The Great Gatsby

Lesson 3

Objective

Identify details from chapter 3 that can support assertions about Gatsby’s character.

Analyze how Fitzgerald develops the symbolic meaning of cars in the novel.

Readings and Materials

Target Task

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Writing Prompt

Explain Fitzgerald’s use of contradictions to develop Gatsby’s character thus far. Be sure to include both how and why he does so.

Articulate the relevance and meaning behind the cars that appear in chapter 3. Use evidence to support your argument.

Key Questions

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  • Track Fitzgerald’s use of cars as symbols. What is he communicating through his use of cars throughout chapter 3?

  • Nick begins by saying that Gatsby possessed “an extraordinary gift for hope.” (p. 2) Where do you see evidence of this “gift for hope” in the descriptions of Gatsby in chapter 3? 

  • Who does Gatsby call, “old sport?” (pp. 47 and 48)

  • Is Nick’s positive characterization of Gatsby as one in a million accurate? What are the many possible negative interpretations of Gatsby based on what you read in the text?

Notes

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  • Small-group or whole-class discussions about Nick’s claim about Gatsby (“extraordinary gift for hope”) would be a good use of at least part of today’s class. Students should be required to both support and refute this claim using evidence from throughout the first three chapters.
  • In order to identify the significance of the symbolism of the cars, students may need background information on the frenetic pace of both the 1920s and the Jazz Age. A resource such as this blog, "The Cars of "The Great Gatsby"" might be helpful to the teacher in developing a handout or lecture.