The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pre-Reading Discussion Questions
O What were the effects of Prohibition during the 1920s?
O Would it work today? WHY or WHY NOT?
O What is “the American Dream”?
O How do you think the concept of “the American Dream” has
changed over time?
O What does it mean to be successful in America?
O Is there a dark side to achieving success in America?
O What role does social status (or class) play in our culture?
O In high school?
O Is “the American Dream” accessible to everyone, regardless of
social status (or class)?
Pre-Reading Discussion Questions
O Is obsession ever a good thing?
O How important are money and prestige in achieving true
O When can dreams become destructive?
O What effect do you think materialism has on relationships?
O How do you think the institution of marriage is different
today than it was during the 1920s?
O Is marriage dead?
O What are some issues facing married couples today?
O How true is it that we spend too much of our lives trying to
convince others that we are something we’re not?
About the Author (Fitzgerald)
O 1896—1940
O Considered “the chronicler of the Jazz Age”
O Best-selling author of the 1920s
O So to whom might we compare him today?
O Distant relative of Francis Scott Key
O Who wrote . . . ??
O “The Star-Spangled Banner”
O Spent his final years in Hollywood writing screenplays
O Though just over forty years old, he looked decades
older—the years of drinking and abusing his body had
caught up with him.
Historical Context (Setting)
O WHEN: 1922
O the flapper era; the Jazz Age; the Roaring Twenties
O WHERE: Long Island, New York
O Scandalous stories of that time period:
O Mob gangsters made millions gambling and bootlegging
O 1919—the World Series was “fixed”
O World War I
O Psychological effects on veterans . . . WHY?
O The Volstead Act of 1919 (Prohibition)
O How do you suppose this law made criminals (technically) out
of almost everyone?
O How do you suppose it contributed to the decline of morals
and values?
O Corruption of the “American Dream”
O wealth, greed, materialism, compromised morals and values
O Class (social status)
O old money, new money, no money
O Romance
O Adultery
O Past and Future
O Crash Course Part I:
in The Great Gatsby
Point of View
O First-person
O Nick Carraway’s point of view
O A reliable narrator whom the reader comes to trust
O Nick’s perception of Gatsby
O Admiration and intrigue
O Reminds the reader that despite Gatsby’s later foolish or
corrupt acts, at the core, Gatsby is “great.”
O Nick’s perception of the Buchanans
O Harsh and disapproving
O Keeps the reader from liking them too much
O Shows the reader how corrupt and consumed they are with
wealth and materialism
O the green light and the color green
O At the end of Daisy’s dock; Gatsby stares at it throughout
the novel; it symbolizes his dream as well as hope.
O automobiles
O power, status symbols, success
O the Valley of Ashes
O a wasteland; an area of ruin; lower class society
O East Egg
O upper class society, glamour, and wealth
O West Egg
O upper-middle class society
More Symbolism
O the “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg” billboard sign
O God’s eyes brooding over America
O Nick’s 30th birthday
O the passing of Nick’s youth and Gatsby’s dreams
O alcohol
O means of escape; moral decline of society
O action of the novel
O moral chaos
O 2013 Movie Trailer:
Text-Dependent Questions for
Chapters 1 & 2
O Where in the first two chapters do questions of class,
wealth, and privilege arise?
O Who’s rich and who’s poor here, and HOW DO YOU
KNOW? Cite evidence from the text to support your
O Nick isn’t exactly “poor,” but how is his money or status
different from those of the other characters? Cite
evidence from the text that suggests a difference in
class between Nick and the other characters.
RL.11-12.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as
inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
RL.11-12.3. Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate
elements of a story—setting, plot development, character development, etc.