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The Great Gatsby. by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Pre-Reading Discussion Questions. What were the effects of Prohibition during the 1920s? Would it work today? WHY or WHY NOT? What is “the American Dream”? How do you think the concept of “the American Dream” has changed over time?

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the great gatsby

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

pre reading discussion questions
Pre-Reading Discussion Questions
  • What were the effects of Prohibition during the 1920s?
    • Would it work today? WHY or WHY NOT?
  • What is “the American Dream”?
    • How do you think the concept of “the American Dream” has changed over time?
    • What does it mean to be successful in America?
    • Is there a dark side to achieving success in America?
  • What role does social status (or class) play in our culture?
    • In high school?
    • Is “the American Dream” accessible to everyone, regardless of social status (or class)?
pre reading discussion questions1
Pre-Reading Discussion Questions
  • Is obsession ever a good thing?
    • How important are money and prestige in achieving true happiness?
    • When can dreams become destructive?
    • What effect do you think materialism has on relationships?
  • How do you think the institution of marriage is different today than it was during the 1920s?
    • Is marriage dead?
    • What are some issues facing married couples today?
  • 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
About the Author (Fitzgerald)
  • 1896—1940
  • Considered “the chronicler of the Jazz Age”
  • Best-selling author of the 1920s
    • So to whom might we compare him today?
  • Distant relative of Francis Scott Key
    • Who wrote . . . ??
    • “The Star-Spangled Banner”
  • Spent his final years in Hollywood writing screenplays
  • 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
Historical Context (Setting)
  • WHEN: 1922
    • the flapper era; the Jazz Age; the Roaring Twenties
  • WHERE: Long Island, New York
  • Scandalous stories of that time period:
    • Mob gangsters made millions gambling and bootlegging
    • 1919—the World Series was “fixed”
  • World War I
    • Psychological effects on veterans . . . WHY?
  • The Volstead Act of 1919 (Prohibition)
    • How do you suppose this law made criminals (technically) out of almost everyone?
    • How do you suppose it contributed to the decline of morals and values?
themes
Themes
  • Corruption of the “American Dream”
    • wealth, greed, materialism, compromised morals and values
  • Class (social status)
    • old money, new money, no money
  • Romance
  • Adultery
  • Past and Future
  • Crash Course Part I:
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw9Au9OoN88
characters

Characters

in The Great Gatsby

nick carraway
Nick Carraway

Narrator

Lives in the West Egg

Tries to maintain his values

Exists in a world of corruption

Realizes shallowness of others

Will he change?

daisy buchanan
Daisy Buchanan

Nick’s cousin

Tom’s wife—(They live in the East Egg.)

In love with Gatsby--(She was his girlfriend years ago, before he left for the war.)

Unreal and shallow

Toys with the past and the present

How might these things cause trouble or create conflict?

tom buchanan
Tom Buchanan

Daisy’s husband

Ex-jock (football player); attended Yale University

Born into wealth

Hard, forceful, violent

Very opinionated and self-centered

Sexist, racist

What do you suppose has caused him to be this way?

myrtle wilson
Myrtle Wilson

Lives in “the Valley of Ashes”—the lower class part of town

Married to George Wilson

Mistress to Tom Buchanan

Longs for a “better” life of materialistic things

Manhattan apartment—paid for by Tom.

How might she (from what you know now) represent corruption of “the American Dream”?

george wilson
George Wilson

Lives in “the Valley of Ashes”—the lower class part of town

Working class—owns a garage

Years of hard work with little or no gain have worn him down.

Unaware of Myrtle’s affair with Tom

Loves and adores his wife

What is the dramatic irony here?

jordan baker
Jordan Baker

Friend of Daisy’s

Becomes Nick’s love interest

Successful pro-golfer

Beautiful and pleasant

Yet shallow and, as Nick says, “incurably dishonest”

Somewhat careless

a nd of course gatsby
and, of course . . . Gatsby

Nick’s wealthy West Egg neighbor; owns a gigantic mansion

Has become known for hosting huge parties every weekend

Self-made man—has spent years acquiring his wealth

Loses himself in a world of greed and corruption

His lust for wealth stems from his desire to win back Daisy, whom he fell in love with years ago.

Attempts to recapture the past with wealth and materialism

2013 movie trailer
2013 Movie Trailer

The Great Gatsby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7AFnJbETLw

point of view
Point of View
  • First-person
    • Nick Carraway’s point of view
    • A mostly reliable narrator whom the reader comes to trust
  • Nick’s perception of Gatsby
    • Admiration and intrigue
    • Reminds the reader that despite Gatsby’s later foolish or corrupt acts, at the core, Gatsby is “great.”
  • Nick’s perception of the Buchanans
    • Harsh and disapproving
    • Keeps the reader from liking them too much
    • Shows the reader how corrupt and consumed they are with wealth and materialism
symbolism
Symbolism
  • the green light and the color green
    • At the end of Daisy’s dock; Gatsby stares at it throughout the novel; it symbolizes his dream as well as hope.
  • automobiles
    • power, status symbols, success
  • the Valley of Ashes
    • a wasteland; an area of ruin; lower class society
  • East Egg
    • upper class society, glamour, and wealth
  • West Egg
    • upper-middle class society
more symbolism
More Symbolism
  • the “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg” billboard sign
    • God’s eyes brooding over America
  • Nick’s 30th birthday
    • the passing of Nick’s youth and Gatsby’s dreams
  • alcohol
    • means of escape; moral decline of society
  • action of the novel
    • moral chaos
  • the color yellow
    • wealth, opportunity, and even death
text dependent questions for chapters 1 2
Text-Dependent Questions for Chapters 1 & 2
  • Where in the first two chapters do questions of class, wealth, and privilege arise?
  • Who’s rich and who’s poor here, and HOW DO YOU KNOW? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.
  • 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.

text dependent questions for chapters 3 4
Text-Dependent Questions for Chapters 3 & 4
  • Gatsby talks to Jordan privately in Chapter 3. What do you suppose their conversation was about?
  • Read the epigraph on the title page of the novel. (HINT: It’s the quote on the title page.) What does it reveal about Gatsby and his love for Daisy?

RL.11-12.2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of a text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

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.

text dependent questions for chapters 5 6
Text-Dependent Questions for Chapters 5 & 6
  • DISCUSS: Imagine you are Gatsby at the beginning of Chapter 5. It’s the day that Daisy comes to tea. You’ve been waiting for this day for five years. How are you feeling? What are you going to say to her?
  • PREDICT: What do you think will happen at Gatsby’s next party? There have been some scenes of Gatsby’s previous parties. How might this party be different?

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.

RL.11-12.5. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

text dependent questions for chapter 7
Text-Dependent Questions for Chapter 7
  • PREDICT: What do you think will happen to the relationships between Gatsby and Daisy, Tom and Daisy, Tom and Myrtle, Nick and Jordan?
  • EXAMINE: Myrtle watches Tom, Nick, and Jordan arrive at Wilson’s garage. Describe this incident from her point of view.
  • EVALUATE: Tom asks Gatsby about his expression “old sport,” but Gatsby gives no answer. Why do you think Gatsby calls everyone “old sport,” and why does it annoy Tom?

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.

RL.11-12.5. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

text dependent questions for chapter 8
Text-Dependent Questions for Chapter 8
  • What do you suppose prompted Gatsby to talk freely to Nick now when he was unwilling to so in the past?
  • What does Nick mean when he talks about Gatsby’s supposed “corruption” and his “incorruptible dream”?

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.

RL.11-12.5. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

text dependent questions for chapter 9 whole novel
Text-Dependent Questions for Chapter 9/Whole Novel
  • At the end of the novel, Nick imagines what the continent must have been like when it was first seen by Dutch sailors. How does this idea of the continent then contrast with the environment of the 20th century Jazz Age environment discussed in the novel?
  • Consider the title of the novel. In what way is Gatsby “great”?

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.

RL.11-12.5. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

slide27

“West Egg, especially, still figures in my more fantastic dreams. I see it as a night scene by El Greco: a hundred houses, at once conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky and a lustreless moon. In the foreground four solemn men in dress suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress. Her hand, which dangles over the side, sparkles cold with jewels. Gravely the men turn in at a house—the wrong house. But no one knows the woman’s name, and no one cares” (177).

Close-read/annotate the passage. What symbolism do you notice in the passage? What is the tone? In 3-5 sentences, discuss the tone and symbolism in the passage. What details does Fitzgerald use to create this tone? What details may be interpreted as symbols? Cite evidence from the passage to support your answer.

Explain what Nick sees in the El Greco painting that reminds him of New York and especially of West Egg. Cite evidence from the text that might be connected to the painting itself.

crash course part ii
Crash Course Part II
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn0WZ8-0Z1Y
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehjTS6AhMJ8