The Great Gatsby

Lesson 5


Analyze Fitzgerald’s characterization of Gatsby and his development of theme in chapters 5 and 6.

Readings and Materials

Target Task


Writing Prompt

Choose one of the following themes—social class or memory and the past—and explain how Fitzgerald develops this theme in chapters 5 and 6. Use evidence to support your answer.

Key Questions


  • Where do we see “an extraordinary gift for hope” reflected in Gatsby’s past?

  • What does the green light symbolize? Explain.

  • How does the article you read help to deepen our understanding of this symbol and its relationships to the themes of the novel?

  • Track the diction used to describe the meeting of Gatsby and Daisy. What does it suggest about their characters? Their relationship?

  • On pp. 99–101, how does Fitzgerald describe Dan Cody? How do Fitzgerald’s descriptions reflect the “romanticizing” of the American West?

  • How can we connect Gatsby as dreamer to this idea of the romance of the American West?  

  • What is ironic about Gatsby’s adventure in the West?

  • Why does Fitzgerald use ellipses on p. 110?

  • Keeping in mind Fitzgerald’s decision to depict Gatsby as an extraordinarily hopeful character, go back to chapter 5. How do you see this characteristic play out in The Great Gatsby during the meeting with Daisy at Nick’s house?



  • The students may need some background on the ways in which the “Romance of the West” was depicted in the 1920s. Upon analyzing the passages on pp. 99–100, students should be able to identify such lines as “product of the Nevada silver fields, of the Yukon, of every metal rush since seventy-five” (p. 99) as examples of how people romanticized western life. Gatsby is very much a “dreamer.” He reflects this idea that Americans can push West to find adventure and reinvent themselves.
  • Students should read the article either as a Do Now or in addition to the chapters for homework.