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Cultural Context - I'm Not Scared, The Great Gatsby, All My Sons for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

“The world of a text, and how it affects the behaviour of central characters, can influence a reader’s response to the events that take place”.With the Comparative, you will end up covering the same points in many essays - but your angle really matters. The essay below tries really hard to fit a Literary Genre take onto a Cultural Context title. This greatly sabotages the all-important P of PCLM. Also, it's better to paraphrase than to misquote. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 
#625Lab (a) Discuss the extent to which this statement applies to at least one central character in one of the texts on your comparative course. Support your answer with reference to the text.
In light of the above statement, the film “I’m Not Scared” by Gabriel Salvatores contains central characters that are corrupt and immoral because of the world they live in. The world of the text is revealed through many aspects which I will discuss below. These aspects affected the cha…

The Great Gatsby: Daisy character essay for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

At the end of the novel, the reader realises that Daisy has been largely unaffected by the events that have taken place. 

Do you agree with this view? (Sample paper 2016) 


This is a sample question, but a particularly well-phrased and realistic one - as in I can envisage such a question on the State Examination Commission paper. 

The answer below is fantastically focused at the start and then loses its guiding star. Why? I think the author ran out of points to make. Clarity of purpose, i.e. what you have to say, trumps how you say it. That's the main idea in the LC English marking scheme.

What are the main things you need to do to make this into a H1 answer? Quote more, about twice as much, and quote correctly. I've left in and highlighted some of the more dangerous instances of misquoting to show you how it can go wrong. You also need to have clearer structure. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 

Daisy Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby" is portrayed as and is perhaps the most villainous character in the novel. She is enigmatic while also being perhaps the most disappointing character of the entire story. Although Fitzgerald makes her a character worthy of Gatsby’s ultimate devotion, in the end, Daisy reveals herself for what she really is. Despite her beauty and her charm, she is, in fact, a very hurtful and careless woman. 

The Great Gatsby Daisy character essay for Leaving Cert English

When we are first introduced to her as a character, Nick meets her sitting on an ‘enormous couch... buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon.’ From this first meeting of Daisy, we are given the illusion that Daisy is like an angel on earth. She is painted in the reader's mind as being above the conflicting storyline and this sets us up to believe, from the first few pages of the novel, that she is clearly unaffected, and even somewhat uninterested, in the events that are to take place. (Boom, very strong point!) She is routinely linked with the colour white and always addressing people with only the most endearing terms. She appears pure in a world full of cheats and liars. Furthermore, given her role of being Gatsby’s obsession and what lengths he has gone to get her, she seems a worthy paramour. {Main point: Daisy is set up as an angelic character.}

As the novel ventures on, more of the real Daisy Buchanan is revealed, and bit-by-bit she becomes less of an ideal. She is now fully aware of her husband’s infidelities, however, because he has money and power and she enjoys the benefits that she receives from these things, she seems largely unaffected by the corruption of it, and instead is willing to deal with the affairs. When Tom and Gatsby have their confrontation at the hotel in Chapter 7, Daisy's motivations are called into question. Her inability to deny having loved Tom speaks well for her, but at the same time, it suggests that her attachment to Gatsby has been purely business. She doesn’t actually show any signs of being affected (the author of this essay is trying hard to include the key term "unaffected", but is getting a bit carried away - and her language is starting to appear clunky and contrived. Consider synonyms: unfazed, unstirred, unchanged, untouched, etc. This would be better than repeating a word that doesn't really fit into the sentence.) by the obsession Gatsby shows towards her, and even if she does, she doesn’t let us know about it. To us, it seems like Gatsby’s love to Daisy is unrequited which, surprisingly makes us pity Gatsby for not being able to pursue his dreams of being with Daisy, even if attaining her is through corrupt means. Tom also knows that when Daisy finds out about realises that Gatsby not being from their same social circles, she will return to Tom for the comfort and protection that his money and power bring. Although we know Daisy will eventually retreat back into her money and material possessions, we see the events happening around her, hoping that they will provoke some disruption in her life, but as readers, we clearly see that these events seemingly have no effect on her in no any way at all. (This makes it sound like Gatsby can't offer her money - which isn't true. It is something else she is after, old money, and they social status it brings.) {Main point: Daisy cares more about money than love.}

Although Daisy's true self-comes out more and more each time Nick encounters her, her final actions help show what she has been really made of and how nothing in the novel will infect her seemingly ‘perfect’ world. When Daisy hits and kills Myrtle Wilson, and then leaves the scene, readers know that she is devoid of a conscience. It is not noted anywhere or speculated on the emotions of Daisy after she single-handily killed another person. Instead, unaffected and uncaring towards the action, she comes to the window at 4 am to Gatsby who is protecting her outside, and simply ‘turns out her light.(This is not an exact quote, so don't use quotation marks.) This shows Daisy’s power, and reinforces to us, as readers, how little Daisy cares about her drastic actions taken in the previous hours of the night. Daisy wears white also throughout these moments and white is an absence of colour. Perhaps Fitzgerald could be implying metaphorically that Daisy is a blank canvas, but also a catalyst for the destruction of many characters in the novel. Perhaps all that white that has surrounded her isn't so much purity and more so that the white represents a void, as a lack of intellectualism intellect and a lack of conscience. (This is excellent: the author is making it clear that she is speculating and in putting forward a sound theory about symbolism in the novel she shows her own engagement with the text.) {Main point: Daisy isn't fazed by having slaughtered a person.}

It is clear to us readers that Daisy lacks emotion towards other characters. While she never states that she is bored of her materialistic lifestyle when she says, "What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon... and the day after that, and the next thirty years?" This shows her shallowness and perhaps how bored she is of this life she is living. However, she will do seemingly nothing about it, until she literally "retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness". {Main point: Daisy is bored. Would have been a good place to talk about her attitude to her daughter.}

At the end of the novel, the reader realises that Daisy has been largely unaffected by the events that have taken place.

It seems that Tom actually does have some clear emotions towards Myrtle, declares them to Nick and describes how he ‘sat down and cried like a baby’, declaring that Myrtle’s death was ‘awful’, so it is clear to us readers that Tom is really upset about his affair’s death. However, in keeping with Daisy’s lack of conscience, she abandons Gatsby in his death. While we do not know exactly how Daisy is feeling, we can imagine it is not the same reaction that her husband has had, as she clearly doesn’t seem too upset if she didn’t even make an appearance at Gatsby’s funeral to which ‘nobody came.’ Daisy ‘didn’t even send a message or a flower’ "hadn't sent a message or a flower" when she heard about his death, instead Tom is found buying pearls in the city which shows Tom and Daisy’s ‘vast carelessness’ they feel towards the damage they seemingly caused. It shows their materialism and selfishness and how they will never have enough in life. Even Nick holds some hope and ‘was sure there’d be a wire from Daisy before noon’, but in reality, Daisy has no care about Gatsby and is very much unaffected by the events that took place in that summer. Instead her and her husband Tom, ‘had gone away... and taken baggage with them’, and that baggage is the fake, materialistic love they hold for one another, leaving behind the destruction cause by their selfishness. (The problem with this paragraph is that it has the same message as preceding paragraphs. It also goes off on a tangent about Tom, giving him prime real estate at the start of the paragraph. If the author had wanted to compare Daisy's lack of empathy to empathy expressed by others, it would have been a reasonable paragraph - but then you need to frame it that way.)

Gatsby is obsessed with wanting to talk about and with Daisy throughout the novel, but in the entire nine chapters, we never see Daisy gushing about the love or feelings she has for Gatsby. She seems entirely unaffected by any of the events in the novel. Gatsby describes Daisy as a source of life as he ‘clutches onto some last hope’ is "clutching at some last hope" and describes it as a ‘breathless intensity.’ Gatsby breathes all this life and ambition into Daisy, however, she could not care less. She is hugely aware of her power and presence. “Tom and Daisy were careless people who smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and then let other people clean up the mess they had made.” (One of the main quotations of the play, so don't mess it up, the examiner will want this one perfect! "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made"). Daisy and Tom retreated back into what they knew best without a care in the world. (The problem with this paragraph is that it has the same message as preceding paragraphs.)

It seems that Daisy Buchanan of East Egg, Long Island, has little to no care in the world when it comes to people around her. It is not until the end of the novel that her actions clearly speak to us as readers and not only tell us but show us, how Daisy has been ultimately largely unaffected by the events that have taken place throughout the course of the novel. “Daisy was too wise to carry well-forgotten dreams from age-to-age”("But there was Jordan beside me who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age." - big mistake to misquote that.) She knew exactly what she is doing throughout the novel and she won’t let the dramatic incidents of the novel affect her and this truly shows how Daisy Buchanan embodies the American Dream. Daisy is merely an illusion.

For more info on Daisy check out this article. This is aimed at SAT students, so don't get too bogged down in it!

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