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Ch 4: Classic American Literature Essay Topics

About This Chapter

Test your students' comprehension of classic American literature with these convenient essay topics. You can access these essay topics whenever you need to plan your English curriculum or generate ideas for your students' essay assignments.

Classic American Literature Essay Topics - Chapter Summary

Use these essay topics to assess your students' understanding of works of classic American literature. These essay topics cover the literary elements of many famous novels, including The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath and The Sun Also Rises.

You can assign these essay topics to your students or use them to generate your own essay prompt ideas based on your own literature curriculum. These resources can be accessed on any device that has an Internet connection so you can plan your instruction when and where it's convenient.

How It Helps

  • Improves critical thinking skills: Your students will be challenged to think critically about the devices and themes from classic American literary works.
  • Boosts writing skills: Use these essay ideas to strengthen your students' compositional abilities.
  • Helps plan essay topics: Get quick access to essay ideas for the novels you're covering in your literature class in one convenient location.

Skills Covered

By the end of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Assign essay prompts, journal topics and research papers on various works of classic American literature, including The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Ethan Frome, The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Twelve Years a Slave
  • Assess your students' understanding of the themes in The Great Gatsby, including morality, wealth, social class, color, feminism, identity and the American Dream
  • Challenge your students to think critically about literary devices, themes and motifs from a variety of literary works
  • Provide essay prompts/topics on authors Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald

27 Lessons in Chapter 4: Classic American Literature Essay Topics
Themes in The Great Gatsby Essay Topics

1. Themes in The Great Gatsby Essay Topics

If your students are reading Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby', you have a wonderful opportunity to get them thinking about important themes from American literature. This lesson offers essay topics that will help your students engage in critical analysis of the text.

The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts on the American Dream

2. The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts on the American Dream

The American Dream is one of the most important themes in Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby.' Help your students write about this theme using the essay prompts in this lesson.

The Great Gatsby Research Paper Topics

3. The Great Gatsby Research Paper Topics

Prior to reading any novel, having a basic understanding of its background and context can support reading comprehension. This lesson outlines ideas for student research centered on the context of ''The Great Gatsby.~'

The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts on Identity

4. The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts on Identity

''The Great Gatsby'' has many powerful characters who are fighting a variety of demons. As your students consider the questions in this lesson, they can develop a greater appreciation and understanding of each character's identity.

The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts About Daisy

5. The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts About Daisy

As one of the major characters in 'The Great Gatsby,' Daisy Buchanan deserves close attention and literary reflection from students of the work. This lesson offers prompts that will help your students write reflective essays about Daisy.

The Great Gatsby Character Analysis Essay Prompts

6. The Great Gatsby Character Analysis Essay Prompts

''The Great Gatsby'' is one of the most interesting novels to teach. This lesson provides thought-provoking essay prompts centered on analyzing the characters in the novel.

Conflict in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

7. Conflict in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

There are many examples of conflict in ''The Great Gatsby''. Encouraging students to contemplate the conflicts gives them a unique perspective to understand how these conflicts affect the characters.

Feminism in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

8. Feminism in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

Feminism is not a theme often discussed in relation to ~'The Great Gatsby,~' but it is a very important one. This lesson offers essay prompts that help your students think about feminism as it relates to this Fitzgerald work.

The Great Gatsby & The Lost Generation Essay Prompts

9. The Great Gatsby & The Lost Generation Essay Prompts

One of the major themes in F. Scott Fitzgerald's ~'The Great Gatsby~' has to do with the lost generation. This lesson offers essay topics that will encourage students to think about this theme in the context of the novel.

The Great Gatsby Journal Topics

10. The Great Gatsby Journal Topics

Writing in journals can be a wonderful way for students to reflect on literature as they read. This lesson offers journal topics oriented toward helping your students make sense of ''The Great Gatsby.''

The Sun Also Rises Essay Topics

11. The Sun Also Rises Essay Topics

'The Sun Also Rises' is one of the great works of American literature, and reading it will help students move closer to some important themes. This lesson offers essay topics that help students better understand Hemingway's work.

Ethan Frome Essay Topics

12. Ethan Frome Essay Topics

'Ethan Frome' is a great American literature classic, and it offers your students an opportunity to think about important and universal literary themes. This lesson encourages students to think deeply about the work through essay ideas.

Color in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

13. Color in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

Fitzgerald's popular 1920s novel 'The Great Gatsby' is packed with layers of meaning. These essay topics focus specifically on Fitzgerald's use of color, and they can help you guide students to uncover less-obvious meanings in the book.

Social Class in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

14. Social Class in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

Social class is one of the major underlying themes in 'The Great Gatsby'. This lesson offers some essay prompts for helping your students think critically about class and status in the novel.

Wealth in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

15. Wealth in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

If your students are reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby,' you probably want to get them thinking more deeply about its different themes. This lesson offers essay topics focused on wealth.

Morality in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

16. Morality in The Great Gatsby Essay Prompts

Studying 'The Great Gatsby' is an opportunity for students to consider morality and motivation among a variety of characters. Use the prompts in this lesson to help your students consider the moral and ethical situations the characters face.

Ernest Hemingway Essay Topics

17. Ernest Hemingway Essay Topics

Ernest Hemingway the man is a subject as rich in topics to discuss as the great works of literature he created. He was one of the most fascinating personalities of the last century. Read on to discover essay suggestions that examine both the writer and his work.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay Prompts

18. F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay Prompts

F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most important classic American writers. The prompts in this lesson give your students a chance to reflect on his life and overall works while developing their own skills using the writing process.

The Grapes of Wrath Essay Prompts on Religion

19. The Grapes of Wrath Essay Prompts on Religion

~'The Grapes of Wrath~' is a major classic in American literature, and students will learn a lot from reading it closely. This lesson offers a series of essay topics related specifically to religion in the novel.

East of Eden Essay Prompts

20. East of Eden Essay Prompts

~'East of Eden~' is an important American novel that deals with themes like free will, the importance of family, and the meaning of fortune. This lesson offers essay topics that will help your students write meaningful essays about Steinbeck's work.

East of Eden Essay Prompts on Good vs. Evil

21. East of Eden Essay Prompts on Good vs. Evil

John Steinbeck's 'East of Eden' is one of the great classics of American literature. This lesson offers a series of essay topics that will prompt students to think about the theme of good vs. evil in the novel.

Twelve Years a Slave Memoir Essay Topics

22. Twelve Years a Slave Memoir Essay Topics

~'Twelve Years a Slave~', by Solomon Northup, offers an important account of what it meant to be a slave in pre-Civil War America. This lesson offers essay topics that will bring your students in closer to the text and all of its lessons.

The Yellow Wallpaper Essay Topics

23. The Yellow Wallpaper Essay Topics

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story 'The Yellow Wallpaper' is one that is open to a variety of critical perspectives. The essay topics in this lesson will push students to read the story closely and support their interpretations.

A Farewell to Arms Essay Topics

24. A Farewell to Arms Essay Topics

In this lesson, we will have a look at some possible essay prompts regarding Ernest Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms'. The lesson begins with some background information, and the prompts are organized by theme and topic.

Roman Fever Essay Topics

25. Roman Fever Essay Topics

If your students are reading classic American short stories, you might focus on 'Roman Fever', by Edith Wharton. This lesson offers essay topics that will help students analyze the characters, plot and themes of the story.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Essay Topics

26. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Essay Topics

Are your students reading 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' by Ambrose Bierce? If so, this lesson will provide some essay topics that prompt careful reading and critical thinking about this complex, disturbing, and meaningful literary work.

The Sun Also Rises Discussion Questions

27. The Sun Also Rises Discussion Questions

'The Sun Also Rises' is a novel by Ernest Hemingway about a group of friends who are attempting to find themselves during their international travels after World War I. This lesson will guide classroom discussions about this book.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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