The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Week 6:              Character Map                  novel on-line                 YouTube Comments

Mon 16: (day 1-2)
Discussion social classes

Writing Assignment: Where will I choose to belong?
Do one of the following:
Describe how your life goals reflect the social class to which you want to belong.
Tell about a person you admire whose life changed as a result of moving into a different social class.
Persuade the reader that the class one belongs to does matter in life.

Tues 17: (day 3)
People in a specific class assume that "everyone knows" certain things--today each student will complete an informal quiz that shows that the everyday knowledge they have is determined by their class origin.   We'll use the quiz responses to begin a discussion of the hidden rules of social classes:  What are the hidden rules among the classes in their school? Bring out how all groups/cultures/classes have hidden rules and before one can be fully accepted into a new class or group, one must fully know the hidden rules. 

We'll check out this slideshow from the
New York Times that shows an example from each class in America. 

From this New York Times page, check out #1 "Angela's Story" , #8 "A Story of Two Immigrants", and #9 "No Degree, Decades Later" #10 "Impact of a College Degree"  Income Mobility

Finally, examine the graphs at the top of this page

Wed 18: (Day 4)
Read and view biographical information on F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"Creative Quotations". 
YouTube.  (1:25). 

Frank, Robert.  "Rich Kids 101".  29 July 2007. 
Los Angeles Times. 

Big Ideas
balancing opportunities for all

social mobility
influence of class
art of argumentation and negotiation
social protest
The American Dream
The qualities of leadership transcend class.
The promise of America leaves no one out.
Upward mobility within America's class structure depends on access to educational and economic opportunities.
Money should not be the only index of class distinctions.
Great leaders can emerge from adversity.
Character counts.

Thurs 19: (Day 5)
Examine this map of East Egg and West Egg. The importance of setting: East Egg represents old money and West Egg represents new money.

Explain the role of Nick as the perfect narrator of the book due to his connections to both societies and his willingness to reserve judgment.

Read Ch 1, pg 1-21, then begin a character map with information about the characters and relationships.

Fri 20: (Day 6)
Read Chapter 2. pp. 22-38.

Complete the character maps from the previous day. Instruct students to hold on to this map for use in future lessons.

"What might Fitzgerald be symbolizing by having a giant pair of eyes looking down from above?"

Reread the first three paragraphs of Chapter 2, thinking  about the world outside the classroom, then
Write: How does Fitzgerald's description of The Valley of Ashes compare to the community in which you live?  How do communities in Michigan relate to the settings of East Egg, West Egg, and the Valley of Ashes.?

Focus Questions
How can we / should we resolve the class imbalance that exists today?
What role does class play in limiting the American Dream?
What is necessary to achieve The American Dream in today's society?
When does the class of a leader matter?
How do we define class beyond just economic status?
What is the relationship between power and economic influence?
What can we do to keep class from becoming caste?
Essential Questions
What rules or principles do I use for how I treat others?
What leadership qualities will I need to take with me from high school?
What can I do to avoid repeating mistakes made in history?
Who is in a position to help me affect change?
How do I resolve my responsibilities to myself with those to my family members, my school, community, and world?
What responsibility do I have to society?
How can I create the world I want to live in?

Week 7:

Mon 23: (Day 7)
Focus Question 1: What clues does Fitzgerald give the reader to reveal that Myrtle will never really be able to rise up from her social class in the Valley of Ashes?
Answer Plan
1. Restate the question.
2. Provide 4-5 examples of what happens to Myrtle or what she says or does.  Include page numbers of where examples can be found.
3. Conclude in a sentence or two, what you think this means

What does all this foreshadow that will take place later?  For instance, think about how Tom's lie about Daisy being Catholic reveals the fact that he will never actually marry Myrtle.

Genre: Novel

Tues 24: (Day 8)
Teacher reads aloud the beginning of
Chapter 3 pp. 39- 41

Focus for Listening: Listen for how people have the tendency to judge others based on rumors and classify others without knowing the facts.

Read pages 42-44 as reader's Theater , beginning with "Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once."

Read pages 39-46
Write describing who they believe the real Gatsby is based on the rumors spread by the party-goers: killer, German spy, a shady character, etc. 

Wed 25: (Day 9)
Teacher reads the rest of
Chapter 3 pp. 47-59.
Focus for listening: What is revealed to Nick about Gatsby, Jordan, and himself?

Understand foil characters

Focus Question #2
Fitzgerald highlights Nick's honesty by surrounding him with many dishonest characters. The end of Chapter Three features Nick's revelation about himself. "Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known."
What is it about other characters that prompts Nick to say this about himself?
Answer Plan:
1. Restate the question.
2. Choose any two of the following characters and write three- four sentences per character illustrating his/her dishonesty: Tom, Daisy, Myrtle, or Jordan. Provide specific details from the text for support.
3. Conclude by finding at least one example to show how Fitzgerald uses Nick as a foil character to Jordan and the others. 

"Being American once meant being 'upwardly mobile:' using energy and talent to improve our lot in life… For the first time Americans aren't dreaming of a better life for their children - they're desperately hoping that their children won't be forced into a lower standard of living and a lower quality of life." Lou Dobbs, p. 17

"Today the United States is two nations, but not so much divided between rich and poor… as between the well-educated and the rest." Jeff Madrick

"That was always my experience --a poor boy in a rich town; a poor boy in a rich boy's school; a poor boy in a rich man's club at Princeton… However, I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich, and it has colored my entire life and works." F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Life in Letters

"It's basically against the American principal to belong to a class. So, naturally, Americans have a really hard time talking about the class system, because they really don't want to admit that the class system exists." R. Couri Hay, society columnist

Thurs 26: (Day 10)
Read the beginning of
Chapter 4 pp. 61-63.  Focus for Listening: What are Nick's reservations about getting involved with Gatsby?

Reader's Theater on pages 63-68 beginning with " I wondered if there wasn't something a little sinister about him, after all."

return to the Character Map and add new information learned about Gatsby.

Students will read pp. 69-80.
Focus for Reading :
Despite his earlier reservations about getting involved with Gatsby, why does Nick decide to help him reunite with Daisy?

Fri 26: (Day 11)
Teacher should begin by rereading the paragraph on pp. 76 beginning, "She began to cry- she cried and cried."

Students should compose a one-page letter detailing what they think Gatsby included in his letter to Daisy. Students should maintain Gatsby's voice and include references from the text.

Essay Options:
Reflective Essay
Both Steinbeck and Fitzgerald believed in the American Dream as it existed in their time. Read the informational texts which suggest that many Americans no longer have access to the American Dream as described by these authors. Reflect on what can be done to increase access to upward mobility and the American Dream.  In Chapter 19, Steinbeck describes the dispossessed: "We ain't foreign. Seven generations back Americans, and beyond that Irish, Scotch, English, German. One of our folks in the Revolution, an' they was lots of our folks in the Civil War - both sides. Americans." Read E.B. White's essay "We're All Americans" regarding the sand pile vs. the melting pot analogy of the American city. Reflect on Steinbeck's description in light of White's essay.  Reflect on the biographies; answer this question in a reflective essay: Is one born to the qualities and skills of leadership or are the qualities and skills instilled through life experiences and events? Include specific examples.

Persuasive Essay/Speech
We live in a country with great economic disparity between classes. How can we make an America where class does not limit potential?  What has to be in "the village" to make a difference?  Appeal to community leaders using deductive and inductive reasoning.

Literary Criticism
Critique either novel from a political, historical, and social perspective. Incorporate elements of a literary critique.
With a partner, use different perspectives to write conflicting reviews of a selection in "Class Matters" or "The Haves and Have-Nots."

Argumentative Essay
Critically examine the argumentation and conclusions of multiple informational texts regarding social class (Lou Dobbs, Jeff Madrick, Paul Krugman, Ruby Payne, Bill Moyers); write an argumentative essay in which you make a claim, support with evidence and data, agreeing with or rebutting the texts analyzed, and come to your own conclusions.

Comparative Essay
Define and compare the social classes that exist today based on what you have read and viewed. Use the determinants listed below in your comparison. Integrate quotations and citations from text read.
Determinants of Social Class  (Adapted from: A Paradigm for the Study of Social Strata, Cole, James S. 1965/6)
Personal Performance: Education, Occupation , Income, Awards and Achievements, Police Record
Wealth: Amount, Source,
Social Orientation: Interactions, Class Consciousness, Value Orientation

Compare the life of Fitzgerald and the characters in The Great Gatsby. From what perspective did he write the novel? How does this compare with the current story in "The Haves and Have Nots?"

Rhetorical Analysis Essay
In Chapter 14, Steinbeck introduces the
from "I" to "we" argument. "If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not causes, you might survive." To whom is Steinbeck speaking?  In what ways were the leaders mentioned results?  Choose one leader; discuss the situation that made his actions "results" rather than "causes." Why does Steinbeck believe his audience cannot understand this concept? Select one informational text author; analyze and describe the author's use of various types of exposition.  How does author's style lead readers into a certain way of thinking.

Research Options
Research the times in which individuals in the biographies lived and show how their characteristics and leadership skills were influenced by the era in which they lived. What kind of leaders are needed today based on our society?

Week 8:

Mon 2: (Day 12)
Teacher reads aloud
Chapter 5 pp. 81-85.
Focus for Listening:
What are the advantages/ disadvantages of Daisy and Gatsby romantically reuniting?

perform Reader's Theater 3 on pages 86-92. - "They're such beautiful shirts."

Teacher reads aloud 93-96.

Discuss why Daisy is crying on page 92.  Student groups should come up with at least three possible explanations.

Tues 3: (Day 13)
Learn the difference between contextual and universal symbolism.
Make groups and reexamine the text for the author's use of contextual symbols:
-Gatsby's house vs. the Buchanan's house
-the colors in the clothing/white
-the billboard in the Valley of Ashes
-character names
-the weather
-green light
(the symbolism will become clearer in chapters 7-8)
Share your group's findings.

Create a symbol of your own. Create symbols for a teen social groups, a social group in this school, or a part of the local community, surrounding communities, or the nation as a whole.

Wed 4: (Day 14)
Quick Write: What are some of the reasons you would try to impress others? What are some of the things you would do to accomplish this? Give an example.

Read aloud
Chapter 6 pp. 97-101.
Focus for listening: What are Tom and Daisy's opinions of Gatsby and his West Egg approach to life as demonstrated through Gatsby's mannerisms, actions, and parties?

Perform Reader's Theater on pages 102-103, beginning with "I used to ride in the army, but I've never bought a horse."

Read aloud 104-112. After reading Chapter 6, students will return to the Character Map and add new information they have learned about the East Egg view of

Thurs 5: (Day 15)
Focus Question #3
Taking all the information you have gathered from various sources about Gatsby's personal life, what do you think Fitzgerald is trying to illustrate to the readers about those who try to be part of a social class different from the one in which they were born?
Answer Plan
1. Restate the question to introduce the answer.
2. Write several sentences giving examples of Gatsby's personal life that illustrate his attempt to move into the wealthy social class.
3. Conclude by writing about Fitzgerald's intention to illustrate to his reader's the possibility of moving from one social class to another.

Review the Character Map

Divide the students into five groups. Each group will take a character from the list found in and answer the questions providing relevant examples from the text on a poster board or large piece of paper. Do a "Poster Walk" with the results of their investigations.

Fri 6: (Day 16)
Chapter 7 pp. 113-125.
Focus for listening
Pay attention to Daisy's role as wife of Tom, mother of Pammy and love interest of Gatsby.
Pay attention to the setting and the weather and how it affects the characters' actions in this crucial scene.

"Flappers in the Roaring Twenties"
Focus for reading: How do Daisy, Myrtle and Jordan fit into the roles described in the article? In what ways do they not fit into the description of Gibson Girls or flappers?

"Men and Women - Equal at Last?"

Focus Question #4
To what extent does our society today allow for more options for females? How does this relate to our overriding discussion of class and society? To what extent might Daisy's choices be different today?