The Great Gatsby is renowned as a classic work of American literature. Set in 1922 in the early days of the Jazz Age, full of decadence and glamour, it follows the story of Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate who moves to the town of West Egg, Long Island, to start a new job as a bond salesman. It is through Nick’s eyes as the narrator that we learn about the lives of his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and his mysterious new neighbour: Jay Gatsby, a multimillionaire and inhabitant of the lavish mansion next door. Nick develops a friendship with the mysterious Jay Gatsby and learns that he and Daisy share a past. While Gatsby’s life isn’t all it seems, Daisy is confronting issues in her own life; the two rekindle a relationship, but will their love last?
This complicated tale of unrequited love is perfect for readers of romance: the glitzy and lustred atmosphere is brought to captivating life by Fitzgerald’s writing. The outrageous parties, mysterious lifestyles and subtle revelations make it a book that is hard to put down. The skill of the book lies in Fitzgerald’s ability to create detailed, well-rounded characters with the likeable and unaware Nick Carraway at the centre. A novel that is at times witty, smart and will leave a lasting impression both for its emotional highs and lows. The short length of the novel, just under 200 pages, makes it a suitable choice for any reader and doesn’t rely on any prior knowledge of the time period to fully comprehend.
Do you believe that Daisy truly loved Jay Gatsby? And what was her reason for staying with Tom?
Why do you think Fitzgerald decided to write the story from the perspective of Nick as oppose to Jay or Daisy?
There is a big emphasis of wealth and extravagance in the novel. Why do you think Fitzgerald chose to do this?
What do you believe the significance of the green light to be in the novel?
The novel is set in 1922, what does it connote about America during this time?
The Great Gatsby is a relatively short novel, do you think this format was a conscious choice by Fitzgerald?
Why do you think Fitzgerald ended the novel in this way? What do you think he was trying to show about Gatsby and the man other characters thought him to be?
Do you think the plot of the novel would be transposable to a modern day setting or do you think that the original context plays too much of an integral part? If you think that the original context is essential then which aspects in particular?
Discuss how you think Daisy’s life may have carried on after the end of the novel and how she would feel if she heard of Gatsby’s fate?
The character of Tom isn’t portrayed in a favourable way in the novel. Do you think that this is a tool used by Fitzgerald so that the reader is supportive of a relationship between Jay and Daisy, especially as extramarital affairs and divorce would have been frowned upon during this time?
Discuss the family dynamic between Daisy, Tom and their child. Do you think Daisy likes motherhood? The-Great-Gatsby-Discussion-Questions.pdf
After Jay and Daisy start to spend time together, her husband Tom, who is carrying on his affair with the local mechanic’s wife, finds out and confronts them, attempting to win Daisy back. The confrontation leaves Daisy confused and she rushes off with Gatsby. An accident ensues when Tom’s mistress mistakenly believes Tom to be the driver of Gatsby’s car and steps out to grab his attention. Daisy, who is driving, causes a hit-and-run, leaving the mistress with fatal injuries. Witnesses recognise Gatsby’s car and believe Gatsby to be the driver. Daisy returns home to Tom with Gatsby telling her to remain quiet and they will run away together. While waiting for Daisy, who instead moves away with Tom, Gatsby is confronted by the local mechanic who has found out that Gatsby’s car was the one that caused the incident. Believing him to be the culprit, he fatally shoots Gatsby and then himself. The secrets behind Gatsby’s life, how he made his money in shady businesses and that his background wasn’t as rumoured, are revealed to the press and only Nick, his father and one of the many that frequented his extravagant parties, attends his funeral.
Although the novel is arguably one of the greatest American novels it wasn’t considered a success during Fitzgerald’s lifetime.
The poet that features in the opening of the novel is a fictious character who appeared in Fitzgerald’s debut novel This Side of Paradise.
The Great Gatsby was Fitzgerald’s third novel.
It has now sold over 25 million copies.
F. Scott Fitzgerald loved the original cover design by Francis Cugat which was used for the first edition. The Smithsonian published an article on the iconic cover’s history which can be found here.
The Great Gatsby is a short text. For more quick reads like this one, visit our Read in a Day category.