Why ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is This Generation’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

Why ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is This Generation’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

[Step aside, Jay and Daisy.]

After discussing how Crazy Rich Asians has been compared to Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, Natalie Sonier, a student at Wake Forest University, argues that the film is better understood compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby [set up this way, this article gestures toward the “bait and switch” argument strategy from the “Kinds of Arguments” handout.

The excerpt below is where Sonier starts the switch! You can read the full article by clicking the link above.

. . .

“Nick Young, on the other hand, is the life of every party and everyone’s favorite guest, but he does not let his popularity go to his head. Instead, he chooses to hide his immense wealth from Rachel, never wanting her to think it defines him as fundamentally different.

In this way, rather than resembling the “Pride and Prejudice” narrative, “Crazy Rich Asians” actually draws closer parallels to “The Great Gatsby.” For instance, Nick’s character mirrors that of Jay Gatsby, as both men go out of their way to please their loves, although they so in two extremely different ways – Young keeps his family fortune a secret, while Gatsby opts to throw the most lavish parties possible to attract his beloved Daisy.

Here are a few other reasons why “Crazy Rich Asians” must be the next “The Great Gatsby.” 

Beautiful Things and Beautiful People

Nick perfectly fits the description of tall, dark and handsome. But what’s more, his character is hardly the most attractive of those others in Kwan’s novel. Between cousin Astrid’s exotic features and Araminta Lee’s supermodel legs, Rachel sees greater perfection in every direction.

Of course, the most beautiful people must be dressed in the most beautiful clothing, and therefore, Kwan adorns his characters in carefully detailed custom-made couture from around the world. Delicate fabrics contrast the glare of extravagant jewels the women in the novel shower themselves in, and at least one person asks about the designer of someone’s ensemble at every gathering, practically every few pages of the novel.

But, this material obsession offers a sort of comic relief in situations where the familial tension can be felt by readers. Even if Kwan’s style of subtle mockery and sarcasm aimed at these crazy rich families isn’t your go-to idea of comedy, you’re bound to get a laugh out of the price-tag Kwan puts on some of those designer dresses.”


Multimedia-Multimodal Final Argument Project + Presentation

What Represents Your 21st Century Great Gatsby? And Why?

In place of a final written assignment, you are invited to create an alternative genre, multimedia, or multimodal project that synthesizes what you have learned about argument writing in Expository Writing to represent your 21st Century Great Gatsby.

In other words, you will design + present a project that translates what you have learned about drafting & revising written arguments into a genre/format that is NOT a written argument. Writing is involved in other ways (in the script of a presentation—which explains how your project illustrates + supports the argument you design using images-colors-size-images-sound-video-words +/or other components that are not words.

Elements of the Essay
Motive, Stance, Thesis, Keyterms, Analysis, Assumptions, Sources, Evidence, Stitching, Rhetorical Structural Moves, and Style


Writing Strategies
Hook, Focus, Organization, ACE, Synthesis, They Say, I Say, Counterargument & Refutation, Diction, Lens, and Quotation Weaving

The Final Argument Project has 2 Parts

1. Final Project: A dramatic or poetic performance, a sculpture, a visual, or audio-visual object that proposes & supports an argument to support Your 21st Century Great Gatsby. Presentations should relate-refer to-riff on course texts/themes (topics, focus, arguments, keyterms, quotations), and/or draw upon papers you wrote in Units 1-2. Your project can be a multimodal or alternative genre/format/version of the argument from your Research Paper.

    • Computer-generated: short documentary or short film; computer game, commercial or infomercial, blog, web page, game, podcast, meme, .gif, or other form/genre digital/internet/computer generated project.
    • Performance: poem, speech, song, dramatic monologue, short play, impersonation, puppet show (sock or shadow), manifesto, infomercial, commercial, interview, advertisement, etc.
    • Artwork: illustration, chart, map, sculpture, painting, graphic novel or cartoon/comic strip, installation, diorama, collage, or game (i.e. board game, computer game, role-playing game), costume or poster, advertisement, print or multi-media publication. (i.e. magazine, flyer, weekly paper, etc.)

You must be familiar with + have a solid understanding of the genre or format you choose to represent the argument in your Final Project. So, do not write a soliloquy if you don’t know the formal conventions of this genre of poetry (i.e. blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter). Do not write and perform a Rap if you can’t sing, lack rhythm, or can’t alliteratively string words together in complexly meaningful, metaphorically, multiply significant ways. Don’t draw something if you can’t draw. 

*OPTIONAL: you can submit a “mock-up,” sketch, or draft—to Canvas if you would like feedback before you present your project in class on May 4th.

2. Final Presentation: an in-person live or pre-recorded presentation, or a streamed live or pre-recorded presentation on Zoom, that explains how the project proposes + supports an argument about Your 21st Century Great Gatsby.

    • Feel free to assume an avatar or persona in your Final Project and/or for the Final Presentation, dress in costume if applicable.
      You can cast “extras” if the Presentation requires participants other than yourself.
    • The presentation will be evaluated by its focus, organization, clarity, delivery, and diction.

The Final Project + Presentation is worth the same as the Unit 1 Writing Assignment and will count as 10% of your final grade.

Below are examples of Final Argument Projects from former Expository Writing Students. There are videos made by former students in the Final Project Assignment in Canvas. You can also Click HERE for more Final Projects from former Expo students.

  Fork Tine Mannequin Torso.jpg   Uncanny Mirror Image.png   "The Standard".jpg



Option to Create an Evolving Blog Post or Page for PRELIM 6: Evolving Annotated Bibliography

There is an option for writing PRELIM : Evolving Annotated Bibliography as a Blog Post, earning both PRELIM credit + Blog Post credit. Students who have already completed 10 blog posts will be eligible for extra credit.

First, sign in to your WordPress website (or other blog hosting program).
Second, choose “Posts” or “Add New” from the left menu of the Dashboard.

      • “Add New” (to start a completely new Blog Post)
      • You can add text by copying + pasting from another text file (i.e. MS Word, .pages, Google Docs, etc.) OR typing in the window.For example:Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Thorpe, Ulverscroft, 2018.[Novel Chapter] In a future where most animals are a rare commodity, bounty hunter Rick Deckard tracks deviant androids, hoping to earn enough money to purchase a living sheep (as opposed to the robotic one that he already possesses). In the process, he falls in love with an android. Struck by this unprecedented dilemma, Deckard struggles to differentiate between humanity and inhumanity as he reassesses his situation. Since my essay focuses on the portrayal of robots in media, this classic felt like the perfect reference point. As Deckard realizes the dangers associated with making androids as human as possible, I see a chance to analyze why the androids even need to be human-like in the first place. The book also provides an opportunity to define androids in the context of classic fiction, setting a reference point for the reader audience. Plus, the novel opens the following discussions: What makes a human? What about the androids makes their emotions so uncanny? Why give them the ability to emote in the first place? Are they meant to be better than us? If so, again, why give them emotions? And so on.
    • You can also upload each installment of PRELIM 6 as a PDF to the composition window by clicking the “Add Media” button OR by adding these documents to Media in the Dashboard menu. For example, I have uploaded the handout here:  PRELIM 6 Evolving Annotated Bibliography
    • If you have images, upload them to the Media library by clicking on the Media item in the Dashboard menu. Choose “Add Media” at the top of the composition window menu to add them to a blog post. Here is an example:            :You can include an image,  link a video, or other source in the annotation beneath your bibliographic citation. Just be sure to also write a summary response for that source. When you add sources or links to sources in a Post, you can return to edit the entries in the Post itself by revising older annotations and adding newer ones annotations–and then saving the revised post. You can also make Hypothes.is to annotate your Blog Post.
    • If you have links to web-based sources you have found doing your own research, such as web-pages, images, or audio or audiovisual material,  you can include them in the Post by clicking on the “link” icon in the composition window menu, typing the URL, and typing title information for the source. For example: “She’s a Replicant” from Bladerunner (1982).
    • PUBLISH your Post or schedule your Post to be published on a particular date. You can also un-publish a Post while you are in the process of revising entries or adding new entries to PRELIM 6.
    • If you want to create a Page: select “Pages” from the dashboard. Click on “Add New.” Title your page and either type or copy + paste your entries into the composition window. You can also upload a PDF. Once you have saved the page, you can insert it into the menu structure for your blog. Choose “Appearance” and then “Menus” from the Dashboard. Once you have created a “Page” you will see it in the list of “Pages” – check the box of the “Page” you have created for PRELIM 6 and select “Add to Menu.” Once you add your “Page” to the blog menu, you will be able to move it where you want it to be located on your blog.
    • If you download article PDFs onto your computer, you can also add them to “Media” and include them at the end of an annotation for that source. Why might you want to do this? If you click on the link to open the PDF while you’re on your blog, you can then activate your hypothes.is extension in order to highlight and annotate on the PDF. It’s an easier and more efficient way to read/annotate your sources! You can do this for open access online books and some websites. (You cannot do this for the PDFs if you read them in a database but do not download them.)

You will update (EVOLVE) your PRELIM 6: Evolving Annotated Bibliography at least 3 times, adding new sources and revising existing sources each time.

Propose your Research Topic as a Movie Pitch (or Trailer)

How to Write Your Topic up as a Movie Pitch or Trailer:

* Be Brief + Detailed + Specific + Concise [1-2 minutes]
* Include significant information w/succinct language + Keyterms
* Set a Tone appropriate for the Topic!
* Incorporate Important Research Keyterms
* Write for a possible Audience . . . to Persuade them
* Use questioning or other hook strategies to draw an Audience in . . .
* Imply Motive (why is the topic/potential argument important?)
* Evoke Stance (To what extent am I invested in this topic+ why?
* Exhibit credible ethos, but be interesting, provocative, controversial
* An Audience should want to read the essay after hearing the Pitch!
* Note the Conversation(s) you are entering
* Gesture to a specific Thesis argument or possible arguments
* Don’t give it away! (No Argument Plot Summaries or Spoilers!)

You will present their Research Topic as a Movie Pitch or Movie Trailer in class on Monday, April 11th! 

If you want to sound like Movie Man Voice!

“Meet the Epic Voice Behind Movie Trailers”


Movie Pitch Text + Movie Trailer for The Last Sumurai

Official Movie Trailer for The Last Sumurai


Example Trailers


Pulp Fiction

Blair Witch Project

Forrest Gump

Opening for the original Star Trek TV series

Space, the final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise
Its five year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life
And new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

Example Student Movie Pitch as a Movie Trailer

His Life, His Way (Frank Sinatra as American Gangster)