The 20s and Gatsby

Next week I’ll be using the following in preparation for The Great Gatsby in my College in the H.S. course:

  • The Cotton Club clip
  • Eight Men Out clip
  • Izzy and Moe clip
  • The History of Jazz clip
  • “I’m a Fool” by Sherwood Anderson
  • “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway

I’m really looking forward to this unit since I’m putting a concentrated effort into this class being my central focus for the next few weeks. Everything else is pretty well mapped out for my other classes.

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11 thoughts on “The 20s and Gatsby

  1. jtspencer

    I love the twenties. We only get three weeks to cover this time, but I love it. Fitzgerald, in my opinion, was the one who really started existentialism. We often give guys like Satre and Kafka so much credit and everyone gushes over Hemingway. Yet, I feel like F. Scott Fitzgerald is almost ignored in the process.

    I have the students read “This Side of Paradise” as we analyze modern art, see the earliest movies, hear jazz music, etc. We find so many connections to our times. In many ways the earliest part of modernism was more post-modern than post-modernism.

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  2. Anpn Y. Mous

    I’ve also heard a few modern historians discuss the vast similarities between the 1920s the late 1990s and early 2000s. Let’s just hope the 30s don’t repeat.

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  3. Nuss

    Gatsby was my favorite unit to teach when I used to teach American Studies. I taught it to sophomores, which was a bit of a stretch in terms of reading ability, but after some good “scaffolding,” they really got into the soap opera aspect of the story and picked up on a lot of the other more complex theme elements. Kids always came into my class saying, “My friend read it and said it was the most boring book EVER!” and left saying that it either wasn’t so bad, or that they really enjoyed it. It’s all about how you teach it, I think.

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  4. megevil

    I put together a soundtrack a few years ago that I use with Gatsby – it has “Ain’t We Got Fun,” “We’re in the Money,” and other songs from the twenties that I then ask my students to connect to present-day song lyric content.

    Good movie clip to show: from Fever Pitch, the scene where Drew Barrymore throws “A Very Gatsby Birthday Party.”

    To get students interested in the color symbolism throughout the novel, I ask each of them what make/model/color car they drive (or want, or would have chosen if they had had any say in it) and then read to them from a list of what car/color choices supposedly indicate about the driver.

    Last but not least, I offer extra credit to anyone willing to learn how to Charleston and perform in front of the class.

    I hope you’re having fun… Gatsby is one of my favorites to teach.

    Oh. If you use iTunes or visit NPR’s website, I highly recommend downloading the PRI 360: American Icons podcast from 11/9/07… it’s about the impact the novel has had on our culture.

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