The Great Gatsby

One historical fiction novel (chapter book, middle or high school)

Bibliographic Information: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1925.

Plot Description:
Nick Carraway rents a house in New York, next to the mansion of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a millionaire who throws parties but doesn’t participate in them. Nick visits his cousin Daisy and her husband, and meets Jordan, with whom he becomes romantically involved. She tells Nick that Tom has a mistress. Nick is invited to a party at Gatsby’s mansion, and he and Jordan meet Gatsby himself. Gatsby had been romantically involved with Daisy and is in love with her; he throws these parties in the hopes that she will come to one. Nick invites both Daisy and Gatsby over, and they reestablish their relationship. Tom becomes suspicious and then enraged at his wife’s infidelity, ignoring his own affair. He drives everyone to NYC, where Gatsby is at a hotel, for the confrontation. Daisy decides her place is with Tom. Tom sends Daisy back to their town with Gatsby, in a show that Gatsby doesn’t threaten him. Soon after, Nick, Jordan, and Tom encounter a car crash: Gatsby’s car hit and killed Tom’s mistress. Daisy had been driving, but Gatsby intends to take the blame. The mistress’ husband thinks that the driver of the car is the person with whom his wife had been havig an affair, and tracks Gatsby to his home. He shoots and kills Gatsby, and then himself. Nick moves back to his hometown, thoroughly disillusioned.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 820; Accelerated Reader: 7.3

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This is written in the first-person perspective of Nick, a man twenty to thirty years old. It is written in the manner of the upper class- very proper with high vocabulary. Paragraphs vary in length, often containing five sentences.

Content Area: Social Science, US History-Roaring 20’s

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine theme or central idea and analyze in detail its development; #3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain; #4 Analyze complex characters; #5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12:  #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases; #5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuance in word meanings, such as interpret figures of speech.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a classic historical fiction novel to use as part of a core English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 9th grade and above, due to violence. It explores themes like the decline of the American Dream and the hollowness of the upper class.

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