Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
"Who is this Gatsby anyhow?" Answering that question, voiced by one of the book's characters, is fundamental to teaching F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Although there is no simple answer, classroom analysis of this classic American novel can lead to a rich exploration of the colorful yet contradictory period Fitzgerald dubbed the Jazz Age. The novel also prompts considerations of novelistic technique, specifically point of view, characterization, and narrative structure.
This volume aims to give instructors of The Great Gatsbymultiple tools and strategies for teaching the novel and for introducing students to the culture of the 1920s. Part 1, "Materials," reviews the novel's composition history and the scholarly resources related to the novel. In part 2, "Approaches," contributors demonstrate a range of frameworks that usefully inform teaching, from the new historicism to feminist and gender studies to narrative theory. They also examine the novel's complex artistry, variety of motifs and symbol patterns, and cultural and social influences, such as the era's changing racial attitudes, the rise of a new suburban culture, and the dichotomy of East versus West in America.
About the Authors
Jackson R. Bryer is professor emeritus of English at the University of Maryland. He is cofounder and president of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society and coeditor of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review. Among the books on Fitzgerald he has written, edited, or coedited are F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Twenty-First Century; Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald; New Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald's Neglected Stories; The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Approaches in Criticism; The Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Bibliographical Study, Supplement One through 1981; and The Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Bibliographical Study.
Nancy P. VanArsdale is professor of English at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Her essay on Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise appeared in F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives. Her research interests include Edith Wharton, George Bernard Shaw, and professional communication. She served on the Curriculum Advisory Board of the Time Magazine Education Program, which helped develop print and Web-based resources for teachers of college composition.
"Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby offers instructors a resource they did not have before—a comprehensive guidebook with materials and approaches for more scholarly instruction." —F. Scott Fitzgerald Review
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