Study Help Practice Projects


1. Design an electronic study guide on the Internet for The Great Gatsby. Include useful background information on Fitzgerald and the book itself, as well as discussions of key themes found in The Great Gatsby. Link to other Fitzgerald resources, as well as sites that provide key historical background on things such as the Jazz Age, the Lost Generation, Prohibition, and so on.

2. Take on the persona of one of the characters and write a short essay introducing yourself to others. What are you like? What motivates you? What are your goals? Use ample textual details in creating your answer.

3. Write a short play of one of the scenes in The Great Gatsby (perhaps Tom and Myrtle at the apartment or Daisy and Gatsby at Nick's for tea). Using dialogue, work on capturing the essence of the characters, as well as the scene's significance.

4. Are there modern parallels for Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, and the rest? Is our society like or unlike the Jazz Age society depicted in Fitzgerald's novel?

5. Explore the critical reception of Fitzgerald's work. Initially The Great Gatsby was far less successful than his first novel, This Side of Paradise. Why? When did The Great Gatsby begin to win fame and take its place among great twentieth century American works?

6. How does The Great Gatsby compare with other Fitzgerald novels, for example, in comparison to This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, or The Last Tycoon?

7. In what ways is The Great Gatsby an autobiographical novel? Where can you find evidence of Fitzgerald in the work? Should these self-reflective references matter or should the work be judged solely as a work of fiction? What are the benefits and drawbacks of imposing biographical criticism on this work?

8. Using microfilm, microfiche, and the Internet (as well as books and traditional print media), research some of the historical happenings of the 1920s. Go back and reconstruct what life was like during Fitzgerald's time. Examine newspapers from the @'20s (microfilm is likely to be your best bet) and make a list of what made news. Based on your findings, how accurate was Fitzgerald in capturing the frenzy of life in the 1920s? Were his reflections about all groups of people — the rich, the middle class, and the poor — accurate or far-fetched?

9. Create a visual representation of the story (a painting, a sculpture, a photo, a film, a dance). What colors, textures, and symbols will help you capture the essence of this story?

10. The opera version of The Great Gatsby premiered in 1999. Using the resources available to you, trace the opera's reception. What can you find out about the opera? How well received was it? Is The Great Gatsby a good candidate for a contemporary opera? Why or why not?

11. Join one of the many listservs or Internet discussion forums dedicated to Fitzgerald. Expand your understanding of the text while helping others to see your point of view.

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