Looking for multiple voices and perspectives to add to your thematic unit on The Great Gatsby?
While Fitzgerald’s views are nuanced and complex, it is essential that students explore other viewpoints—specifically those of people of color, women, and other marginalized groups. And so it’s crucial to supplement with poetry, film, and non-fiction when you teach Gatsby. The supplementary texts included here explore multiple themes and viewpoints. They are texts that will engage your students and push them to reconsider their beliefs and assumptions. When taught in conjunction with The Great Gatsby, these texts make for powerful and memorable lessons.
When you teach The Great Gatsby with these supplementary texts, you will:
• have specific texts to introduce the important themes of the novel
• engage your classes with nuanced perspectives on complicated questions
• get your students discussing ideas that matter
• incorporate multiple viewpoints and voices in your Gatsby unit
• offer counterpoint to discuss Fitzgerald’s treatment of the important themes
• explore different genres with your class
• have ready-to-go rigorous and engaging lesson plans for subs or days when you need a break from the novel
• improve your students’ writing fluency with engaging freewrite prompts and essay prompts
• achieve your goals of fulfilling common core requirements and still have lots of fun with your classes!
In all, there is enough here for two full weeks of engaging and thought-provoking lessons.
—Why do we lie to ourselves and others?
—Can first-hand accounts of events ever be trusted?
—What is the American Dream and is it universally attainable?
—What role does deception play in romantic relationships?
—Why is it important to have dreams, and what happens when we achieve our dreams?
—How do different artistic mediums or genres represent the same themes or subjects?
—How can we formulate our own ideas and opinions by engaging in those of others?
Poems About Deception, Love, And The Stories We Tell
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, a classic poem about the lies we tell ourselves and others
“Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood, a poem about seduction, lies, and the roles we play
“[When My Love Swears That She is Made of Truth]” or Sonnet 138 by William Shakespeare, a poem about love and lies
“The Victims” by Sharon Olds, a poem about family, divorce, and the stories we tell about our pasts
Texts About The American Dream
“If and When Dreams Come True,” and “Richard Cory,” two poems about the upper class and dreams.
“Harlem, or A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, “Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem” by Helene Johnson, and “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, three poems from the Harlem Renaissance that deal with the convergence of dreams and race.
“Let America Be America Again,” Langston Hughes’ poem about a nation that he both loves and mistrusts.
“The Runner,” a fascinating non-fiction article that appeared in The New Yorker about a man who lied to get into Princeton.
“Hoop Dreams,” a documentary about two boys growing up in the inner-city. Roger Ebert called it “the great American documentary.”
“Hoop Dreams: Serious Game,” a beautifully written essay on the film by John Edgar Wideman.
Some of the texts are not included in the resource because of copyright.
Your students will love this unit because they will be engaged by the powerful poems, the fascinating contemporary non-fiction, and one of the greatest documentaries ever made. You will love this unit because it will enable your students to dig deep on important essential questions and to add complexity to their understanding of those issues.