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Teaching The Great Gatsby

Found In: language arts & literature, social studies, 9-12

The Great Gatsby dust jacket illustration by Francis Cugat

The Great Gatsby (1925) dust jacket illustration by Francis Cugat

The 2013 film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby positioned the novel itself to become of the best-selling books of that year. We offer a variety of resources to help you teach the book and help students understand its historical context and literary impact.

Reading Guides

The Big Read’s The Great Gatsby: Reader’s Guide has collected biographical information, historical context, and discussions questions. A teacher’s guide has lesson plans and other resources, and an audio guide features a half-hour critical assessment of the novel with Sam Waterston, Robert Redford, Dana Gioia, Gish Gen and others.

Two additional resources for students and teachers of the novel are An Index to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald that provides annotations and links and a Concordance that allows searching by phrase.

Historical Context

For additional historical and social context, The Roaring Twenties is a collection of essays, primary sources, teaching resources, and multimedia.  NOTE: Teachers must register.

The Jazz Age

John Held Jr. and the Jazz Age is a representative collection of images from an artist whose magazine covers and cartoons captured and satirized the Flapper Era. The Stripper’s Guide (which examines the history of the American newspaper comic strip) features examples of Held’s cartoons, including Oh Margy and Merely Margy, a single panel cartoon and an extended strip.


Mapping The 1920s New York City Of The Great Gatsby

Literary Impact

American Icons: The Great Gatsby is an audio program (54:25) that explores the power of Fitzgerald’s compact novel with Jonathan Franzen, Patricia Hampl, Andrew Lauren, Azar Nafisi, and Scott Shepherd. This program can be downloaded.

Patricia Hampl's 'The Big Time: F. Scott Fitzgerald.' is an audio literary and musical program (54:06) presenting Fitzgerald's version of making it big.



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