Does anyone have any creative ideas for presenting a speech on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby? I have to do a ten minute speech on it, I know what I want to say ( the corruption of the American Dream etc.) but our teacher is stressing that the speeches should be entertaining, and, preferably, interactive with the audience. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be awesome! (But shooting and running over people have already been suggested, so don't even go there:)

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Dress up like you're going to a Roaring Twenties party, and bring some Jazz music. Demonstrate some dance moves and show some pictures of cool cars. I'd say there's a definite connection to the American Dream there.  You can bring the corruption on your own.

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Ooooo!  Well, during your speech, how about sharing some of the vernacular of the twenties?  School them on phrases like "the bees knees" and such.  And share some of the fads such as flag-pole sitting, too.  Further, I'm with accessteacher!  How about ending your speech by dancing (or teaching) the Charleston?  That's how I usually begin my unit on the Literature of the Roaring Twenties, ... but it might be an awesome clincher to your speech.  The spice of the Charleston certainly sums up the life of The Great Gatsby's main characters as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald's actual life.

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Perhaps you could focus on the waste of the Jazz Age, a waste that is repeated in contemporary society.  For, this very waste is what effected the Great Depression.  Take people to one of Gatsby's parties by way of play-acting. (When Gatsby has a career as Trimalchio). The party at which Jordan Baker says she likes the intimacy of not knowing anyone is interesting.

[see Chapter III]

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You might want to dress as Daisy, the main female character, or perhaps deliver the speech as Zelda Fitzgerald.  In any case, dressing in the costume of the era and presenting yourself as a "visitor from the past" who knew either Fitzgerald or the characters in the book would make for a memorable presentation.  I agree, though, with the other suggestions, especially the ones about slang and about throwing a party.

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Throw a Gatsby-esque party? That would make it unforgettable! You might like to think creatively and deliver the speech as a character from the novel, all dressed up of course, or maybe involve your audience by getting them to believe that they are from the period as well. Part of the richness of studying this novel would be highlighting the importance of elements such as fashion, slang, haircuts, dances etc, so this would be a great opportunity to exploit some of these notable contextual factors to great effect.

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One thing that always seems to stir audience participation is a lively powerpoint presentation. You might use images of the wild and decadent Roaring Twenties as your backgrounds for your presentation points. You might also access some images of mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, as representative of Gatsby's mansion. In fact, the movie of The Great Gatsby was filmed at the Rosecliff Newport, RI, mansion.

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You could also talk about the symbolism of the colors found in the novel. Perhaps you could pick out audience members that are wearing that particular color and ask them to stand or otherwise participate while you are explaining what that particular color symbolized. You could also discuss the dancing of the era. Ask classmates to participate in learning some dance steps. I knew a teacher who always taught her students how to do the Charleston when they studied this novel. It's fairly easy to learn and a lot of fun.
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In addition to the suggestion made by booboosmoosh, I would suggest using slang of the 1920s. When I teach literature from the period, I always lead off with a slang of the 20's activity. The students always love hearing the words popular from the period.

I think that if you use this slang, it will make the speech more interesting and entertaining.

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I used to teach with a woman who did a unit on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. For many years, she would host a party and all of her kids would dress up in Gatsby-era clothing. It was a big production and the kids loved it. (And anytime you bring food, it's a BIG plus!)

I might suggest that you try to dress in style. I would focus on information regarding things that happened in the story to discuss, perhaps, how America is changing—touching on how Gatsby made his money; and/or how hard it is to know who you're dealing with— referring to Gatsby's roots; and/or, the war, etc.

There could be discussion about locations mentioned in the book. You might try to talk about the narrator (Nick), as if an imaginary friend had never met him, and things he has told you about life in Gatsby's "circle." Or you could create a somber setting, pretending that everyone is gathered either at Gatsby's funeral or the reading of the will, and recalling things that you remember, even asking the other students questions that they should have the answers to if they read the book.

Sounds like a chance to have fun with the story and do something engaging that will make the novel more memorable. Enjoy!

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