The Great Gatsby - Lesson Plans and Activities

F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • The Original eNotes Study Guide for The Great Gatsby

    The first in a series of new study guides, "The eNotes Original Study Guide for The Great Gatsby" is a comprehensive tool perfect for use both in and outside of the classroom. It features: Chapter-by-chapter summaries Analyses of literary devices, including symbols and motifs Custom illustrations in a vibrant Art Deco style  Fun facts to enhance the learning experience

  • What Your Teacher Wants You To Know About The Great Gatsby

    The first in a new series of comprehensive study guides, "What Your Teacher Wants You To Know About The Great Gatsby" is an in-depth study guide that answers the questions students most often ask about the book, including, "Why did Daisy cry over Gatsby's shirts?" This study guide features: Answers to nearly 100 of the most commonly asked questions about The Great Gatsby In-depth analyses of literary devices Compare/contrast sections about the main characters Custom illustrations in a vibrant Art Deco style Fun facts to enhance the learning experience This new study guide makes complicated information readable, accessible, and fun, and pairs well with our eNotes original infographic series on The Great Gatsby.

  • The Great Gatsby eNotes East Egg vs. West Egg Infographic

    Fitzgerald based East Egg and West Egg on the real-life locales of Cow Neck and Great Neck, which are nestled on the Long Island Sound. This eNotes exclusive infographic highlights the differences between East Egg and West Egg and gives readers a visual reference point for the locations in the novel.

  • The Great Gatsby eNotes Premium Jazz Age Infographics

    The Jazz Age was a wild, opulent, over the top time period characterized by huge parties, new fashions, and excessive amounts of booze. These premium eNotes infographics are available as a supplement to our series of infographics on The Great Gatsby, which includes a narrative timeline and an illustrated character map in gorgeous Art Deco styles.

  • The Great Gatsby eNotes Character Map Infographic

    The Great Gatsby is widely considered one of the best novels of the Twentieth Century. Its vivid characters and memorable storyline have been captivating readers for decades. This character map delineates the major relationships in the novel and uses stunning images to portray the styles, fashions, and artistic sensibilities of the Roaring Twenties.

  • The Great Gatsby eNotes Timeline Infographic

    Written during the Jazz Age and the Prohibition Era, The Great Gatsby is notable for its lavish parties, torrid love affairs, and excessive drinking. This eNotes Timeline guides readers through the main events of the novel, from Nick's arrival in West Egg to Gatsby's eventual murder. It features bold colors and custom images that catch the eye and present the information in a fresh, exciting way.

  • The Great Gatsby eNotes Response Journal

    While the narrator was in college, people often shared their secrets with him because they knew he was not judgmental. Do you think finding fault with someone else’s behavior is generally good or bad? Are there circumstances when we should judge someone else’s behavior and reject it? If so, write about some types of behavior that should be condemned. After explaining that he is not a judgmental person, the narrator says there are limits to his tolerance: “Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on.” How would conduct founded on “hard rock” differ from conduct founded on “wet marshes”? Discuss what you think the passage implies about the narrator’s state of mind?

  • The Great Gatsby eNotes Lesson Plan

    Although F. Scott Fitzgerald did not live long enough to witness its eventual critical acclaim, The Great Gatsby is considered a masterpiece of twentieth century American literature. Hunter S. Thompson, the eccentric, “Gonzo” adventurer and journalist, even retyped all of The Great Gatsby once to get a feel for writing a great novel! With its compressed lyrical style, masterful descriptions, and sharp dramatic focus, Gatsby is a remarkable achievement. The novel, published in 1925, serves as excellent social commentary, capturing a unique period in American history. Occurring between the unimaginable carnage of World War I and the bleakness of the Great Depression, the 1920s, sometimes called the “Roaring Twenties” or, as Fitzgerald coined it, the “Jazz Age,” was both a time of great hope and optimism and a decade of disillusionment and wasteful excess. Fitzgerald, via Nick Carraway’s detached perspective, chronicles this turbulent period and weaves a page-turning story, rich in evocative language and peopled with fascinating and complex characters. Marking the beginning of what we consider the modern era in American culture, the twenties saw the rise of the automobile culture, a swell in industrialization, the enormous increase of wealth and power in the hands of a relative few, the advent of advertising and materialism, and a growing sense of disillusionment felt by a generation who witnessed the ravishes of a world war. It was also a time of unprecedented societal freedom, at least for those who were young and white and had some cash to spend. The strict morals of the 19th century were tossed out the speakeasy window. The intoxicating rhythms of jazz were in the air, and the illicit taste of grain alcohol was on the tongue. Prohibition was the law of the land, but few followed the rules; speakeasies flourished, opening their doors to a diversity of people who would not normally have socialized together. While The Great Gatsby is a decidedly specific portrait of American society during the Jazz Age, it’s also a universal tale, as old as the union itself: it’s the rags-to-riches, Horatio-Alger-with-a-twist, story. It centers on America’s complex relationship with class, at once dismissing its importance while staunchly maintaining its existence. Rampant materialism is also a major theme of the book and one of the downsides of this new age, embodied by the purposeless wealthy that Fitzgerald examines in The Great Gatsby, describing them as “careless people,” those who “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . . .” In the self-invented Jay Gatsby and his tireless, single-minded pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, her voice “full of money,” The Great Gatsby dramatizes the still alluring pull of the American Dream while warning us of its perils and limitations. It is a cautionary tale at its heart—a story focused on a small group of people in a small village on Long Island that opens up to encompass the social history of not only New York or the East but the whole of America itself, where the desire to reinvent oneself is all but irresistible. Some who yield to this urge are rewarded with power and wealth, while others, as the author is quick to warn, are destroyed by their dreams and the illusions they created.