'The Great Gatsby' Study Questions

Points for Discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald's Famous Jazz Age Novel

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" The Great Gatsby " is American author F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous novel. The story, a symbolic portrayal of the decline of the American Dream, is an accurate depiction of the Jazz Age that cemented Fitzgerald as a fixture in literary history. Fitzgerald is a master storyteller who layers his novels with themes and symbolism.

Study Questions

Here are some questions around which to build a lively discussion for your next book club meeting:

  • What is important about the title of "The Great Gatsby?"
  • Which adaptations of the novel have you seen? What did you think of them?
  • What are the conflicts in "The Great Gatsby"? What types of conflicts—physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional—figure in this novel? Are they resolved?
  • Why is Gatsby unable to put the past behind him? Why does he demand that Daisy renounce her former love for her husband?
  • What choice would you have made in Daisy's situation?
  • What role does Daisy play in Gatsby's downfall?
  • How is alcohol used in the novel?
  • Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from the perspective of Nick, a friend of Gatsby?
  • How does Fitzgerald reveal character in "The Great Gatsby?"
  • How is class depicted in the novel? What point is the author trying to make?
  • What are some themes and symbols in "The Great Gatsby?"
  • What does the green light represent?
  • Why does the author call our attention to the billboard advertising Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, an optometrist? What is the meaning of the vacant eyes that watch the characters?
  • Is Gatsby consistent in his actions? Why did he change his name? Do you ever find him fake or contrived? Is he a fully developed character?
  • Do you consider Gatsby to be a "self-made man"? Is he a good portrayal of achieving the American Dream?
  • Do you find the characters likable? Would you want to meet them?
  • Did the novel end the way you expected?
  • How essential is the setting? Could the story have taken place anywhere else or at any other time?
  • What do you think the lavish parties at Gatsby's mansion were meant to represent? What is the author trying to say about American culture?
  • What is the role of women in "The Great Gatsby?" Is love relevant? Are relationships meaningful?
  • What do you think about Daisy's assessment that women must be pretty but unintelligent if they want to be happy? What in her life led her to this conclusion?
  • Why is "The Great Gatsby" controversial ? Why has it been banned/challenged?
  • How does religion figure into the novel? How would the novel be different if religion or spirituality played a more prominent role in the text?
  • How does "The Great Gatsby" relate to current society? How well did it represent the Jazz Age (society and literature) at the time it was published? Is the novel still relevant?
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Great gatsby discussion questions for teachers.

Table of Contents

My passion for literature knows no bounds, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece The Great Gatsby  has always held a special place in my heart.

Kerry Wisby Holding Great Gatsby Novel

As a young student, and more so when I became a teacher, I was absolutely captivated by its timeless themes of wealth, love, and the American Dream. These subjects provide an endless source of discussion and exploration for students.

Over the years, I’ve helped my fellow teachers unlock the full potential of this novel by creating lists of questions.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you not only a curated list of Great Gatsby discussion questions explicitly designed for teachers but also video resources and downloadable PDFs for your students.

Teacher Videos & Resources

In today’s article, I want to delve deep into the world of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Nick Carraway, exploring not only the plot and characters but also the rich symbolism and social commentary woven into every page.

Whether you’re a seasoned Gatsby enthusiast like myself or a first-time reader, these discussion questions will empower you to facilitate engaging and insightful classroom conversations. From dissecting Gatsby’s enigmatic persona to studying the moral landscape of the Jazz Age, we’ll cover it all.

So, join me on this literary journey as we embark on a quest to make The Great Gatsby  not just a required reading but an unforgettable experience that sparks the imagination and critical thinking of your students.

Here Are Some Great Discussion Starters I Use For The Great Gatsby In My Classes:

Questions to Ask about The Great Gatsby

Handouts where students can write notes in the margins may act as a helpful study guide.

You might choose to have your students analyze imagery, theme, symbol, word choice, characterization, plot/conflict, or point of view.

Start the ball rolling in your classroom with these questions.

1. What does the green light symbolize in the novel, and how does its meaning change throughout the story?   The green light is mentioned at the beginning, middle, and end of the novel so it’s always a good subject for creating questions.

2. Discuss the concept of the American Dream as portrayed in the book. Is it attainable for the characters?  You might also want students to define what they believe the American Dream is.

3. How does Nick Carraway’s narrative perspective influence our understanding of the events in the story? Do students believe that Nick may have had a different point of view if he had been a native New Yorker?

4. Analyze the character of Jay Gatsby. What motivates him, and how does his past shape his present actions? Students won’t know Gatsby’s true past until later in the novel.

5. Explore the theme of social class and status in the novel. How do characters like Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson reflect these themes? Can the students relate to these characters? Do they recognize any modern-day celebrities or influencers that have similar status or are living in similar situations?

6. Discuss the role of women in the novel, particularly Daisy and Jordan. How are they portrayed, and what does their behavior reveal about the society of the time? This is always an eye-opening question. Discuss the date when women were allowed to vote and what took so long to pass this law. What other rights today do women struggle to hold on to?

7. Explore the symbolism of the Valley of Ashes. What does it represent in the context of the story? You might want to compare workers in foreign countries, such as Taiwan, Mexico, and China, to the workers in the Valley of Ashes.

8. How does Tom Buchanan’s racism and bigotry reflect the attitudes of the 1920s? What impact does this have on the story? Racism is always a heated topic, but see if students can find similarities to Tom’s racist beliefs and commonly held beliefs in today’s society.

9. Analyze the character of George Wilson. How does his desperation drive the plot forward? Everyone feels pity for George, but perhaps bring up the subject of his accountability for his actions.

10. Discuss the role of alcohol in the novel. How does it contribute to the characters’ behavior and the unfolding of the story? Do students see a similarity between Prohibition and the war on drugs in today’s society?

11. What is the significance of the various parties and gatherings in the novel, including Gatsby’s extravagant parties? Did Fitzgerald look down on parties, or did he simply abhor the lavish lifestyle of the rich?

12. Explore the theme of illusion vs reality in The Great Gatsby . How do the characters create and maintain illusions about themselves? A chart showing the illusions of how these characters saw themselves and what their actions showed to be true might be helpful.

13. Discuss the moral ambiguity of the characters, including Nick. Are there any truly virtuous characters in the story? It’s not who SAYS that they are honest or moral, but who acts the part.

14. How does the setting of the 1920s with its hedonistic atmosphere and cultural changes influence the characters and their actions? How and why did society change between 1900 and 1920? Were there also dramatic changes in society between 2000 and 2020?

15. Analyze the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. Is it genuine love, or is it based on illusion and longing for the past? Could it be both? Does Daisy love the illusion of Gatsby, while Gatsby feels genuine love for Daisy?

16. Discuss the tragic nature of Gatsby’s character. How does his fate illustrate the themes of the novel? Was Gatsby powerless to change his fate?

17. Explore the use of color symbolism throughout the book, such as the colors green, white, and yellow. The novel uses many different colors as symbols, but these three seem to be the most prominent.

18. How does the novel comment on the concept of time, especially through Gatsby’s obsession with the past? Is it true love that Gatsby feels or simply an obsession?

19. Consider the significance of the final paragraphs of the novel. What message or moral can be drawn from Nick’s reflections on Gatsby’s life and death? Nick suggests that the future is inaccessible but also that the past cannot be recreated. Does this mean that all we have is today?

20. Compare and contrast the characters of Tom and Gatsby. How do their values and actions differ, and what do they represent in the story? Are Tom and Gatsby similar to one another, or are they complete opposites?

These discussion questions will help students explore the various themes, characters, and symbols in The Great Gatsby and engage in meaningful literary analysis.

Other Questions and Topics I Like to Use for Discussion Time

The overall moral of The Great Gatsby is that the American Dream is an illusion. For example, despite having all the money he could ever want and being famous, Gatsby will never be happy because this still is not enough for Daisy.

teacher discussing The Great Gatsby with students

By using this statement, we open the door to a host of additional questions and topics.

1. Why did Daisy not choose Gatsby?   There are multiple answers to this question, none of them wrong.

2. How does The Great Gatsby relate to current society? Students should find lots of similarities including wealth inequity, moral decay, and unrequited love.

3. Did Daisy really love Gatsby? This is a complex and highly debated question that is sure to get students involved.

4. Why didn’t Daisy attend Gatsby’s funeral? Was she protecting herself, or was she unaware that he had been murdered?

5. Why does Daisy stay with Tom if she is aware of his infidelity? This is another excellent topic about not only how society has changed, but also how women’s rights have expanded over the years.

6. Is Nick Carraway gay? ( Or is Nick Carraway infatuated with Gatsby? ) Some might find this topic too sensitive, but it’s become a common talking point.

7. What is Nick trying to say in the closing paragraph? Oh, those boats beating on against the current.

8. Why does Daisy cry over Gatsby’s shirts? This certainly isn’t what it seems, but most students won’t understand the underlying meaning.

9. What does Daisy Buchanan symbolize? Does Daisy symbolize purity and innocence or irresponsibility and carelessness?

10. Is the American Dream obtainable today, or is it still an illusion? Can the American Dream lead to genuine happiness and fulfillment, or is it an empty promise that ultimately leads to tragedy and disillusionment?

11. What does Nick Carraway symbolize? Nick is both narrator and observer, but doesn’t he symbolize much, much more?

12. Is Jay Gatsby great? What makes Jay Gatsby great?

13. Is “The Great Gatsby” an appropriate title? Is Fitzgerald’s title sincere or ironic? Fitzgerald had other title options before deciding on “The Great Gatsby”. The other original titles were: “Under the Red, White and Blue,” “Among the Ash-Heaps and Millionaires,” “Gold-Hatted Gatsby,” and “Trimalchio in West Egg.” Is Fitzgerald’s final choice appropriate?

Further Questions for Deeper Introspection

Characters in the Great Gatsby novel

These study questions can help readers delve deeper into the complex characters in this novel and their significance in The Great Gatsby .

1. What role does Tom Buchanan’s wealth and social status play in shaping his character and actions throughout the novel? How does his sense of entitlement affect those around him?

2. What role does Jordan Baker play in the novel’s exploration of dishonesty and deception? How does her reputation as a professional golfer reflect the theme of appearances versus reality in the story?

3. Who was Klipspringer? What would you call Klipspringer today? Friend? Leech?

4. What is the symbolic significance of Owl Eyes as a character who appears at Gatsby’s parties and later at Gatsby’s funeral? How does he represent a deeper layer of understanding within the novel?

5. Who was Mr. McKee? Was Mr. McKee gay?

6. How does George Wilson’s character evolve throughout the novel? What factors contribute to his transformation from a mild-mannered mechanic to a desperate and vengeful individual?

7. Analyze Tom’s relationships with Daisy and Myrtle. How do these relationships reveal different aspects of his character? What do they signify about his attitudes towards women and marriage?

8. Analyze Jordan’s relationship with Nick Carraway. How does their connection evolve throughout the novel? What does it reveal about her character?

9. How are women portrayed in The Great Gatsby in general? This was the decade when US laws allowed women to vote. Did the author portray women as being empowered in this novel?

10. Examine Owl Eyes’ fascination with Gatsby’s library and his reaction to the books. How does this fascination with literature reflect the broader theme of the power and limitations of knowledge in the novel?

11. Analyze the symbolism of George Wilson’s garage and home in the Valley of Ashes. How do these settings reflect his social and economic status, as well as his aspirations and frustrations?

12. Which of the characters in The Great Gatsby seems the most real or relatable? Of the characters in the novel, with whom can you relate most? Why?

13. Nick says he’s the most honest and nonjudgmental character ever. Is this true? Do you agree? Why or Why not?

14. What does Gatsby’s mansion represent? Would he have bought it if it were NOT across from Daisy’s dock?

15. Why did virtually no one want to attend Gatsby’s funeral? Who did finally attend the funeral?

Resources for Teachers

I’ve written so much over the years about this intricate and fascinating novel that I decided to create additional resources for teachers.

Great Gatsby Teacher Videos & Resources

You can help your students unlock the secrets of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless classic, The Great Gatsby , with my comprehensive study videos and downloadable PDFs. These resources are designed to empower teachers and engage students like never before.

As students dive into each chapter of the novel, our expert educators provide in-depth analyses, character breakdowns, thematic explorations, and thought-provoking discussion questions.

The meticulously crafted PDFs offer supplementary materials, lesson plans , and activities that will enrich your teaching and inspire insightful classroom discussions.

Whether you’re a seasoned educator or just beginning your literary journey, our study materials are your key to unlocking the full potential of this iconic novel in the classroom.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your teaching and enrich your students’ learning experience.

Elevate your curriculum with our valuable resources today and watch as your students embark on a captivating exploration of The Great Gatsby like never before.

Join me in making the study of literature an unforgettable and transformative experience for your students. Click here to access my premium study materials and take your teaching to the next level!

Specific Questions About Each Character

While questions about symbolism and motifs are important, it’s been my experience that most students participate more when asked about individual characters.

Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan Party at a Hotel

A few questions that come to mind include:

1. Does Daisy love and care about her daughter Pammy? 2. How does Gatsby plan on dealing with Pammy? Does Gatsby even realize that she exists? 3. Why did Gatsby throw those amazing parties? Why does he stop? 4. Does Daisy have an affair with Gatsby? 5. Do you agree with Nick that Gatsby was worth “the whole lot of them put together”? Why or Why not? 6. What did Gatsby mean when he said her voice was full of money? 7. Who was Meyer Wolfsheim? How did he “make” Gatsby? 8. Why didn’t Gatsby share his wealth with his father? 9. Why would Gatsby’s father come to his son’s funeral when Gatsby never bothered to keep in touch? 10. Why does Nick Carraway lose interest in Jordan Baker?

Questions About the Author

I believe that prereading about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tumultuous life and the times he lived in can help students gain a better understanding of how and why he wrote this novel.

The Great Gatsby Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Some good questions about the author include:

1. Fitzgerald wrote, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” What did he have to say about Gatsby? 2. The Great Gatsby was a commercial failure in Fitzgerald’s lifetime. Why? And why did it become popular only after his death? 3. What makes The Great Gatsby a classic American novel? How has it managed to maintain a place in important literature nearly 100 years later? 4. Is the character Nick Carraway a reflection of the author’s life, or is Fitzgerald more like Jay Gatsby? 5. In what ways does “The Great Gatsby” serve as a critique of the society and culture of the Roaring Twenties? What aspects of the era are mirrored in the novel’s characters and events? 6. How does F. Scott Fitzgerald’s own experiences and background, such as his life in the Jazz Age and his marriage to Zelda Fitzgerald, influence the themes and characters in “The Great Gatsby”?

One Final Thought Before You Go

I hope this set of questions regarding The Great Gatsby has enhanced your own list of questions that you may have prepared.

In conclusion, it’s clear that this iconic novel continues to captivate readers and offer profound insights into the human condition.

The Great Gatsby video resources

Engaging students in meaningful literary discussions is at the heart of effective teaching, and my carefully crafted study materials, including video analyses and downloadable PDF resources, are here to support you in this endeavor.

To make your teaching of The Great Gatsby even more enriching and impactful, I invite you to delve into my comprehensive study videos, and access our supplementary PDFs. These resources will empower you to create dynamic and thought-provoking classroom experiences, inspiring your students to explore the novel’s themes, characters, and symbolism with depth and enthusiasm.

Don’t miss this opportunity to elevate your teaching and provide your students with a deeper understanding of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

Downloadable Videos on The Great Gatsby for Teacher

Click Here to discover our premium study materials and take your lessons to the next level. Let’s embark on this literary journey together, empowering the next generation of readers and thinkers. Your students deserve nothing less.

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Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com

Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas.  Read more about Kerry here.

Great Gatsby Discussion Questions for Teachers

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As a former teacher with a deep passion for all things 1920s & The Great Gatsby novel, I consider myself a true Gatsby enthusiast! Whether it’s fashion, history, or party ideas, I’m here to assist you in bringing the spirit of the Roaring Twenties to life.

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The Great Gatsby Chapter Study Questions

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60+ chapter-by-chapter study questions for easy exam, quiz, or assignment creation

The great gatsby chapter questions.


  • Why are we still reading a book written in the 1920's? What gives a book its longevity?
  • How was the 1920's a reaction to WWI?
  • Some people think that having money leads to happiness. Do you agree? Why or why not? What are the advantages or disadvantages of being wealthy.
  • What is the "American Dream"? Where did it originate, and how has it changed over the centuries?
  • Have you ever wanted to relive a moment from your past, to redo it? Describe the situation. How and why would you change the past?

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  • Notice how many times Fitzgerald uses the words hope  or dream . Why does he do this?
  • Nick starts the novel by relaying his father's advice "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." List Nick's advantages. Does he reserve judgement in the novel?
  • Pay attention to time. What is the day and year during the first scene at Daisy's house?
  • Describe Nick. What facts do you know about him, and what do you infer about him? What kind of a narrator do you think he will be?
  • What image does the author use to describe Jordan Baker? What does it mean?
  • How does Nick react to Jordan?
  • What does Tom's behavior reveal about his character?
  • Describe the "valley of ashes." What does it look like and what does it represent?
  • Describe Mr. Wilson and Myrtle. Do they seem to fit into the setting?
  • What more have you learned about Nick in this chapter? Is he similar or different than the people he spends his time with?
  • Describe the violent act Tom comitted against Myrtle. What does this reveal about him?
  • Pay attention to Nick's judgements. What do they reveal about his character that he does this (especially in relation to his opening comments)?
  • Describe Gatsby the first time Nick sees him.
  • What rumors have been told about Gatsby? Why does Fitzgerald reveal rumors rather than fact?
  • What does Nick think of Gatsby after meeting him?
  • How is Gatsby different from his guests?
  • Why does Nick choose to share his thoughts and feelings with Jordan?
  • Nick thinks he's one of the few honest people he knows, why? Do you think he is honest?
  • List all of the rumors told about Gatsby.
  • Why does Fitzgerald list all of Gatsby's party guests?
  • Why does Gatsby tell Nick about his life? Do you believe Gatsby? Does Nick?
  • What role does Meyer Wolfsheim play in the novel? Why is there so much focus on his nose and what does this tell you about Fitzgerald's politics?
  • What does Jordan's story of Daisy's marriage reveal about Daisy?
  • Why did Gatsby want Daisy to see his house?
  • Nick says, "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired." What does Nick mean? How does each character in the novel fit into this schema?
  • Why does Gatsby deliver so many goods and services to Nick's house?
  • Describe the effect of rain on the plot.
  • Why does Gatsby offer Nick work? How does Nick feel about this?
  • Explain the significance of the green light.
  • Why does Gatsby get so many phone calls? What does this say about him?
  • How truthful was Gatsby when he relayed the story of his life to Nick? Why does Fitzgerald tell the story of Jay Gatz now?
  • Describe the meeting of Tom and Gatsby. What does this meeting reveal about them?
  • Why did Daisy and Tom find Gatsby's party loathsome?
  • How did Gatsby measure the success of his party?
  • When Nick told Gatsby that "you can't repeat the past", Gatsby replied, "Why of course you can!" Do you agree with Nick or Gatsby?
  • Who is Trimachio? Explain how this describes Gatsby.
  • Describe Daisy and Gatsby's new relationship.
  • Compare George Wilson and Tom. What did each man learn about his wife and how did they each react?
  • If Daisy says she's never loved Tom, is there someone whom she thinks she loves?
  • Describe the fight between Gatsby and Tom. What do these men think of each other? How are they similar and how are they different?
  • What was significant about Nick's 30th birthday?
  • What do you think Tom and Daisy were saying to each other in the kitchen? Do you think that Tom knew Daisy was driving the "death car"? Why, why not?
  • At this point, how would you end the novel?
  • How does Fitzgerald achieve a melancholic mood in the beginning of this chapter?
  • How are seasons used in constructing this novel?
  • Who is Dan Cody and what is his significance in Gatsby's life?
  • How does Nick's statement "You're worth the whole bunch put together" show a change in Nick from the beginning of the novel?
  • How does T. J. Eckleberg affect Mr. Wilson?
  • Why did Nick take care of Gatsby's funeral?
  • How was Jay Gatz's childhood schedule consistent with the adult Gatsby's behavior?
  • Who attended Gatsby's funeral? How and why is this significant?
  • What is the purpose of Nick's last meeting with Jordan?
  • Why does Nick call Tom and Daisy "careless people"?

Post Reading

  • Does this novel have villains and heroes? Why, why not? If yes, who fits into these categories and why?
  • Nick is both part of the action and acting as an objective commentator. Does this narration style work? Why, why not?
  • How did Fitzgerald use weather to reflect the mood of the story?
  • Again, why are we still reading a book written in the 1920's? What gives a book its longevity? And which of its themes are eternal in the American psyche.

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The Great Gatsby: Questions & Answers

great gatsby discussion questions

Inspired by real-time events and full of refined symbolism, The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald leaves many questions unanswered. On this page, you’ll find a list of the answers to the most pressing questions about the novel. To read the full versions of the answers, just click on the links.

❓ The Great Gatsby Q&A

How did jordan describe daisy’s background.

Jordan Baker finally decides to reveal her friend’s background. She tells Nick that Daisy and Gatsby have always loved each other. They met during the war, and it was love from the first sight. But Daisy married Tom Buchanan when Gatsby had to join the army. Just before the wedding, she realized that this decision was a mistake. Daisy’s heart belonged to Gatsby.

What does Old Money vs. New Money mean in the Great Gatsby?

Old money stands out because their wealth comes from old family connections. New money refers to those people who make their fortune with no help. Back then, “old money” were considered elite (Daisy’s world). And “new money” was seen as less educated and elegant (Gatsby’s world).

Why did Gatsby fail to achieve the American Dream?

The appearance of a happy life was just a lie that covered the deep grief inside. Gatsby didn’t achieve the American dream because he chased the praise of others. His material possession didn’t bring him happiness. The only thing Gatsby dreamed about is for Daisy to accept his love.

What does “Her voice is full of money” mean?

The metaphor used by Gatsby to describe Daisy’s voice goes back to the main character’s life story. In his youth, Gatsby was relatively poor, so becoming wealthy was his primary goal. Jay compares Daisy with money since he needs to win her back. It’s the only thing that can make him feel complete after coming back from war.

What role does the book “The Rise of the Colored Empires” play in The Great Gatsby?

The book “The Rise of the Colored Empires” is mentioned in the first chapter of The Great Gatsby. The main antagonist, Tom Buchanan, comments on it. This scene is essential for understanding his character and life principles. The book also refers to a real-life piece of literature. It promotes the ideas of racism in society.

How did Gatsby get rich?

Though Gatsby is a fictional character, it’s hard to believe someone in the ’20s could afford such a lavish life. Some people speculate that he was a drug dealer, and some say that he was a tax cheater. But others say that he was selling cognac until he became rich and powerful.

What was Jay Gatsby’s real name & background?

Jay Gatsby’s real name is James Gatz. He was the son of a poor farmer from North Dakota. Gatsby (or Gatz, to be exact) did not come from San Francisco, as he claimed. He attended St Olaf’s College, which was not a lie. However, he dropped out two years later and decided to make a name for himself.

What does Gatsby tell Nick about himself and his past?

Gatsby provides Nick and the readers with the story of his extraordinary life. The man’s past is filled with a luxurious experience and incredible feats, many of which seem improbable. He admits that he was born into wealth, attended a prestigious university, and traveled the world. Nick is doubtful about these stories’ truth, but cannot argue with the proof Gatsby provides.

Who killed Gatsby and how did that happen?

George Wilson killed Gatsby with a gun in Gatsby’s house and then shot himself dead. Wilson was devastated by his wife’s death, who died in a car accident. Assuming that the driver was Gatsby himself, Wilson decided to kill him. But such a tragic ending is just a simple misunderstanding.

What role do the first lines of The Great Gatsby play?

The first lines of the book introduce the reader to the narrator, as well as explain his perspective on the events. Nick Carraway, a bond salesman from a wealthy family, reflects on his past. He begins his narration with his father’s words, who ushered him not to be judgmental of others.

What does The Great Gatsby’s ending mean?

By leaving his readers with an empty feeling, Fitzgerald communicates several messages. First of all, he shows Gatsby’s disappointment with the American dream. Second, it shows Fitzgerald’s reflection over the Interbellum. Finally, the author invites his readers to discuss the personal perception of their past and future.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Explain the quote

Jordan Baker uses the change of seasons as a metaphor for new beginnings in life. She tries to cheer up Daisy, who is depressed and tired of life. This quote is indicative of Jordan’s personality. Unlike Daisy, she is pragmatic and doesn’t rely on others to enjoy her success in life.

“So we beat on, boats against the current…” Explain the quote

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The most famous among The Great Gatsby quotes is the novel’s final sentence, restating its central theme. It reflects Jay Gatsby’s inability to let go of the past. His efforts to bring it back are barely worth it.

How does the Narrator describe Gatsby?

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby appears as a man with a newly found fortune. He is extravagant, like his parties, but he is also incredibly lonely. Many people around refer to him as a gorgeous person. In fact, he is immature and has no knowledge of the world he became a part of.

What does Nick mean by the last line of The Great Gatsby?

The last line of The Great Gatsby is often referred to as the main character’s constant desire to reclaim the past. It is shown in Gatsby’s desire to win Daisy’s love back and his unwillingness to give up are.

What were the rumors about Gatsby?

Jay Gatsby has made a name for himself among wealthy socialites. In the book, he throws lavish parties every other weekend. However, Gatsby remains mysterious to his party guests. They believe he might be a German spy, a bootlegger, and a war hero. Moreover, some believe he is a relative of the Kaiser. He is rumored to have killed people as well!

In chapter 7, why does Gatsby stop giving parties?

The reason Gatsby stops giving parties is that he wants to spend more time with Daisy. The initial goal of Gatsby’s social gatherings was to attract his love interest’s attention. Besides, he had to do without being suspicious. So, the purpose of the events disappears once Daisy accepts his affection. Therefore, he holds back from parties in favor of in-person communication.

“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course, you can!” Explain the quote

“You can’t repeat the past,” says Nick Carraway to Jay Gatsby. This quote belongs in Chapter 6 of Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, “The Great Gatsby.” To which Gatsby replies, “Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course, you can!” This conversation gives a hint about Gatsby’s intention to return Daisy Buchanan, his past love.

What role does Dan Cody’s yacht play in Great Gatsby?

Jay Gatsby first encountered Dan Cody on Lake Superior, where he was working. The character noticed that the storm was coming. So, he decided to warn the sailor about the bad weather. While being thankful for the notice, Cody started a conversation with Jay and offered him a job.

How does Nick describe Gatsby’s car?

Nick is a first-person narrator in the novel. He describes Gatsby’s car to have a creamy color, bright and extravagant with multiple windshields. It appears to be as pompous as its owner.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy.” Explain the quote

Nick calls Tom and Daisy careless because their lifestyle is free of any problems. Sure, they have challenging situations, but they leave all the unsatisfying stuff behind and move on. Nick has different life values and sees Tom and Daisy as spoiled children. He does not like the characters’ careless attitude, but knowing them so well helps him maintain a good relationship.

What does “Owl Eyes” reveal about Gatsby’s books?

Fitzgerald’s books are rich in symbolism that fills the characters with deep symbolic meanings. Owl Eyes shows wisdom, which makes him different from the rest of Gatsby’s guests. Unlike others, he knows how to distinguish the real from the fake. He is astonished that in a world of false, the only real thing is books.

Where is Nick Carraway from?

The novel’s narrator, Nick Carraway, is a young man born in Minnesota. Yale-educated and World War I ex-military, Nick comes to New York City to learn about the bond business.

Which excerpt from The Great Gatsby best indicates that Nick is not fully content with his life?

There is a moment when Nick realized that “the Middle West now seemed like a ragged edge of the universe.” Then, Nick decided to move to New York and start a career in the bond business. This excerpt indicates the fact that he is not content with the lifestyle he has in his homeland.

Who attended Gatsby’s funeral?

“Life and death were much different for Gatsby, only a few genuinely cared for him.” There were only a few people who attended Gatsby’s funeral. Nick was there along with Gatsby’s father (Henry Gatz), Owl Eyes, the minister, and a few of the house servants.

Why does Nick feel responsible for getting people to the funeral of Gatsby?

The Great Gatsby appears to be the tragic story of a person who possessed everything, yet had nothing. Jay Gatsby is an extravagant rich man who very quickly earned a fortune doing some illegal business. Many people are truly amazed by him. But he is still a lost child who has no idea how to live in the world and be himself.

How did F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby reflect the culture of the 1920s?

Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby perfectly reflected the culture of the 1920s. Fitzgerald did it by showing the characters’ absence of regard for morals. The story shows the societal decadence due to the overall prosperity. In historical context, it was brought by the industrial revolution.

How does Nick describe himself at the beginning of The Great Gatsby?

The first thing that Nick tells about himself is that he refrains from passing judgment on others. Nick’s background and tolerant personality make people confide in him, giving more credence to his narration.

In which point of view is The Great Gatsby written?

The Great Gatsby is written from the first-person perspective. Nick Carraway narrates the events of the novel in first-person, but he is not a reliable narrator.

Is Nick from The Great Gatsby a trustworthy narrator?

In general, it can be stated that Nick is not a quite reliable narrator due to several reasons. For instance, he may not be present during a significant event. It means he can’t portray the situation subjectively. Nick might not be a trustworthy character. So, he always receives much attention from literary critiques. Everyone tries to understand his role in the story.

What does Gatsby want from Daisy in chapter 6?

In chapter 6, Gatsby reveals that he wants to reunite with Daisy. He wishes to forget the fact that she was with Tom for the last five years. He is willing to pretend that these years never existed, and their relationship was continuous and wholesome.

What was Gatsby’s reaction to Daisy’s child?

Gatsby was surprised by the fact that Daisy has a child as he saw her as a daydream rather than a woman. The main character was deeply in love with a dream girl who barely had flesh. So, she could not possibly be associated with such earthly aspects as childbearing.

Which excerpt from The Great Gatsby is the best example of foreshadowing?

Foreshadowing is a powerful literary device that Fitzgerald used to keep the reader intrigued! At the end of chapter 1, Nick sees Gatsby standing at the shore, trembling. He was stretching out his arms and into the distance towards a green light. But eventually, Gatsby disappears into the “unquiet darkness.” That moment predicts his inability to attain his greatest desires and his eventual demise in death.

Why did Daisy marry Tom in The Great Gatsby?

In The Great Gatsby, there are several love stories that are intertwined. Gatsby loves Daisy, she loves both Gatsby and her husband, her husband Tom loves Myrtle, but she is married to George. But the most exciting love triangle is between Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom. It is just strange that Daisy chose a man who never loved her.

When and why did Gatsby change his name?

Jay Gatsby was born James Gatz and changed his name when he was seventeen. He did it to tailor it to his new lifestyle and reflect his wish to obtain wealth and status.

What is the true relationship between Daisy and Tom in The Great Gatsby?

Daisy and Tom Buchanan are a perfect match for each other. But it’s not due to personal traits of character, shared ambitions, or sincere, romantic feelings. They deserve each other since both spouses are obsessed with wealth and luxury.

Why does Daisy cry about the shirts in chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby?

Daisy cries because she has never seen such beautiful shirts, and their appearance makes her emotional. The scene solidifies her character and her treatment of Gatsby. She is vain and self-serving, only concerned with material goods.

What is Gatsby’s real history?

The protagonist’s real story is way different from what he tells people. Gatsby’s real name is James Gatz, and he was born in a poor farmers’ family in North Dakota. After failing to complete his education, he decided to start a new life. Gatsby invents an alternative story about himself to become a different man he dreamed of being.

How does The Great Gatsby reflect the Jazz Age?

The Great Gatsby shows the Jazz Age by depicting Gatsby’s luxurious parties. Accompanied by live jazz orchestras, they were typical for that period. Fitzgerald reflects on the material values and the struggle to get a higher social class in the book.

“It takes two to make an accident…” What is the significance of this quote?

It appears to be a popular idiomatic expression, but with a much deeper meaning. The quote has a symbolic meaning of carelessness towards life from Jordan and other residents in East Egg. Besides, it is a foreshadowing element of the climax of the novel.

In The Great Gatsby, Is Nick a reliable narrator?

Nick Carraway is one of the main characters in The Great Gatsby. He is the story’s narrator, and therefore, readers see everything through his eyes. Despite Nick’s promise “to reserve all judgments,” he is not entirely trustworthy. However, it is clear that any criticism coming from Nick is not intentional. Overall, he is a pretty reliable narrator.

How does Nick know Daisy and Tom in The Great Gatsby?

Nick shares the social circle with Daisy and Tom, who he knows from his youth. He remembers Tom from his time at Yale, and Daisy is his cousin, who he visited after the war.

How does Nick describe Tom Buchanan in chapter 1?

Nick, the book’s narrator, provides the audience with an uncharitable description of Tom Buchanan. The man is a wealthy acquaintance of his. He is noted to be arrogant, broad, and muscular, with an imposing build.

How does Myrtle behave as the party progresses in chapter 2?

During the party, Myrtle’s attitude changes with her surroundings and her clothes. Myrtle shows a lot of liveliness and vitality in the beginning. But she becomes more artificial and reserved after putting on a different dress.

How do we know that Myrtle Wilson is not an intellectual?

Myrtle Wilson does not have a central role in the narrative of The Great Gatsby. However, she is still an essential part of the novel. It is evident that Myrtle is lively and eccentric, unlike Daisy. However, the readers can sense that she is not much of an intellectual. It becomes clear through Nick’s description of Myrtle’s appearance and interests.

How did Gatsby measure the success of his party in chapter 6?

Gatsby’s mansion parties became one of the reasons for his high status and reputation in New York. Hundreds of people enjoying drinks and gossip till early morning. And these events served one principal purpose. The host wanted to draw Daisy’s attention. In chapter 6, Daisy finally attends one of Gatsby’s parties. And its success is measured by the extent to which she likes it.

What are the main differences between The Great Gatsby book and movie?

There are several ways in which the movie by Baz Luhrmann differs from the classic novel. The story portrayed in the film departs from the original text in different scenes. For instance, they are at the very beginning and during the apartment party. Nevertheless, the movie production team did a great job of depicting the classic story.

Describe Daisy and Gatsby’s new relationship. What is it like?

Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship is dark and complicated. It becomes “renewed” at two points throughout the novel.

What is the main conflict in The Great Gatsby?

The primary conflict in Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is between Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Gatsby wants to rekindle his relationship with Daisy, who is now married to Tom.

What is the climax of The Great Gatsby?

The climax of “The Great Gatsby” is Chapter 7, where Tom confronts Gatsby and talks about his illegal business. At the same moment, the love triangle decides to rule out the situation between each other.

Why Is Gatsby great?

Jay Gatsby is considered to be “great” in the paradoxical context. He is “great” because of his dreams, wealth, status in society, festivities, and personality. However, it is contradictory because all this greatness cannot provide him with the only thing he needs – love.

Why does Jordan want to leave the group from East Egg?

Jordan, having spent most of her life in the East Egg, at some point got tired from the company she was spending time with. East Egg was the part of Long Island where old money was living. So the surroundings there were quite monotonous, leaving Jordan no choice but to crave new emotions. Furthermore, Jordan was always followed by a young man who was showing too much affection to her.

Who killed Myrtle in The Great Gatsby?

Daisy is the person who causes the death of Myrtle Wilson. However, this truth stays unrevealed. Daisy drives the car, which belongs to Gatsby, at this tragic moment. And he is determined to protect her and takes the blame upon himself.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…” What is the significance of this quote?

The author of The Great Gatsby introduces the narrator with this phrase. Nick is a modest and courteous person. It evokes sympathy for Nick among readers. Besides, this quote highlights social issues. One of them is that wealth provides prospects. “All the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” refers to his middle-class background.

What is the cause of the problem between Jordan and Nick?

The actual cause of the issue between Jordan Baker and Nick is simple to understand. That’s why: Nick is disappointed in Jordan’s emotional reaction. For Jordan, it only matters how Nick treated her. And this is despite Myrtle’s recent death. He realizes she and the people of her social circle are egoistic and quite ruthless.

What is Gatsby doing when Nick first sees him?

The first time Nick sees Gatsby when going back home from a party at the Buchanan house. He notices Gatsby mysteriously standing on the lawn with his hands stretched forward. It seems like he was watching the stars, but then it becomes clear that he glazes at the green light. Nick is thinking about whether he should introduce himself to the new neighbor.

What is Daisy’s opinion of Gatsby’s party in chapter 6?

When Daisy goes to Gatsby’s party, she seems miserable, which does not correlate with Jay’s expectations. She feels bad not because she dislikes the party, but because she enjoys it more than her own life.

What did Dan Cody do for Gatsby? What did Gatsby learn from him?

Dan Cody was Gatsby’s mentor, who educated him on the world of business and finance. The young man changed his name because of Cody and was able to start his journey toward a prosperous life. Cody gave Gatsby education and financial support, which helped him achieve his aspirations.

“They’re a rotten crowd” – what does this quote mean?

In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Nick tells his only compliment to Gatsby. He states that Gatsby is worth more than the whole upper-class at the time. This quote means that he is a better person than most people, superficial and vain. It is even though Gatsby’s happy life is illusional.

What role does social class in The Great Gatsby play?

The social class in The Great Gatsby, the outstanding novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is an integral part of the book. Upper-class people are expected to act with dignity, grace, and decency. Still, this view is deceitful. The corruption and dishonesty of the rich are reflected through the eyes of the main character.

“I was within and without” – what does this quote mean?

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” The quote implies the repulsiveness and allurement of Tom Buchanan guests’ lifestyle. Nick does not entirely approve of their extravagance and excessive fashion.

“I hope she’ll be a fool” – what does this quote mean?

Daisy’s statement shows how protective she is of her daughter’s innocence. She hopes that if she is foolish enough, she will not be as hurt by life as more introspective people.

How is Gatsby different from his guests?

Gatsby is strikingly different from the guests who attend his weekly parties for several reasons. The critical aspects of his personality that make him stand out are honesty and introverted nature. These curious traits show how distant Gatsby is from the guests.

How does Nick meet Gatsby for the first time?

Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby might have known each other from several possible encounters. Their first proper meeting happens during one of Gatsby’s parties, to which Nick was invited. They strike up a conversation that leads to them establishing a close friendship. But Nick does not realize who he is talking to at first.

In chapter 8, did Gatsby go to Oxford?

Yes, Gatsby went to Oxford even though he wanted to go back to Daisy. However, he was sent there because of a clerical error.

Describe the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy in chapter 5. What was it like?

In Chapter 5, Nick sets up the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy. And the ex-partners behave in a highly stiff and stressful way. It is evident that both experience some discomfort and nervousness. After Nick’s arrival, Gatsby is filled with joy, and Daisy tears up from happiness.

Why was young Gatsby drawn to Daisy?

Young Gatsby loved the image he created for himself with a great passion. He did not know the real Daisy but dreamed of a beautiful high-class girl. She lives with no worries, and money can help fulfill any of her whims.

🎓 References

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Free Ebook
  • The world’s most misunderstood novel – BBC Culture
  • Our Favorite ‘Gatsby’ References in Popular Culture
  • What The Great Gatsby Reveals About The Jazz Age | JSTOR
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Study Guide Menu

  • Short Summary
  • Summary (Chapter 1)
  • Summary (Chapter 2)
  • Summary (Chapter 3)
  • Summary (Chapter 4)
  • Summary (Chapter 5)
  • Summary (Chapter 6)
  • Summary (Chapter 7)
  • Summary (Chapter 8)
  • Summary (Chapter 9)
  • Symbolism & Style
  • Quotes Explained
  • Essay Topics
  • Essay Samples
  • Questions & Answers
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Biography
  • Chicago (N-B)
  • Chicago (A-D)

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The Great Gatsby Unit Plan | Entire Novel Study

the great gatsby novel study

This resource includes an  ANTICIPATION GUIDE (pre-reading activity) for the novel  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

An anticipation guide is a comprehension strategy that is used  BEFORE   reading  to activate students’ prior knowledge and build curiosity about a new topic.

In this lesson, students will respond to several claims by indicating if they agree or disagree with that said statement. Next, students will work collaboratively in groups to answer related discussion questions to further build anticipation about the novel before reading.

great gatsby discussion questions

Are you looking for  pre-reading activities for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ? Why not pay homage to the beautiful artwork of Spanish artist Francis Cugat who painted the original cover of the novel  The Great Gatsby !?

Have students analyze the text and graphics of the famous artwork; they will literally  judge a book by its cover  by answering questions about the emotions and associations they think of while looking at the image. Then, students should make predictions about what the story will be about.

This activity is fun and engaging for students! It’s a great reading strategy to build anticipation prior to a novel study on the American novel  The Great Gatsby.

great gatsby discussion questions

This resource includes guided notes for  Background Information for the novel  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The Great Gatsby background info is essential for students to learn and be familiar with before reading the novel!

The focus of this lesson entails a brief history of the 1920s to include the following topics: author background, setting of  The Great Gatsby,  1920s culture, the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, the economic boom, gender roles, racism, prohibition, modernism, art deco, new money vs old money, social class, the Harlem Renaissance, post-war era, the Lost Generation, organized crime, and the American Dream.

Before reading the novel  The Great Gatsby , teach your students about the author, the setting, society, and culture of the 1920s to ensure they truly understand the prominent themes in the novel.

In this lesson, your students with be engaged as they take notes from a Powerpoint presentation and answer questions using the accommodating worksheet provided.

Students will answer questions along the way that create personal connections to the time period of the 1920s.

f scott fitzgerald author study collaborative poster

Have your students create a collaborative poster and learn about  F. Scott Fitzgerald  in a fun, engaging way!

Your students will create an author biography by researching F. Scott Fitzgerald and establishing his profile on a poster.

Students will learn about Fitzgerald and his body of work as a legendary author.

This goes perfectly for any novel study on  The Great Gatsby!

Additionally, they will learn the importance of collaboration and effective communication.

Project Steps:

1) To construct the author study poster, your students will work in groups to conduct research on Fitzgerald.

2) Students will then transfer their findings to boxes on the poster.

3) Next, they will work together to color or paint the pieces of the poster.

4) Lastly, students will tape together the final product.

The poster is made up of six pieces of paper, which can be printed on regular copy paper or card stock.

Once taped together, the final product will be  28″ x 15″  and can last a lifetime if you laminate it!

This resource includes the following:

  • Step by Step Student Directions (PDF & editable word document)
  • Author Study Project Rubric (PDF & editable word document)
  • Author Study Graphic Organizer for Students (PDF & editable word document)
  • 6 Blank Coloring Pages that come together as one beautiful poster (PDFs)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald Author Study Answer Key
  • Example of Final Project: Completed Text & Fully Colored Body

great gatsby discussion questions

This resource includes a fun, engaging activity that will get your students talking about  The Great Gatsby  before reading the novel! This  pre-reading activity for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald  consists of over 20 classic “Would You Rather” questions.

The questions are all closely related to themes, motifs, and events directly from the novel—but without any spoilers! For example… Would you rather: marry someone rich OR make your own fortune??

Your students will be able to personally connect with the text, make predictions, and build anticipation before completing a novel study on the famous American novel  The Great Gatsby!

great gatsby discussion questions

This resource entails 90 academic words defined:  Vocab Lists & Quizzes for All 9 Chapters!  All   The Great Gatsby   by F. Scott Fitzgerald vocabulary resources you need in one place!

Included in this resource  The Great Gatsby Vocabulary:

1. Powerpoint presentation with 90 words—and their definitions—from  The Great Gatsby.

2. Graphic organizers for students to record all definitions as well as write their own.

3. Teacher answer key for all 90 words.

4. Three quizzes: 30 words each, separated by every 3 chapters.

5. Answer keys for quizzes.

great gatsby discussion questions

Make sure your students are completing their independent reading for the novel  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald  with these quick  Reading Checks or Chapter Quizzes ! This product works well if your students are reading independently or if you are reading as a class and you want to ensure students are paying attention! 🙂

These questions require brief responses; they are recall questions that are meant to be easy to remember for anyone who has completed the reading. This is a tool used simply to check that students are completing the independent reading, comprehending the basic information, and/or are engaged during class.

The reading checks are divided by every individual chapter (9 chapters altogether). There are two different versions of every set of questions (a & b). This is so you can use different quizzes for different classes and avoid cheating (students talk and share answers).

This product includes a Powerpoint presentation as well as printable worksheets that are meant to be cut in half and distributed to students (optional).

To administer quizzes:

  • project the questions on your board for students to see
  • have students use scrap paper or lined paper to write their answers down (or print the worksheets included)
  • when everyone is done, have students grade each other’s answers by switching papers in class
  • review the correct answers out loud and project them on the board
  • collect graded quizzes

Teacher answer keys included!

great gatsby discussion questions

The Great Gatsby Chapter Activities — Chapter by Chapter Literary Analysis & Text-Dependent Reading Questions!

This resource includes literary analysis, reading comprehension, and discussion-type questions for all nine chapters of the novel  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as 10 after reading discussion questions.

As your students read the novel  The Great Gatsby,  chapter by chapter, have them digest, analyze, and discuss the important scenes and literary elements Fitzgerald demonstrates.

There are 10 questions per chapter, plus 10 after reading questions, totaling in 100 awesome questions in this product! Thorough answer keys are included.

You can print this resource as one all-encompassing packet or you can provide students worksheets one chapter at a time.

Students will analyze point of view, theme, imagery, symbolism, irony, and more with this lesson.

great gatsby discussion questions

This Imagery Project is an after reading activity based on the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

For this project, students will carefully select a scene from the novel  The Great Gatsby  that is filled with imagery. Students will illustrate and analyze the scene. To analyze the scene, students will pick out textual evidence that appeals to the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound. Students will describe the effect the descriptive language has on the reader and the overall mood of the scene. Student’s must also explain Fitzgerald’s purpose for the use of imagery in the scene.

great gatsby discussion questions

For this after reading activity based on the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, students will write an obituary for Jay Gatsby using characterization skills.

If you are looking for engaging after reading activities for  The Great Gatsby,  this writing task provides students an opportunity to analyze Jay Gatsby’s character in an interesting way! Students will discuss Jay Gatsby’s history, his accomplishments, his personality, and more, all in a well-written tribute to his memory.

great gatsby discussion questions

These fun activities are a great tool for practicing  characterization for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel  The Great Gatsby.

Included in this resource:

1. Activity that requires students to think outside of the box and compare each character from the novel to a particular household item or food item; students must justify their responses.

2. Activity that requires students to assign superlative awards to different characters in the novel and explain their responses.

Both activities make for great group work!

great gatsby discussion questions

After reading the beloved American novel  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald,  have your students reexamine the  most important quotes  and dialogue throughout the book.

In this lesson, students will first identify 10 popular quotes by their speaker. Next, students will take a closer look at 25 quotes from all nine chapters of  The Great Gatsby.  Students will analyze these quotes for their meaning and significance by answering open-ended questions pertaining to each quote.

This activity is a great addition to any  novel study  of  The Great Gatsby  and a nice review for after reading! Detailed answer key included.

great gatsby discussion questions

In this resource, students will conduct a literary analysis of  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald  and write a  TDA Essay  using textual evidence to support their responses.

There are TWO writing options students can choose from for this Response to Literature/TDA essay.

Included in this product you will get one copy of the following each as PDFs  (ready to print)  as well as one copy of the following each as WORD Documents (as to be  editable   for teachers ).

  • Essay Prompts for two different topics on the novel  The Great Gatsby
  • Two Prewriting Graphic Organizers for students to brainstorm ideas, thesis, examples, and textual evidence
  • TDA Essay Rubric broken down into categories: content, focus, organization, style, conventions, and format

great gatsby discussion questions

Teach your students about the  Symbols/Symbolism and Colors in the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In this resource, you will get a Powerpoint lesson that is 58 slides, filled with information, quotes, examples, and photos to help your students analyze the important symbols and colors in the novel.

Below is a list of symbols your students will analyze:

  • Dan Cody’s Yacht
  • Gatsby’s Shirts
  • New York City
  • Valley of Ashes
  • Wolfsheim’s Cufflinks
  • Gatsby’s Uncut Books
  • The Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg
  • West Egg and East Egg
  • Gatsby’s Car
  • Gatsby’s Mansion
  • Gatsby’s Bedroom
  • Gatsby’s Swimming Pool
  • The Green Blinking Light on Daisy’s Dock

This lesson is great for cooperative learning and group work. Instructions for a jigsaw activity are included (optional).

In addition to the Powerpoint presentation, you will receive two graphic organizer options and an answer key.

great gatsby discussion questions

Your students are going to love  The Great Gatsby Digital Escape Room!  Students will decipher and solve puzzles in this dramatic, backyard pool scene from the novel. In this 360° digital escape room, students will try to evade the police and enter Gatsby’s mansion to pack a get away bag!

This activity is designed to work for a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Students will solve a series of clues based on the novel  The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald in order to crack the master lock and escape the premises.

This game entails reading comprehension skills, finding textual evidence, and making inferences. Watch the preview video to get a closer look of what this resource entails.

Included in this download are teacher instructions, student instructions (digital), the master lock graphic organizer, answer keys, and a reflection sheet (optional).

PLEASE READ: While using this resource, you must have a wi-fi connection and the ability to access the following sites: Google Forms and Kuula.co. Please check that these websites are not blocked by your district’s filter before purchasing. Your students do not need to have a Google account.

great gatsby discussion questions

This resource includes  The Great Gatsby Final Unit Test with a Study Guide for Review and Answer Keys!

This test, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s  The Great Gatsby , requires students to demonstrate what they learned from the novel and their overall comprehension of the book. (Answer key included)

This exam consists of 68 questions and offers students an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and abilities in a variety of ways, to include:

  • multiple choice questions
  • true or false
  • short answer (1-2 sentences)
  • character identification (with word bank)
  • extended response (5 sentences or more)

Also included in this product is an accommodating  study guide  that closely mirrors the expectations of the test. (Answer key included)

Additionally, I provide an “answer sheet” for any teachers that prefer students to not write on the actual tests because it is quicker to grade multiple choice questions with answer sheets. Answer sheets are  completely optional!

great gatsby discussion questions

The Great Gatsby Movie Guide  worksheet is an in-depth Film Analysis and Book Comparison based on the 2013 movie  The Great Gatsby,  directed by Baz Luhrmann.

This exercise is meant for students to analyze the film as well as specific decisions made by the director. Students will also be required to input personal opinions regarding the movie, such as cast and music choice.

Answer guide included!

great gatsby discussion questions

Have your students share their unique understanding of the novel  The Great Gatsby   by F. Scott Fitzgerald  by imaginatively blending their written ideas with colorful images based on information from the text.

With this  one-pager reading comprehension project,  students will analyze the literature by determining theme, symbolism, characterization, point of view, setting, important quotes and more. Students’ artwork make for unique and creative analyses of the literature and also make great  bulletin boards!  This is the perfect project for students to work on at the end of a novel study and to summarize their thoughts/ideas about the book.

Included in this purchase is:

  • Student directions for the one pager summary project
  • Rubric for the one pager project
  • Example one-pager based on the novel  The Great Gatsby
  • 10 BLANK TEMPLATES (printable—optional)

great gatsby discussion questions

This resource includes  FIVE FULL WEEKS of content for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald!

Additionally, in this  UNIT PLAN BUNDLE , you will receive a teacher guide that encompasses an example Unit Schedule/Pacing Guide!

Lessons Included in this Bundle:

  • Anticipation Guide and Questions
  • Judge The Book by its Cover Before Reading
  • Background Info on 1920s, the American Dream, the Roaring Twenties culture, and F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Would You Rather Pre-Reading Game
  • Vocabulary For Every Chapter with Quizzes
  • Reading Checks/Quizzes for All 9 Chapters
  • Imagery and Descriptive Language Project
  • Obituary for Jay Gatsby Project
  • Character Analysis and Characterization Activity
  • Important Quotes Explanation and Analysis
  • Reading Questions for Every Chapter
  • TDA Essay Prompt and Rubric
  • Symbols and Colors Powerpoint Lesson
  • Digital Escape Room Reading Comprehension Game
  • Study Guide and Final Test
  • Movie Guide and Comparison Worksheet (Baz Luhrmann Film, 2013)
  • One Pager Creative Project

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great gatsby discussion questions

The Great Gatsby

F. scott fitzgerald, everything you need for every book you read..

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

The Great Gatsby: Introduction

The great gatsby: plot summary, the great gatsby: detailed summary & analysis, the great gatsby: themes, the great gatsby: quotes, the great gatsby: characters, the great gatsby: symbols, the great gatsby: literary devices, the great gatsby: quizzes, the great gatsby: theme wheel, brief biography of f. scott fitzgerald.

The Great Gatsby PDF

Historical Context of The Great Gatsby

Other books related to the great gatsby.

  • Full Title: The Great Gatsby
  • Where Written: Paris and the US, in 1924
  • When Published: 1925
  • Literary Period: Modernism
  • Genre: Novel
  • Setting: Long Island, Queens, and Manhattan, New York in the summer of 1922
  • Climax: The showdown between Gatsby and Tom over Daisy
  • Point of View: First person

Extra Credit for The Great Gatsby

Puttin' on the Fitz. Fitzgerald spent most of his adult life in debt, often relying on loans from his publisher, and even his editor, Maxwell Perkins, in order to pay the bills. The money he made from his novels could not support the high-flying cosmopolitan life his wife desired, so Fitzgerald turned to more lucrative short story writing for magazines like Esquire. Fitzgerald spent his final three years writing screenplays in Hollywood.

Another Failed Screenwriter. Fitzgerald was an alcoholic and his wife Zelda suffered from serious mental illness. In the final years of their marriage as their debts piled up, Zelda stayed in a series of mental institutions on the East coast while Fitzgerald tried, and largely failed, to make money writing movie scripts in Hollywood.

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The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Great Gatsby, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

This post is the third post in the Classics Series–you can check out the posts on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Emma by Jane Austen for more.

The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most renown work. Maybe you know The Great Gatsby from high school English, where it’s often required reading (gasp!–If you’re in high school English now, hi there! Don’t worry, you’ll survive!).

Anyway, maybe that’s been a while…but you have a vague memory of parties and wealth along with Gatsby’s doomed obsession for a past love.

great gatsby discussion questions

Or, maybe due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby, you are more recently familiar with the story. Either way, you might not have read the book as an adult. I know I hadn’t.

Let me encourage you if it’s been a while or especially if you’ve crossed into mid-life, the place where we flounder between the tug of the future and the pull of the past, to consider rereading the novel.

The Great Gatsby is a timeless book that can be read every few years and mined for new insights. It’s ultimately a warning against the pursuit of wealth unrestrained by morality. But, it’s more than that, too.

Anyone who has lived a little, who has battled the strain towards the future while longing for the past, can relate to Gatsby and the narrator Nick Carraway. In fact, the book ends with this quote from Nick Carraway:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

It’s a bittersweet story of misplaced affections all around full of profound lessons and a wake up call. If your book club hasn’t read it, I highly recommend you consider it. With a little wisdom under your belt, the book takes on new shades and hues you may have missed from an earlier reading.

If your book club picks The Great Gatsby to read, I’ve provided book club questions and a delicious recipe for your meeting! So if you are looking for food ideas and more, keep reading!

Here’s a brief summary of The Great Gatsby:

When Nick Carraway moves East to try his hand at bond sales and to stake his claim of the American fortune, he realizes that no one seems to have a larger slice of the pie than his mysterious neighbor, Gatsby. What appears as lavish wealth slowly begins to evaporate into nothing more than an illusion as Nick grows closer to Gatsby and begins to discover Gatsby’s desperation to grab the attention of the unattainable Daisy. As Gatsby’s doomed love for Daisy and the greed and immorality of everyone involved slowly leads to destruction, Nick questions everything he understood about the American dream.

The Book Club Kit

For The Great Gatsby recipe:

Okay, I admit a 1920s flapper party is just plain fun. Who doesn’t love to dress up in pearls and feathers? While I tend to agree with this article from The Atlantic which basically says that anyone who actually read The Great Gatsby would never throw a Gatsby-themed party, I do think book clubs may be the exception. So, dress up, enjoy, throw a lavish party if you want because you know it’s fleeting, even though it’s so much fun.

When researching the food in the book, I found several in addition to the lemon cakes. Here are a some food ideas for The Great Gatsby:

  • Oranges and Lemons – The mountain of fruit that arrives before every party – Chapter 3 (You can make any fruity drink with these)
  • Or you can make a Daisy Blossom! — Originally called the Orange Blossom , it was a drink popular during the Prohibition
  • Hors d’oeuvres- Spiced baked ham, pastry pigs and turkeys are mentioned- From Gatsby’s parties – Chapter 3
  • Pig sausages and mashed potatoes – Nick’s lunch in the City – Chapter 3
  • A succulent hash (sausage, potatoes, onions) – Meeting Meyer Wolfsheim – Chapter 4
  • Mint Juleps – The Plaza Hotel – Chapter 7
  • Fried Chicken and Ale – Daisy and Tom conspire – Chapter 7
  • Any gin drink – Throughout the book

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Lemon Cupcakes

I ultimately decided to make lemon cakes and tea because I wanted anyone who might be reading The Great Gatsby to be able to partake (including high school students). However, there are several alcoholic beverages in the list above, if your group desires them.

I also liked the significance of the lemon cakes and tea. They are served in Chapter 5 when Gatsby arranges to meet Daisy Buchannan at Nick’s house. It is where they reunite. It is the moment Gatsby has been working towards for years.

In the scene, the cakes and tea are not good enough. Gatsby scrutinizes them, wishing Daisy had instead walked through the door at one of his lavish parties, but accepts the cakes reluctantly. They represent unmet expectations and missed marks that continue throughout the book. A lemon cake is perfectly delightful until compared to an outlandish buffet.

This recipe for lemon cupcakes is also a sour and sweet delight–just bittersweet enough to enjoy while mourning the failure of Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship. The cupcakes are fluffy and delicious with just a hint of lemon and the glaze is sweet with a tang that makes you crave more.

These beauties were made using a cupcake pan, but you could easily use miniature bundt pans if desired. Just increase the cooking time a minute or two and test them with a toothpick for doneness. The cake mix will yield around 18 cupcakes and the glaze will cover somewhere around a dozen cupcakes. It just depends on how generous you are! If you use it all, just whip up some more!

If your book club is looking for food ideas for The Great Gatsby, look no further!

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes:

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Lemon Cakes

Lemon Cupcakes

  • Cupcake Pan


For the cakes:.

  • 1 Lemon Cake Mix
  • 1 Lemon Pudding Mix small box (4 ½ cups)
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 lemons optional garnish

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 7 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the lemon cake mix, lemon pudding mix, oil, milk and eggs together until smooth.
  • Thoroughly grease or spray a cupcake pan to prevent sticking unless you prefer to use liners.
  • Fill the cupcake cups ¾ of the way full with the cake mix.
  • For regular cupcakes, bake for 12-15 minutes, testing the cupcake with a toothpick until no batter is shown on the toothpick.
  • *For mini cupcakes, bake 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Turn out on a clean surface to prepare for glazing.
  • Mix the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and melted butter in a bowl. Whisk until the powdered sugar has dissolved and you have a smooth, glue-like consistency.
  • Pour generously over cooled cupcakes.
  • Will glaze about 1 dozen cupcakes. Adjust if more is needed.
  • If desired, top with fresh lemon slices for garnish and decoration.

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions:

*WARNING: May contain spoilers!

  • The book begins with a quote from Nick Carraway’s father. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” In what ways do you think this idea of privilege and understanding rings true in the story and in what ways does it ring false?
  • Why do you think that Tom insists on introducing Nick to Myrtle even though Nick is Daisy’s cousin? How do you think this action speaks to Tom’s character and foretells the ending?
  • At the first party Nick Carraway attends at Gatsby’s mansion, he notes that all of the couples are arguing by the end of the night. Later, he goes on to explain that people come to Gatsby’s without knowing or caring to know him, but eager to partake of his alcohol and hospitality. The book’s themes of greed and dissatisfaction continue throughout. Talk about the other examples of this within the book and how each of the main characters plays into the idea that the relentless pursuit of wealth without morals leads to destruction.
  •  Nick Carraway states that he has one fault—honesty. Do you believe him? In the end, Jordan accuses him of not being honest. Do you think his character stands?
  • Jay Gatsby changes his name and his lot in life to become a person he believes he has the right to be and a person he believes Daisy will love. He resorts to any measure to become this person, including crime. When he finally reaches out to her, he is asking her to love the version of himself that even he has abandoned. Discuss this. What or who exactly do you believe Daisy does love—the old Jay, the new Jay, Tom, money, herself?
  • Discuss the character of Jordan Baker who seems to symbolize youth, innocence, and recklessness. She is often described as “golden.” Nick relays a story where she was accused of cheating but the scandal dissolved. What part do you think she plays in the overall story arc and what does she bring to the table that the other characters don’t?
  • Who do you think is at fault in the story? Why? For example, do you believe Daisy would have toyed with the idea of running away with Gatsby (and in effect toyed with Gatsby’s heart) if Tom hadn’t been cheating? Do you think Gatsby should have followed Daisy to New York and lived across from her? Or can Daisy be blamed for turning against her heart and marrying Tom in the first place? Etc.
  • Why do you think Daisy stays with Tom in the end? Nick Carraway oversees them talking at the kitchen table after her “affair” with Gatsby is exposed and describes them sitting together this way: “There was an unmistakeable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together.” What do you think happened that night between Daisy and Tom?
  • After Nick Carraway struggles and fails at finding many people for Gatsby’s funeral, he describes the East as an El Greco painting of a drunken women on lying on a stretcher. “Gravely the men turn in at a house–the wrong house. But no one knows the woman’s name, no one cares.” He contrasts this with warm memories of close friends back west, just before he tells the reader he has decided to go back home. Do you think Nick Carraway will find what he’s looking for back home? Is he any less delusional than Gatsby at the idea of chasing the elusive past?
  • If this is the first time you’ve read The Great Gatsby, what were your thoughts? If this is a reread for you, what new insights did you gain?  

Have you read The Great Gatsby ? What did you think? What are some similar books you’ve read?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.

Other books about the 1920s you will love!

great gatsby discussion questions

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Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

Discussion Questions Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

• How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips) • Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction • Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Great Gatsby : 

1. This book is infused with symbolism, particularly the green light at which Jay Gatsby gazes so intently, and the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg on the billboard. What do these symbols suggest? (Symbolic meanings are fluid, not fixed; they often mean different things to different observers/readers. See LitCourse 9 on symbolism.)

2. Is Jay Gatsby great? In other words, is Fitzgerald's title sincere...or ironic?

3. Discuss the four main characters. Who, if any, do you find most sympathetic? Most important, in what way do the events of the novel affect Nick Carraway? How, or to what degree, does he change? (Some see this work as a coming-of-age story.)

4. What statement might Fitzgerald be making about the mores or ethos of American culture—particularly the American Dream?

5. Quite frankly, I have never liked this book...or any of Fitzgerald's novels. Why?

( Questions by LitLovers. Pleae feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks .) top of page (summary)

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THE GREAT GATSBY Discussion Questions by Chapter (PDF)

Contains 9 sets of engaging discussion questions for The Great Gatsby with 8 open-ended questions and 2 key excerpts for each chapter. Use the PDF as-is or customize to suit your needs.

Implementation suggestion: Assign each group one item from the top (1-4), one question from the bottom (5-8), and one key excerpt. After discussion time, come together as a class to share responses.

Resource Options:

  • Print the handouts PDF as shown.
  • Download the editable MSWord file (DOCX) and answer key .
  • Cut and paste chapter questions from the list below.
  • Check out the entire unit with all the materials .

The Great Gatsby Lesson plans cover

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 1:

  • At the very start of the novel, Nick Carraway explains a quality imparted by his father. What is the quality? Do you think that this trait is a blessing or a curse?
  • What does the narrator mean in saying, “…now I was going to … become again that most limited of all specialists, the ‘well-rounded man’”? (6)
  • Based on Nick’s description, what is your initial impression of Tom Buchanan?
  • Nick explains that “Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me.” (12) What does he mean? What does this comment indicate about Nick?
  • After the birth of her daughter, Daisy says, “And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (20) What does she mean by this?
  • How does Nick’s speech to others differ from his narration? (Note his response to Daisy when she asks if Chicago misses her.) What can we make of this difference?
  • Is Daisy’s marriage really on the rocks or is she being dramatic? Explain your view.
  • How does Fitzgerald create a sense of mystery and anticipation at the close of Chapter 1?


What makes the excerpt important or interesting? You might analyze imagery, theme, symbol, word choice, characterization, plot / conflict, or point of view.

From Chapter 1:

     … I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. … No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men. (2)

     The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor. (8)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 2:

  • What is “the valley of ashes?” (26) Describe the scene in plain language.
  • According to our narrator, Tom has always wanted Nick to like him. Why might someone like Tom Buchanan care if someone such as Nick Carraway liked him?
  • Myrtle Wilson’s appearance is unlike that of her “mildly handsome” yet “anemic” husband. How is Myrtle seemingly attractive while being unattractive?
  • Describe Myrtle’s personality and values. Use details from Chapter 2 in your response.
  • Tom and Myrtle admit to despising their respective spouses. Myrtle’s sister suggests that they run away and get married. What do you think is stopping them?
  • Based on his tone, what does Nick think of the guests visiting Tom and Myrtle’s apartment? (Refer to textual evidence.) What do you think of them?
  • Why do you think Tom Buchanan reacts so violently to Myrtle saying his wife’s name? What do you imagine is the nature of his objection?
  • To some experts, the end of Chapter 2 implies that Nick and Mr. McKee slept together . What do you think? Why does Fitzgerald make this section ambiguous (unclear)?

From Chapter 2:

     … This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud which screens their obscure operations from your sight. (23)

     … I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life. (35)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 3:

  • Which details stand out to you in the descriptions of Gatsby’s parties? What impression of the parties does Fitzgerald create generally?
  • Find two examples of figurative language in Chapter 3. (Metaphors, similes, and idioms are plentiful.) Interpret the meaning of each.
  • Why do you think “Owl Eyes” makes such a big deal over Jay Gatsby’s personal library? (Hint: David Belasco was a celebrated theatrical producer and set designer.)
  • Nick notes that Gatsby’s “elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd” and that Gatsby “was picking his words with care” in casual conversations. What does this imply?
  • Review the section describing the car crash at the end of Jay Gatsby’s epic party (54-55). Is this just meant to be humorous or is it more meaningful? Explain.
  • How does Fitzgerald make Gatsby seem both unremarkable and extraordinary?
  • What mood(s) does Fitzgerald establish in describing Nick’s life in New York City away from West Egg and Long Island?
  • What are your initial thoughts on Nick Carraway? Do you like him? Would you trust him?

From Chapter 3:

     … Laughter is easier, minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath—already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the center of a group and then excited with triumph glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light. (40-41)

     He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced … the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on YOU with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. (48)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 4:

  • What do you think draws such a wide variety of people to Gatsby’s house every weekend?
  • The narration informs us that some of Gatsby’s guests will come to bad ends. What details are provided? What is the intended effect of providing these details?
  • Why are the people in the novel so fascinated by the mystery surrounding Gatsby’s past? What does this say about human nature in general?
  • What clues indicate that Gatsby’s “God’s truth” about his life history may be fabricated? Why would Gatsby care if Nick Carraway believes his professed life’s story?
  • Identify the odd aspects of Wolfshiem’s behavior. What inferences might we form?
  • A linguist might interpret the name “Wolfshiem.” The German / Norwegian root “heim” (not an exact match) means home or world. What might be the meaning behind this?
  • Why does Fitzgerald include lyrics from the 1921 jazz hit “ Sheik of Araby ” in Chapter 4? What purpose might this inclusion serve?
  • Which part of Chapter 4 is a structural element known as flashback? Re-read the section. What are some of the effects of this particular flashback?

From Chapter 4:

     “After that I lived like a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe—Paris, Venice, Rome—collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little, things for myself only, and trying to forget something very sad that had happened to me long ago.”      With an effort I managed to restrain my incredulous laughter. The very phrases were worn so threadbare that they evoked no image except that of a turbaned “character” leaking sawdust at every pore as he pursued a tiger through the Bois de Boulogne. (66)

     We passed a barrier of dark trees, and then the facade of Fifty-ninth Street, a block of delicate pale light, beamed down into the park. Unlike Gatsby and Tom Buchanan I had no girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs and so I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms. Her wan, scornful mouth smiled and so I drew her up again, closer, this time to my face. (86)

Note: Fitzgerald said that he saw the publisher’s cover art ( Celestial Eyes by Francis Cugat ) before completing his final draft and had “written it into the book.” (Kriticos)

Great Gatsby Unit Plan FEATURED

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 5:

  • What is strange about Gatsby’s behavior at the start of Ch. 5? Why is he acting this way?
  • Describe Gatsby’s convoluted (overly complex) plan for reuniting with Daisy. What might be the reasons behind him taking this approach?
  • Gatsby has gone to a great deal of trouble to orchestrate his reunion with Daisy. Why is he so miserable and awkward when the moment finally arrives?
  • What does the narrator mean by saying, “Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry”? (88) Do you agree?
  • Throughout The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald gives great attention to Daisy’s unusual voice. What impression does he create? (See the very end of Chapter 5.)
  • What does Nick mean when he narrates, “I was going to ask to see the rubies when the phone rang and Gatsby took up the receiver”? (93)
  • Why does Daisy react so insanely to Gatsby’s shirts? What is going on here?
  • Fitzgerald creates vivid imagery , descriptions that enable the reader to imagine with their senses. Identify and explain two examples of imagery from the novel so far.

From Chapter 5:

     “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”      Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one. (92-93)

     … I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart. (96)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 6:

  • Describe Gatsby’s true origins. Did the reality match your expectations? Explain.
  • Do you find the arrangement between Jay Gatsby and James Cody believable as described by Nick? Why or why not?
  • Would James Gatz have become Jay Gatsby without the influence of Dan Cody? Explain.
  • “The lady” invites Gatsby to her dinner party; everyone is shocked when he takes her seriously. What is going on here? What is the unspoken message?
  • How does Daisy’s presence diminish Gatsby’s party for Nick? Have you ever experienced a change in perspective like this?
  • Why do Daisy and Tom find Gatsby’s party so distasteful?
  • Why does Gatsby insist on introducing Tom as “the polo player?” Why does Tom object to this epithet (descriptive phrase)? What does this friction reveal about the two men?
  • Nick and Gatsby disagree about recapturing the past. What is your view?

From Chapter 6:

     …The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s Business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end. (105)

     … Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.      His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete. (118-119)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 7:

  • Nick says that Gatsby’s “career as Trimalchio was over.” (120) Why does Gatsby end his partying lifestyle so completely and so suddenly?
  • Daisy’s daughter pops into Chapter 7 to say hello even though she plays no role in the plot. Why does Fitzgerald include the daughter at all?
  • In Chapter 7 as in Chapter 2, Fitzgerald gives inordinate attention to a random billboard for an optometrist (Dr. T.J. Eckleburg). What could possibly be the meaning of this emphasis?
  • Tom and Gatsby battle for Daisy’s love in the hotel parlor. Who wins? Explain your view.
  • Why does Gatsby continually call people “old sport?” Why does Tom make this an issue?
  • What details indicate that Gatsby’s personality has a darker side?
  • What clues in Chapter 7 hint that something terrible will happen? What is the overall effect of Fitzgerald’s foreshadowing in the novel?
  • Chapter 7 ends with Gatsby in the bushes and Tom and Daisy talking over cold chicken. Nick does not know what they are saying. What do you make of this ambiguous ending?

From Chapter 7:

     “She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of—”      I hesitated.      “Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.      That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it…. High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl…. (128)

     A moment later she rushed out into the dusk, waving her hands and shouting; before he could move from his door the business was over.      The ‘death car’ as the newspapers called it, didn’t stop; it came out of the gathering darkness, wavered tragically for a moment and then disappeared around the next bend. Michaelis wasn’t even sure of its color—he told the first policeman that it was light green. The other car, the one going toward New York, came to rest a hundred yards beyond, and its driver hurried back to where Myrtle Wilson, her life violently extinguished, knelt in the road and mingled her thick, dark blood with the dust. (146-147)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 8:

  • In Chapter 8 Gatsby reveals the truth he has worked for years to conceal. Why does Gatsby suddenly decide to tell Nick Carraway the truth about his past?
  • Nick explains that Gatsby “might have despised himself” for dating Daisy. What does he mean? What was despicable about Gatsby’s behavior?
  • Why does Gatsby refuse to accept that Daisy ever loved Tom Buchanan?
  • Of Gatsby Nick says, “…I disapproved of him from beginning to end.” Yet, he is glad he told Gatsby, “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” (164) What can we make of this?
  • Why does Mr. Wilson conclude that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle was her lover?
  • Toward the end of Chapter 8, there is some mystery about how Wilson came to find Gatsby. What do you think happened in those missing hours?
  • Chapter 8 includes some great figurative language. Find and explain three examples.
  • What foreshadowing does Fitzgerald include to suggest that tragedy is imminent?

From Chapter 8:

     “I spoke to her,” he muttered, after a long silence. “I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window—” With an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it, “—and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you can’t fool God!’”      Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night.      “God sees everything,” repeated Wilson. (170)

     There was a faint, barely perceptible movement of the water as the fresh flow from one end urged its way toward the drain at the other. With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden. The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of compass, a thin red circle in the water. (173)

The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions Chapter 9:

  • Do you think Daisy knew of Gatsby’s death before she left town with Tom? Explain.
  • Nick does not really care about Daisy, Tom, or Jordan. Why does he care about Gatsby?
  • Why doesn’t anyone want to come to Gatsby’s funeral? Why is Nick so concerned that people show up for the ceremony?
  • Why does Nick suddenly lose interest in Jordan Baker? What changed?
  • Nick chooses not to tell Tom the truth about the driver of the car that killed Myrtle. Why?
  • Why do you think people who have “old money” are sometimes prejudiced against those with “new money?” Afterall, wealth is something that they have in common.
  • In The Great Gatsby , color is more than color (especially green, white, gray, and yellow). How does Fitzgerald use color in the novel?
  • Many consider The Great Gatsby “ the great American novel .” What do you think inspires some to hold this high opinion of Fitzgerald’s work?

From Chapter 9:

     “You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn’t I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.”      “I’m thirty,’ I said. ‘I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.” (189-190)

     And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.      Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning——      So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. (193)

Thanks for checking out The Great Gatsby Discussion Questions by Chapter.

Whether you will be guiding a Socratic seminar or hosting a book club , I hope this list has suggested some discussion topics that you can use.  

These open-ended questions have been organized with collaborative groups in mind. TeachNovels suggests assigning each student group one prompt from each of the three levels. Each group responds to two questions and one quote (3 responses total). You might allow students to pick their own discussion topics. Close the activity by having the collaborative groups share their responses with the class so that all topics have been explored.

This resource comes from The Great Gatsby Unit: Lessons, Materials, and Assessments .

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  • Peter Bart: Remembering Truman Capote’s Boozy Swan Dive And His Not-So-Great ‘Gatsby’

By Peter Bart


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Truman Capote

Once the hottest writer in town, Truman Capote also was a master at self destruction.

Cut to The Bistro, Beverly Hills circa 1973. Cradling his cocktail, Capote was at once amiable and petulant. I was sitting across from him at the elegant café to discuss his new screenplay, but the discussion soon became an argument.

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The strangers smiled. “Order another martini,” said one. “Better make it a double.”

A superstar writer and raconteur, the late Capote needed more than a drink at this point in his life, and our meeting was not helping him. I thought of him this week as his “character” took his star turn in the new eight-part series Feud: Capote vs The Swans , where he is cast as the victim of his own fabled storytelling.

If he were alive to see the show, lavishly produced by Ryan Murphy, I think he’d probably relish both the comedy and the contradiction. That’s the way he reacted decades earlier when he and I had our stressful encounter.

In his heyday, Capote occupied a uniquely broad presence in film, TV and pop culture. His bestseller, In Cold Blood , had a transformative influence on the genre of crime writing. Breakfast at Tiffany’s , his novella, formed the basis for what became filmgoers’ favorite date movie.

His profile on CBS This Morning last weekend reminded us of his powerful influence on New York’s social scene. His star-packed Black and White Ball in 1966 re-defined the concept of the celebrity event, jamming New York socialites with Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and his bride, Mia Farrow, in a dizzying mega mix. Capote had even become a semi-regular on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show .

But Capote’s lasting impact was as a writer – a craft that would ultimately destroy him. Unexpectedly, I was to play a minor role in his demise.

In the Swans TV series, Capote, hard-drinking and always tuxedo-clad, makes the rounds of glitzy parties, spinning gossipy stories to a worshipful band of wealthy women.

great gatsby discussion questions

In fact, Capote the working writer was direct and business-like, a wandering fact-gatherer. He could drop into Holcomb, Kansas, and comfortably gain trust among suspects and eyewitnesses.

This was the Capote I encountered when he was engaged to write the screenplay of The Great Gatsby – a challenge and a payday that he coveted.

To Capote, a film based on the great F. Scott Fitzgerald novel (the third try) would have to be glamorous and suspenseful, its charming protagonist a study in danger.

But there were problems. At the helm of the project was the mercurial David Merrick, a prolific Broadway producer who had limited film experience but strong opinions. Once, when a Merrick play was panned, he famously consulted a phone book for New Yorkers with the same names as the city’s top critics and got the civilians to write glowing blurbs for a full-page ad.

A director had not as yet been selected for Gatsby , nor a leading man, but Robert Evans, Paramount’s chief of production, had been talking with Robert Redford about playing Jay Gatsby. Merrick felt Redford was a decade too young for the role, his “dark past” lacking credibility. Redford tended to agree, so Evans next courted Warren Beatty for the lead. Beatty declined, insisting that Evans himself was the right casting for the role. Tempted, Evans decided to keep his day job.

Merrick and Evans also had conflicting ideas on directors but agreed on questions of style. Set in the roarin’ 1920s, Gatsby’s world was on a spending spree. Truman Capote understood that era, indeed still lived in it.

I was a lone dissenter on his hiring. Friends in the publishing business had warned me that Capote seemed committed to drinking, not writing.

Even as Paramount was negotiating an extravagant writing deal for Capote, I was talking with Francis Coppola who, though in postproduction on The Godfather , was responsive to my prodding for a Gatsby screenplay. To Coppola, Marlon Brando seemed perfect casting to play an older Gatsby, in contrast to the boyish Redford.

Meanwhile, the concept of a Capote Gatsby would run aground at The Bistro in Beverly Hills. Overcoming his “block,” Capote had turned in his script but, upon careful examination, it was not a script at all. It was a typed version, word for word, of several chapters of the Fitzgerald novel, carefully re-formatted for dialogue and staging.

When I confronted Capote, he gave me a benign smile. “How could I try to improve on Fitzgerald?’ he asked innocently. “He’s the best so why would I rewrite him?”

“Then you acknowledge having simply retyped a few chapters?” I said.

“And you will, of course, still pay me for my work.”

great gatsby discussion questions

“Of course,” I said. “After all, you are a brilliant typist. One who deserves another drink.” I signaled the waiter.

The martini felt even better than the first round and, upon leaving, Capote gave me a big hug. I put through payments of $150,000 for Capote’s typing job and $350,000 for Coppola to finish his script.

Upon receiving the news, Redford decided he’d like to play Gatsby after all. Gatsby was a disappointment at the box office.

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