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The 24 Literary Devices You Must Know

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Jun 21, 2018 12:00:00 PM

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Need to analyze The Scarlet Letter or To Kill a Mockingbird for English class? Then you’ve come to the right place. In order to successfully interpret and analyze literary texts, you’ll need to have a solid foundation in literary devices. What are the most common literary devices to know? What literary techniques are typically used in comedic writing? In dramas?

In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive list of literary devices, along with each device’s definition and an example of how it’s used.

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Most Important Themes in Great Gatsby, Analyzed

Posted by Halle Edwards | Jun 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

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Need to write about a theme for a Great Gatsby assignment or just curious about what exactly a theme is? Not sure where to start? Learn here what a theme is, what the main themes in The Great Gatsby are, and what the best tips for writing about themes for your English/Language Arts class essays are.

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Most Important Quotes From The Crucible, Analyzed

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jun 1, 2018 5:00:00 PM

Book Guides

The Crucible is four acts and 134 pages of tight dialogue and economical action. It can be hard to pick out particular moments or quotes as being key since everything moves along so quickly. Never fear! I have your back with this complete guide to The Crucible quotes.

I’ll go over the most important quotes from The Crucible, explaining both their literal meaning and why they’re important. For clarity, the quotes are grouped into four themes: irony, fear and hysteria, pride and reputation, and power and authority. Each section also includes additional quotes that fall under the same general theme for you to practice analyzing on your own.

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Best Analysis: Valley of Ashes in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 21, 2018 7:00:00 AM

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In The Great Gatsby, between the glittering excitement of Manhattan and the stately mansions of East and West Egg, there is a horrible stretch of road that goes through an area covered in dust and ash from the nearby factories.

Why does the novel insist on spending time in this depressing place? Why, instead of simply calling it Queens, or giving it a fictional name, does Nick refer to it by the vaguely Biblical-sounding “valley of ashes”?

In this article, I’ll dissect this potent symbol of the failure of the American Dream, analyze the places it occurs in the text, figure out the characters who are most closely associated with this location, and give you some tips on writing essays about this image.

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Best Character Analysis: Myrtle Wilson - The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 9, 2018 4:00:00 PM

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In most books and movies, the “other woman” – the woman having an affair with a married man – is often painted as a villain. But what about in The Great Gatsby, a novel in which both married women (Myrtle Wilson and Daisy Buchanan) are having affairs? Especially given that one (Daisy) ends up killing the other (Myrtle), is Myrtle just a one-note “other woman,” or is there more to her?

Myrtle’s role in the story isn’t as large as Daisy’s, Gatsby’s, or Tom’s. However, she is crucial to the plot of the story, and especially to its tragic conclusion. Find out more about Myrtle’s role in Gatsby in this guide!

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Best Analysis: Eyes of TJ Eckleburg in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 9, 2018 4:00:00 PM

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In The Great Gatsby, in the middle of a strange, gray landscape, hovers a giant billboard of eyes without a face - the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. It’s a creepy image, and the fact that several characters seem disturbed by it means that it is very significant in the novel. But did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald didn’t make up this advertisement? If you image search “oculist shop sign,” you’ll see that this disembodied eyes thing was a pretty standard way to advertise places that sold glasses!

So how does The Great Gatsby transform what would have a reasonable everyday image into a sign of the macabre? And why does this billboard affect the characters who see them so much? In this article, I’ll talk about the places where the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg are mentioned in the novel, explain their symbolic meaning, connect them with the novel’s themes and characters, and also give you some jumping-off points for writing essays.

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Best Analysis: Green Light in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 2, 2018 3:00:00 PM

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One of the most arresting images in The Great Gatsby is Nick’s vision of Gatsby stretching his arms out towards a small green light on the opposite shore of the bay. The mysterious, almost mystical nature of this gesture is a sure-fire sign that this green light is a symbol.

What is a symbol? It’s something that is given extra meaning beyond itself. Something that stops being simply an everyday object, and instead represents thoughts and ideas that are bigger than itself.

What are the abstract ideas behind the green light in The Great Gatsby? Read on to see where this symbol pops up in the novel, what themes it is connected to, which characters are most closely associated with it, and some ideas for essay topics on this symbol.

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Best Character Analysis: Nick Carraway – The Great Gatsby

Posted by Halle Edwards | May 1, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Book Guides

Nick Carraway is The Great Gatsby’s narrator, but he isn’t the protagonist (main character).

This makes Nick himself somewhat tricky to observe, since we see the whole novel through his eyes. How can you watch the narrator? This difficulty is compounded by the fact that Nick is an unreliable narrator – basically, a narrator who doesn’t always tell us the truth about what’s happening.

In this post we will explore what we objectively know about Nick, what he does in the novel, his famous lines, common essay topics/discussion topics about Nick, and finally some FAQs about Mr. Carraway.

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The 143 Most Important Quotes in The Great Gatsby, Analyzed

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Feb 15, 2018 8:30:00 AM

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Need to solidify your Great Gatsby essay with some evidence from the text? Want a refresher on the novel's style and sound? Curious how to go from a piece of text to a close reading and an analysis? Then check out this article featuring key Great Gatsby quotes!

We've rounded up a collection of important quotes by and about the main characters, quotes on the novel's major themes and symbols, and quotes from each of The Great Gatsby's chapters. In turn, each of the Great Gatsby quotes is followed by some brief analysis and explanation of its significance. 

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Best Analysis: Money and Materialism in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Feb 14, 2018 2:00:00 PM

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In The Great Gatsby, money is a huge motivator in the characters’ relationships, motivations, and outcomes. Most of the characters reveal themselves to be highly materialistic, their motivations driven by their desire for money and things: Daisy marries and stays with Tom because of the lifestyle he can provide her, Myrtle has her affair with Tom due to the privileged world it grants her access to, and Gatsby even lusts after Daisy as if she is a prize to be won. After all, her voice is “full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it. . . . High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl. . . .” (7.106).

So how exactly does materialism reveal itself as a theme, how can it help us analyze the characters, and what are some common assignments surrounding this theme? We will dig into all things money here in this guide.

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Best Analysis: The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 1, 2018 11:00:00 PM

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The Great Gatsby is a tragic love story on the surface, but it’s most commonly understood as a pessimistic critique of the American Dream. In the novel, Jay Gatsby overcomes his poor past to gain an incredible amount of money and a limited amount of social cache in 1920s NYC, only to be rejected by the “old money” crowd. He then gets killed after being tangled up with them.

Through Gatsby’s life, as well as that of the Wilsons’, Fitzgerald critiques the idea that America is a meritocracy where anyone can rise to the top with enough hard work. We will explore how this theme plays out in the plot, briefly analyze some key quotes about it, as well as do some character analysis and broader analysis of topics surrounding the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.

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Best Character Analysis: Jordan Baker - The Great Gatsby

Posted by Halle Edwards | Nov 16, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Book Guides

You know that friend of yours who loves to gossip yet always downplays any drama they get into themselves? Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby is like that friend. A close friend of Daisy Buchanan’s, Jordan dates Nick Carraway during the novel and plays a crucial role in reuniting Daisy with the titular Jay Gatsby.

A couple of years younger than Daisy, Jordan is single and a professional golfer, which sets her apart from her married friend. In fact, Jordan is Daisy’s opposite in many ways, as we will explore in this guide! Read in for a complete guide to Jordan’s appearance, plot points, major quotes, and character analysis!

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Best Rebecca Nurse Analysis — The Crucible

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jul 8, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Rebecca Nurse is a prominent and respected older woman in Puritan Salem, drawn into the witchcraft trials because of her and her husband’s friction with the Putnams. Though she has the least stage time of any of the major characters, Rebecca is important because of the moral ideals she represents.

This guide goes over what we do know about Rebecca and explains why she is so important to the play despite her limited time in the audience’s eye.

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Best Abigail Williams Analysis - The Crucible

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Jun 17, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Abigail Williams is the pebble that gets the avalanche of the Salem witch trials started. It is Abigail who first says Tituba has been using supernatural powers to corrupt her and Betty, and it is Abigail who jumps on the (metaphorical) accusation train after Tituba has been coerced into confessing her involvement and naming co-conspirators.

In this guide, we’ll go over Abigail’s entire sphere of influence, from her role as the lead accuser in the witch trials to the relationship between Abigail and John Proctor, and discuss what drives Abigail to act as she does throughout the course of the play.

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Most Important Themes in The Crucible, Analyzed

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jun 17, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

The Crucible remains a staple of high school English because it is rich in themes that are consistently relevant to human beings regardless of time period. But these themes aren't always easy to explain or dissect in the context of the play, and they can be even harder to develop into essays. Read on for an overview of what a theme is, a list of important themes in The Crucible with specific act-by-act details, and a summary of how to use this information in your essays and other assignments.  

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