This unit focuses on exploring The Great Gatsby and how the time period and culture in which the novel is written plays a vital part in the author s overall message in the novel. One of the key understandings to this unit is how good literature makes a statement on culture, but great literature is timeless and universal and provides a lens to view our own lives and society. Through an examination of the 1920s culture, the students will be able to understand Fitzgerald s message about the 1920s. They will further examine this through a group project where they will take The Great Gatsby and compare it with Fitzgerald s short stories. Since the stories were written as precursors to The Great Gatsby and as failed attempts to write The Great Gatsby, the groups will examine the differences in plot, characters, and setting along with how each uses themes and imagery to portray Fitzgerald s message about the 1920s. The groups will compare the message of each story to each other and create a poster that depicts their results. In order to show how these messages can reflect today s society, each student will choose a central theme in The Great Gatsby and show/tell how it is present in today s society. The student can choose between a variety of mediums and must include a one-page explanation of the project. Along with exploring the author s message through literature, the students will also explore the major themes in The Great Gatsby. They will explore the themes of identity and reality versus illusion. They will begin to think about these themes through the chalk talk questions (How can it be possible to not know oneself? How is one s life affected either by the process of self-discovery or by the failure to try to understand oneself? Why do some people have difficulty distinguishing between what is reality and what is illusion?) and the discussion about The Great Gatsby.
Fenske, Kathleen, "Great Gatsby" (2006). Understanding by Design: Complete Collection. Paper 31.
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