Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

  • Editors: Jackson R. Bryer, Nancy P. VanArsdale
  • Pages: xiii & 233 pp.
  • Published: 2009
  • ISBN: 9781603290203 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9781603290210 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Cover

Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby offers instructors a resource they did not have before—a comprehensive guidebook with materials and approaches for more scholarly instruction.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald Review

“Who is this Gatsby anyhow?” Answering that question, voiced by one of the book’s characters, is fundamental to teaching F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Although there is no simple answer, classroom analysis of this classic American novel can lead to a rich exploration of the colorful yet contradictory period Fitzgerald dubbed the Jazz Age. The novel also prompts considerations of novelistic technique, specifically point of view, characterization, and narrative structure.

This volume aims to give instructors of The Great Gatsby multiple tools and strategies for teaching the novel and for introducing students to the culture of the 1920s. Part 1, “Materials,” reviews the novel’s composition history and the scholarly resources related to the novel. In part 2, “Approaches,” contributors demonstrate a range of frameworks that usefully inform teaching, from the new historicism to feminist and gender studies to narrative theory. They also examine the novel’s complex artistry, variety of motifs and symbol patterns, and cultural and social influences, such as the era’s changing racial attitudes, the rise of a new suburban culture, and the dichotomy of East versus West in America.

Jonathan N. Barron
Anthony Berret
Robert Beuka
Ted Billy
Stephen Brauer
Kirk Curnutt
Marilyn Elkins
Cecilia Konchar Farr
Jonathan P. Fegley
Danuta Fjellestad
Janet Giltrow
Peter L. Hays
Pearl James
Heidi M. Kunz
Veronica Makowsky
Kim Moreland
Michael Nowlin
James Phelan
Deborah Davis Schlacks
Mark Shipman
Gail Sinclair
David Stouck
James L. W. West III
Eleanor Wikborg

Preface to the Series (ix)

Preface to the Volume (xi)

PART ONE: MATERIALS

The Great Gatsby: A Survey of Scholarship and Criticism (3)

Jackson R. Bryer

The Great Gatsby in the Age of the Internet: Useful Web Sites for Instructors (16)

Nancy P. VanArsdale

The Composition and Publication of The Great Gatsby (19)

James L. W. West III

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Introduction (27)

Nancy P. VanArsdale

Cultural and Historical Contexts

Teaching The Great Gatsby in the Context of World War I (32)

Pearl James

All That Jazz: Defining Modernity and Milieu in The Great Gatsby (40)

Kirk Curnutt

Teaching the Racial Subtext of The Great Gatsby (50)

Michael Nowlin

Teaching Regionalism and Class in The Great Gatsby (59)

Jonathan N. Barron

Love, Loss, and Real Estate: Teaching The Great Gatsby in the Suburban Age (68)

Robert Beuka

“Among the Ash-Heaps and Millionaires”: Teaching The Great Gatsby through the Lens of Class (75)

Veronica Makowsky

What Makes Him Great? Teaching The Great Gatsby and the New Historicism (84)

Stephen Brauer

Teaching Gatsby as American Culture Hero (93)

Kim Moreland

Narrative Structure and Style

Rhetoric and Ethics in The Great Gatsby; or, Fabula, Progression, and the Functions of Nick Carraway (99)

James Phelan

Using a Heraclitean Approach in Teaching The Great Gatsby (111)

Mark Shipman

Symmetry versus Asymmetry: Structuring The Great Gatsby (119)

Heidi M. Kunz

“If I Couldn’t Be Perfect I Wouldn’t Be Anything”: Teaching Becoming and Being in The Great Gatsby (126)

Jonathan P. Fegley

Teaching Mode, Style, and Politics in The Great Gatsby (139)

Janet Giltrow and David Stouck

A Poetic “Capacity for Wonder”: Fitzgerald and the Language of The Great Gatsby (148)

Gail Sinclair

“Look Here, You See”: Focusing on Myopic Vision in The Great Gatsby (156)

Ted Billy

Echoes of the Middle Ages: Teaching the Medieval in The Great Gatsby (162)

Deborah Davis Schlacks

Strategies and Resources

Enough Guilt to Go Around: Teaching Fitzgerald’s Lesson in Morality (169)

Peter L. Hays

Doubting Nick: Reading Nick Reading Gatsby Reading Daisy (175)

Cecilia Konchar Farr

Teaching The Great Gatsby through Examining Gender Roles (181)

Marilyn Elkins

Fiction and Film: Teaching Aspects of Narrative in The Great Gatsby (189)

Danuta Fjellestad and Eleanor Wikborg

Using Music to Teach The Great Gatsby (194)

Anthony Berret

Notes on Contributors (201)

Survey Participants (205)

Works Cited (207)

Index (229)