Great Expectations Generations vs. Great Gatsby

Claim: The Great Expectations Generation desires to break away from the expectations of older generations and to meet their own, instead of just working to produce the test scores and present themselves as perfect as commented on in Emma Gonzalez’s essay, Morning in America by Jon Bellion, Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People, and the article Perfectionism Among Teens is Rampant by Rachel Simmons by discussing self motivation and expectations of adults to inspire this generation to live up to their own expectations and make a positive impact on the world.

Topic Sentence #1: Emma Gonzalez, Jon Bellion, Foster the People, and Rachel Simmons build a theme of self-motivation amongst teens by showing that they go to extremes to meet their personal goals so that they can advocate for issues and do what is right in their perspectives.

  • Evidence (Emma Gonzalez Essay)
    • The essay states, “We are tired of being ignored. So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it just yet, and for those who will never speak again” (Gonzalez 1).
      • Explanation
        • In this quote, Emma Gonzalez is discussing her reasoning for speaking up about gun violence and school shootings. She says that she is trying to speak for those who can’t. She is self-motivated to create a better and safer world because of her tragic experience in the Parkland High School shooting. She is acting upon the gun violence issue because nobody else is. I know this because she says, “We are tired of being ignored”, in the above quote which means that she is ready for action.
      • Connection to What
        • This quote shows the personal expectations and goals of the generation to make a positive impact on the world. Emma Gonzalez is done waiting for lawmakers to take action which shows her breaking away from the expectations of past generations for teens to stay quiet and works toward meeting her own which means bringing attention to gun violence.
      • Connection to How
        • The quote shows that Emma Gonzalez is motivated through her own spirit to bring light to the issue that caused the death of her friends. It shows that she has a personal reason to speak on the topics, not just some school project or assignment.
      • Connection to Why
        • The quote shows that the generation has personal expectations and hopes to inspire other members of the generation to fight for what they believe in. Emma Gonzalez says that she is speaking up for everybody that does not have a voice, trying to inspire others to join her on the issue and speak about other issues, to impact the world positively.
  • Evidence (Morning in America – Jon Bellion)
    • This song says, “When the class president overdosed, we all pretended” (Bellion 1).
      • Explanation
        • In this quote, Bellion states that the class president, who likely had great expectations for himself, overdosed on drugs. When this occurred other students acted like it didn’t happen because of the shock that someone of that stature would make a foolish choice like taking deadly drugs.
      • Connection to What
        • The class president discussed in the quote was hoping to meet his goals in life but he took it to the extreme. He took drugs to break away from the rules and expectations his parents likely set for him just to meet his own goals.
      • Connection to How
        • The quote shows his self-motivation to be more successful. It is seen when the Bellion said that the class president overdosed. In an explanation video of the song, it said that the class president was taking drugs to perform better academically. His motivation was so strong that he took drugs to feed it.
      • Connection to Why
        • This detail was included in the song to show that our generation is willing to go to extremes to meet expectations whether set by us or by others, to make our lives and the world as a whole a better place. The class president was used as an example of someone who wishes to meet their own expectations to an extreme level.
Great Expectations Generations vs. Great Gatsby
Great Expectations Generations vs. Great Gatsby; Order Here for Essays in Language & Literature
  • Evidence (Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People)
    • The song says, “Yeah, he found a six-shooter gun” (Foster the People 1).
      • Explanation
        • The quote is saying that Robert, the main character, finally found a gun which he plans on killing people at his school with due to isolation and bullying discussed in other parts of this song.
      • Connection to What
        • In the previous generations, men were expected to keep all of their emotions to themselves and have no release. By getting the gun, Robert plans to break away from the expectation to hold back and let go of his strong and hateful emotions by shooting his schoolmates.
      • Connection to How
        • The quote hints at the expectations of Robert to be accepted and how those were not met, leading to him shooting up the school. This shows that Robert did not meet his expectations, so he was going to extreme actions to avenge them in a sense.
      • Connection to Why
        • Robert finds a gun and uses it for destruction but to him as a character it is a positive impact because it will help him meet his personal expectations of being accepted and cared for.
  • Evidence (Perfectionism among teens is Rampant – Rachel Simmons)
    • This article says, “ As kids hungrily seek the “likes” of their peers, it is not uncommon for many to delete posts that don’t receive enough likes” (Simmons 1).
      • Explanation
        • This quote is discussing social media and the liking system. It states that many kids post so they can receive likes and often if an ample amount of likes is not seen, they will remove the posts from their pages.
      • Connection to What
        • Many kids, as discussed in this quote, use social media for likes. They are self motivated to put out good content so they can receive likes for emotional fulfillment. They are breaking away from the past generation by often doing things like social media for the public’s happiness rather than their own.
      • Connection to How
        • The author presents teens as needy of these likes in order to survive. It shows their self need and motivation for the likes causing them to post unusual or extraordinary things to get likes.
      • Connection to Why
        • The quote inspires young people to realize that they focus to much on what others think of them, rather than if they love themselves or not. The author includes this to emphasize that teens like to do what they see as right in their own eyes, rather than following the example of their parents’ generation.

Topic Sentence #2: Emma Gonzales, Jon Bellion, Foster the People, and Rachel Simmons form a connection between the pressure of being a teen and the heavy expectations set on teens by adults by discussing test scores and opinions to show the real experience of being a teen in this generation.

  • Evidence (Emma Gonzalez Article)
    • The article says, “Adults like us when we have strong opinions, but they hate us when we have strong opinions” (Gonzalez 1).
      • Explanation
        • This quote is saying that adults are proud and happy when teens get high test scores but they dislike teens with powerful opinions. It talks about the high expectations to get great test scores but no reciprocated respect for the opinions of young people.
      • Connection to What
        • Emma Gonzalez is saying that she wants her opinions to be valued as much as her test scores. She desires to break away from just the expectations of high test scores so her opinions are more valued by the adults in her community.
      • Connection to How
        • The discussion of test scores in the quote are a representation of the expectations of adults. Though students hope to get high scores, adults often set very high expectations for them. Emma talks about this by refuting the expectations with a plea for respect of opinions as well.
      • Connection to Why
        • Emma hoped to inspire others to not just focus on the test scores and crushing expectations of others and to formulate opinions and be heard to make a positive impact on the world.
  • Evidence (Morning in America – Jon Bellion)
    • The song says, “I’ve been trying to keep up/ With all of these great expectations/ So, I keep on fakin’” (Bellion 1).
      • Explanation
        • This song discusses the life of a suburban teen. This quote says that the kid has been working hard to stay with the rest of his peers and stay on track to meet the expectations set by adults. He ends up faking his image to seem as he met the expectations around the adults.
      • Connection to What
        • The teen in the quote has become so engulfed in the expectations of others that he is putting on a fake image. His American Dream is that of this generation which is to break away from past expectations and achieve your own goals, but the amount of expectations put on this teen prevent him from getting his dream.
      • Connection to How
        • This quote discusses the expectations of adults in relation to this teenager being prevented from achieving his American dream. The author uses words like expectations instead of goals to make it seem stricter so the character seems more weighed down.
      • Connection to Why
        • This quote is included in the text to bring awareness to the effects of strict expectations and little freedom in decisions. It is also included to inspire teens to be themselves and come out of the fake masks that expectations force them to put on.
  • Evidence  (Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People)
    • The song says, “He’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan” (Foster the People 1).
      • Explanation
        • This quote is talking about the main character Robert. It says he will look around but never tell anyone his plan to kill them. Robert came to this decision because of societal expectations that he failed to meet.
      • Connection to What
        • After attempting to meet societal expectations that are generations old, Robert decides to do what he thinks is right for him rather than the expectations. He conceals his plan but looks around the room as a symbol of his failure in the expectations but new idea to somewhat avenge them.
      • Connection to How
        • In the quote the author uses symbolism and foreshadowing to show that Robert is going to follow his needs rather than societal expectations no matter how wrong his needs are.
      • Connection to Why
        • This is included to get inside the mind of psychotic people and to inspire people to leave norms and be themselves without violence like Robert.
  • Evidence (Perfectionism among teen is rampant- Rachel Simmons)
    • The article states, “…young people are more burdened than ever by pressure from others” (Simmons 1).
      • Explanation
        • The quote says that many teens are severely overworked and stressed by expectations and pressures caused by others, it also says that it is more than ever meaning more than past generations.
      • Connection to What
        • This quote proves that young people are severely burdened by societal expectations. It shows the need for them to break away and work to meet their own expectations as that is the dream for this generation. We all want to focus on ourselves and be happy and healthy.
      • Connection to How
        • This quote is presented in an alarming way. It uses the language “more burdened than ever” to show just how bad the expectations are. It also makes clear the fact that they are set by others.
      • Connection to Why
        • This was included so that people would know just how bad the burdens are. It is also to inspire teens to free themselves up a little bit so they can focus more on positivity.

Mini Claim: Our generation today has changed since the generation described in “The Great Gatsby” because of newfound respect in earning money rather than inheriting from family members.

            Evidence: The text states that Tom was, “… a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anticlimax. His family were enormously wealth” (Fitzgerald 6).

  • Explanation: This quote says that Tom Buchanan was a very important and wealthy figure at a young age though no accomplishments were listed of his. It also mentions his family’s wealth which he had inherited to become so wealthy.
  • Connection to Great Expectations Generation
    • In the quote Tom was viewed as a noble man just because he inherited money. He had no true skills or achievements. In the Great Expectations Generation, respect is earned through working hard to earn your money. Society and parents have high expectations for their children to climb the socio-economic ladder rather than being handed everything for free like Tom.

Evidence: Nick says, “I lived at West Egg, the — well, less fashionable of the two” (Fitzgerald 5).

  • Explanation: In this quote, Nick says that his island of living is less respected than its counterpart. This is because West Egg had new money and East Egg had inherited money.
  • Connection with Great Expectations Generation:
    • This quote shows that new money, meaning recently earned money, was not as cool and respected as having inherited money. Now, it is quite the opposite. Those who earned their money are seen as people who are more respectable than those who got all their wealth for free, unlike the generation presented in “The Great Gatsby”.

Works Cited

Bellion, Jon. “Morning in America.” Genius, Genius Media Group Inc., 10 June 2016,

People, Foster The. “ Pumped Up Kicks.” Genius, Genius Media Group Inc., 14 Oct. 2010,

Emma Gonzalez. “Parkland Student Emma González Opens Up About Her Fight for Gun Control.” Harper’s BAZAAR, Harper’s BAZAAR, 7 Mar. 2018.

Simmons, Rachel. “Perfectionism among Teens Is Rampant (and We’re Not Helping).” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Jan. 2018

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