The Great Gatsby Lesson Plans
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
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Theme and Great Gatsby

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Reader Response, Theme The Great Gatsby

Read the following passage. In a one-page response, explain how it relates to the theme of Appearance vs. Reality and how it relates to the character of Gatsby.

A stout, middle-aged man with enormous owl-eyed spectacles was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table, staring with unsteady concentration at the shelves of books. As we entered, he wheeled excitedly around and examined Jordan from head to foot.

"What do you think?" he demanded impetuously.

"About what?"

He waved his hand toward the book-shelves.

"About that. As a matter of fact you needn't bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They're real."

"The books?"

He nodded.

"Absolutely real--have pages and everything. I thought they'd be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they're absolutely real. Pages and--Here! Lemme show you."

Taking our skepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the "Stoddard Lectures."

"See!" he cried triumphantly. "It's a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella's a regular Belasco. It's a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop too--didn't cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?"

He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse.



  • Exemplary: Demonstrates thorough understanding of plot and characters
  • Meets Expectations: Demonstrates understanding of plot and characters
  • Doesn’t Meet Expectations: Misunderstands or missing elements of plot/characters


  • Exemplary: Is able to connect events and characters of book to the theme
  • Meets Expectations: Is able to connect events and characters of book to the theme
  • Doesn’t Meet Expectations: Connection between theme and book is vague, shallow, or inaccurate


  • Exemplary: Clearly identifies and explains theme in terms of world situations and the novel
  • Meets Expectations: Explains the theme in terms of novel; Makes some attempt to explain theme in terms of world events
  • Doesn’t Meet Expectations: Does not show understanding of theme and inadequately explains theme


  • Exemplary: Demonstrates fluent organization, support, and focus
  • Meets Expectations: Uses support and attempts to maintain organization and focus
  • Doesn’t Meet Expectations: Hard to follow ideas; little or no support present for ideas

About this Document

This one page handout provides a passage from "The Great Gatsby" and asks students to relate the passage to the theme of Appearance vs. Reality. A rubric for the response is provided.