is general-to-specific; however, consider what your mode of order is for each segment as well.

_____Why is the first body paragraph first, the second second, and the third last?  What is the mode of order you are using; is it clear, and does it help to make the paper stay together, cohere?

4. Mechanics: For a passing grade, review your paper for effective mechanics, with no more than four errors per page.

Include two quotes from The Great Gatsby.

Use a works cited page, referencing the novel.

Consider using quotes to support the examples you are presenting of the American dream.

Notice that it is “the American dream”: lower case “t” and “d.” Only the “A” is capitalized.

Always underline the title of the novel, The Great Gatsby. You need to mention the author and the novel’s title once in the first sentence of the paper, but after that you can refer to him as Fitzgerald and to the novel as the “novel” to avoid repetitiveness. So the first sentence, your thesis sentence, might look like this: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a search for the meaning of the American dream in modern society.

_____Is the title of the novel underlined?

_____Does the paper have two quotes at least using MLA in-text citations?

_____Does the paper have a Works Cited page?

_____Overall, has the paper been adequately proofread and edited?

5. Transitions: Use “first,” “second,” and “third,” for the three segments (paragraphs) of the body of the paper. Each is followed by a comma. Use “In summary,” and “In conclusion,” in the closing. Each is followed by a comma.

_____Are the three organizing transitions present and correct?

What transitions are you using to communicate your methods of development and your modes of order?

6. Format: Double space the entire paper beginning with your last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner, per MLA; note in the sample papers.

Four-line heading: Remember to put English 101, Paper 1 and your section number at this point. Follow the style from MLA.

So the four-line heading will look like this, with two minor changes that are noted below after the English 101:

Johnny Johnson

Professor Sprague

English 101

4 October 2007 (or whatever the accurate date is)

Use a title that hints at the thesis. Don’t try to write the title until your paper is over, so you can be sure that it hints at what the overall idea of the paper is.

Indenting: Every time you indent, you indicate that a new paragraph is starting. Indents are five spaces. Because this is a five-paragraph essay, you will have five indents.

Formal tone: Eliminate the use of the following: “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine”; “we,” “us,” “our,” “ours”; “you,” “your,” and “yours”). Formal exposition is not about us; it is about the topic that is being developed.

Works Cited: This should be the last numbered page of your paper. Check MLA to see what one looks like. Follow the rules for creating your works cited references from MLA.

Follow the rules for creating your in-text citations from MLA. Use signal phrases following MLA.

Outline. For your outline for Paper 1, copy and paste your thesis statement, the three topic sentences for the three-part body, and the conclusion onto a separate piece of paper at the end of your paper. It should be an unnumbered page because an outline is not part of MLA style. The outline is just for English 101. Use Roman numerals for the five pieces (I-V) of your essay.

_____Does the paper have a formatted heading?

_____Does the paper have a title?

_____Does the paper have formal tone without personal pronouns?

_____Does the paper have a five-sentence formal outline?


Study the Module Evaluation Criteria for additional information about how Paper 1 will be evaluated.

6.9. Module 6.9: Two Sample Papers 1


…two sample papers:



Joseph Blowsky


Professor Sprague

English 101, Paper 1, Section #8043

17 September 2012

The Great Gatsby: A Tainted American Dream

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays the destructive realities of the American dream for its hero and the other characters as well. The American dream is often stated by the idea that success and wealth can be achieved by anyone, given the right opportunity, who is willing to work hard, has determination and hope, as exemplified by the main character, Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby shows how one never stops to think of a true American dream that chases the freedom one honestly pursues to achieve goals and rejects the imprisonment one gains through greed and selfishness. The search for happiness in wealth is one factor that lives within a majority of the characters in the novel. However, the novel shows that fulfilling the American dream in a selfish manner can lead to the corruption of the dream.

First, the American dream in general can be realized through hard work and determination. This dream of having a better life started when the Pilgrims arrived in America. The Pilgrims left their motherland due to poverty, religious persecution, and political danger. The hopes of finding a better life for them would be the beginning of the American dream. The pursuit for the dream was also stated in the “Declaration of Independence” second paragraph, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. These powerful words helped end slavery and started movements such as Women’s Rights, which shaped America. The dream is not just achieving material things. In The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams states that “it is a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position” (Adams, 404). The foundation of the American dream is for all to want it and share it. Its idea is not to compare the material goods to one’s neighbor. Being able to rise up from nothing to something big is an American dream come true. During the 1920’s the economy started to grow and anyone with little money can make money grow exponentially mostly through the stock market. It is also the time when the mobsters made a lot of money due to prohibition. America offered a lot of promise in the decade of the 1920s. However, the American dreams have changed throughout time. Nowadays, the most common dream is to own big houses, expensive cars, and youthful looks. For those who are already successful in life, they dream of becoming even more successful in order to fulfill a greater happiness. Some people may learn that the greatest happiness is achieved through the sharing of wealth. The Great Gatsby shows that money cannot always buy happiness.

Second, Fitzgerald’s novel shows three kinds of American dream: a dream that was realized through hard work and determination, a dream that is difficult to achieve, and a dream to stay wealthy. The Great Gatsby shows how the American dream is underappreciated and taken advantage of.  The scene of the novel was in a wealthy neighborhood of New York where residents have surrounded themselves with the American dream through elite parties and extravagant homes. In the West Egg are the nouveau riche who has under-developed taste and little connections to a higher rank. Though they are in a lower rank within the ranking of the West and East Eggs, they are a part of the American dream. They have made it thus far and though they have little connections, they wish to fulfill a higher wealth by becoming acquainted with the social aspect, which is an important factor in achieving the American dream. Similar to their money, they are new to the American dream. In the East Egg, residents have fulfilled the American dream through hard work, along with a series of connections. This American dream allows one to live comfortably without the cares in the world. In Chapter 1, Nick Carraway describes the American dream that is lived by his cousin and her husband. “Why they came east I don’t know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together” (Fitzgerald, 8). This is an example of the American dream being lived through old money. Old money is money that has been maintained and passed on through several generations. In The Great Gatsby, one who lives effortlessly and comfortably is one who has fulfilled the American dream. However, the American dream of living effortlessly and carelessly is not described in the constitution. While living the American dream in an effortless manner, the novel shows how one can be led astray with a materialistic mind. Towards the end of the novel, Nick Carraway gives the reader a vivid description of the American dream in its most innocent form:

I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes— a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. (Fitzgerald, 192)

Some people can live comfortably without strict morality and ethics. Though when people think of money they think of the American dream without considering the corruption.

Third, Fitzgerald introduces a series of characters that are considered to have fulfilled the American dream: NickCarraway, Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. The novel begins with an introduction to Nick Carraway, a character who has fulfilled the American dream in a careful and precise manner. Carraway’s accomplishments include fighting in the war and attending Yale. Although he is working to fulfill his American dream, he also witnesses the corruption of the American dream in others. Carraway’s cousin, Daisy, lives on the East Egg of the neighborhood and is married to a prestigious man, Tom, who belongs to old money. The marriage is built from the American dream, but has suffered because of arrogance, selfishness, and materialism. In Chapter 4, Fitzgerald tells how love can be blind due to money and wealth. Daisy’s friend, Jordan Baker, explains the story of how the eighteen years old Daisy is in love with officer Gatsby. Daisy denies Gatsby and is blinded by the old money, which Tom Buchanan possesses. However, Tom is committing adultery with Myrtle, a woman who also wishes to fulfill the American dream. They hold onto a marriage surrounded by adultery and regret which causes Daisy to run back into the arms of Gatsby, who intentionally builds a collection of material goods to win her heart back. Gatsby is living the American dream solely for the attention of an old love. Jay Gatsby was determined to reach the American dream because he believed that having wealth would bring him all the happiness he wanted, including Daisy. But money cannot buy one’s happiness. In Chapter 7, Carraway explains the insanity that Gatsby has acquired over the years because of high hopes to fulfill his American dream. “He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life has been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place.” (Fitzgerald, 118). Gatsby is certain that the American dream will fix such issue, however it’s safe to say that love and happiness is omitted from the dream. It is disturbing when Gatsby was killed by Myrtle’s husband in the assumption that Gatsby has been involved in his wife’s affair. Towards the end of the novel, it shows the corruption and death the American dream has caused.

In summary, The Great Gatsby highlights how the American dream has been corrupted due to selfish and material needs. The 1920s was a decade which consisted of easy money and letting loose on prime ideas of morality. When it came to the American dream, the founding fathers focused on three simple things that would ensure a freedom from corruption: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. In conclusion, The Great Gatsby shows how the American dream has changed from the settlers dream to have a better life in America to selfishness and greed. The novel shows the dream in contemporary and compelling form.


Work Cited

Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America . Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1931.

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby . New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925.


I. Chasing the American dream tainted with wealth and success.

II. The general meaning of the American dream and how it changed through time.

III. Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby show different settings of the American dream.

IV. Three characters from the novel in pursuit of the American dream.

V. The American dream once filled with hope by everyone is now full of greed and corruption.










remember to underline the title of the novel… Student’s Name Professor Sprague English 101 September 2011 Chasing Wealth            F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsbyunderline… revolves around an American dream that is centered on personal material wealth, which ultimately cannot coexist with happiness. This dream that anyone could go from nothing to something grew out of a period of rapid industrialization around the globe, the side effects of which were very often horrific working environments and unbridgeable gaps between the rich and the poor. The Great Gatsby conveys America’s reaction to, and progression of, this problem through the devices of capitalism, opulence, and greed. With the use of specific characters in the novel, Fitzgerald portrays both the desirable material aspect of the American dream in addition to the inability of the attainment of this dream to produce genuine happiness. In a time when millions of American people are struggling to merely get by, The Great Gatsby’s representation of an American dream that brings wealth as well as unhappiness, is extremely important.                       First, 20th century America developed out of a prosperous, yet brutal economic environment brought about by the age of industrialization in the wealthy countries of the world. The 1800s witnessed a vast expansion of the power that countries could hold. With the improvement of technology, the production capability of a nation grew to previously unimaginable heights. However, this improvement in technology which helped lead to an increase in the capital gains of wealthy business owners, came at the expense of the working class as a whole. No where else was this seen more clearly than in mid 19th century England. Writers such as Charles Dickens and John Stuart Mill highlighted the dichotomy between the affluent lifestyle of the business owners and the slum like living conditions of almost everyone else. Elizabeth Gaskell, in Mary Barton, wrote about this very difference. After describing the luxurious lifestyle of the business owners, and the very minor affect that the burning down of one of their factories has on them, she tells of the altogether opposite situation of the workers: “There is another side to this picture. There were homes over which the Carsons’ fire threw a deep, terrible gloom; the homes of those who would fain work, and no man gave unto them—the homes of those to whom leisure was a curse” (95). The description above leaves the reader with the sense of the near impossibility of someone escaping the horrible conditions of the working class. Such citizens lived in mere shacks in large cities such as Manchester and London where the streets were filled with trash and waste. These are the conditions out of which the American dream was born. America was a place where an individual could go to escape the grips of poverty and make something of himself. There was an ideal that the division between the rich and the poor was not set in stone. If a man worked hard enough, he could gain the same wealth and apparent happiness of those who were born with it. No matter what background someone was born into, they could have the goal of reaching the top. That is the essence of the American dream, and that is also the problem with the American dream. Although it created the possibility of better financial circumstances, it did not lay out the instructions for how to live a happy and content life, and therefore, the values of wanting more and more began to take hold of individuals as well as societies.                       Second, Fitzgerald sets The Great Gatsby in one of the most opulent ages of American society. The years just before the Great Depression were a period of incredible consumption. It was the height of American capitalism, and lay at the heart of the American dream. In 1776, almost two centuries before Fitzgerald’s time, Adam Smith published his treatise on the current state of economics in the world entitled the Wealth of Nations. In the essay, Smith states that, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer” (49). This very idea of consumerism is displayed throughout The Great Gatsby. As Nick observes the preparation that goes into one of Gatsby’s parties, consumerism can almost be seen as a character in and of itself: “Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiter in New York …. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour, if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb” (Fitzgerald, pp. 43-44). The image produced is one that indicates that no expenses were ever spared, even for the most trivial devices. And rather than taking a trivial role in the story itself, material items such as the orange squeezer, cars, lights boats, and food take on a central role in the story. Such items are symbols of status, and thusly, a measurement of an individuals importance in society. Consequently, Fitzgerald’s novel is able to focus the reader’s attention onto one of the unfortunate results of such successful capitalism and its extravagant effects. This consequence is greed. The accomplishment of inserting oneself into the upper echelons of society is not enough anymore. The material wealth that provides a family with a healthy and sufficient subsistence is insufficient. As Adam Smith said, consumption must continue. Therefore, the idea of ‘more’ is planted into the individuals mind, and the ability to reach the original goal of material wealth and happiness becomes impossible.                       Third, the unfulfilling nature of the American dream can be seen throughout the narrative in the characters of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson, each of whom falls victim to the grandeur of the American dream. The opulence and status takes hold of each of their lives until happiness simply becomes an unattainable dream. In Gatsby’s first introduction into the story, he is shrouded by a cloud of mystery and extravagance. No one knows anything concrete about him. At his parties, rumors jump from table to table about who Gatsby is and what means he could possibly have taken in order to gain such a fortune. His image, in terms of wealth, from the outside was about as perfect as one could hope during the time. He was in the top tier of society, his money giving him a great deal of power, and yet, he died alone, unhappy, and without that which he wanted above all else, Daisy. Ultimately, when Nick is able to discover the truth about Gatsby’s life, it seems to be a life of constant insecurity and permanent dissatisfaction with the life he has. As a teen, while working as a clam digger along the shore of Lake Superior, Nick describes how James Gatz’s mind would run wild at night, “The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor” (105). He was taken by dreams of ‘ineffable gaudiness’. If only he could attain this material wealth, he would be happy. As it turned out, though, the happiness begot by the material wealth he did gain was only ephemeral. Till the day he died, he was driven by what he could not have. The subject of Gatsby’s ultimate desires, Daisy Buchanan, reveals to the reader a similar, yet separate drawback to the American dream. In her youth, Daisy had fallen madly in love with Gatsby, but Gatsby was poor and he knew that Daisy could not take him because of this. In his absence, she married Tom Buchanan, a successful businessman from a wealthy family. Living with her husband Tom in East Egg Village, she lived an affluent and comfortable life. As far as American capitalism and the American dream are concerned, it was an ideal arrangement. But that is exactly what it was, an arrangement, built and maintained without love or happiness. Tom Buchanan has an affair with Myrtle Wilson, a situation which Daisy is fully aware of, though she does not know who exactly the mistress is. When Gatsby reintroduces himself into her life, she jumps into his dream and for a moment it seems that that they can live happily together without a second thought. But when a confrontation inevitably arises between Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy, everyone is violently brought back to reality. Daisy learns of Gatsby’s dishonest means of making his fortune and reverts back to the safety of her arrangement with Tom. Finally, Myrtle Wilson’s brief appearances as Tom Buchanan’s mistress, are possibly the most telling situations with regard to the greed-obsessed characteristic of the American dream. When Nick meets her for the first time, she engages in a conversation in which she describes her thoughts on her husband, ‘“The only crazy I was was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake. He borrowed somebody’s best suit to get married in and never even told me about it, and the man came after it one day when he was out’” (39). Her husband, George Wilson, is a kind, soft-spoken gentleman, who owns a car repair shop, but he does not have extravagant wealth and he does not have status. Myrtle sees him as below her; he couldn’t even afford his own suit for their wedding. She is appalled and offended at this frugality. To be associated with someone as low and base as George Wilson is simply unacceptable. The image of wealth is more important than happiness and quality of character. All of these characters’ lives come to an interconnected and tragic conclusion in which no one is left content, and those who are still alive, are left wanting.                        In summary, the American dream represented the idea that an individual, through hard work and perseverance, could escape the grips of poverty and create a life for himself and his family. The Great Gatsby’s numerous images of material wealth and luxury display the often unsatisfying results of such material pursuits. Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson each represent an aspect of the lack of fulfillment that the American dream can bring. In conclusion, Fitzgerald’s novel portrays an American dream that, through its unilateral pursuit of wealth and status, leaves its pursuers in want of true happiness and loving companionship. While achieving greater equality in America is a goal worth pursuing, this search for equality cannot become overwhelmed by greed and an uncontrollable desire for dollar bills and reputations, for these ends are the antitheses to real equality and success.    needs Works Cited…see samples in Modules for format for this page Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2003.   Gaskell, Elizabeth. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. London: Penguin, 1998.   Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edwin Cannan,             ed. 1904. Library of Economics and Liberty. 26 September 2011.

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