Discussion Questions

Reader's Guide - Discussion Questions
  • The novel's action occurs in 1922 between June and September. How does Nick's non-chronological narration shape your response to the events surrounding the mystery of Jay Gatsby?
  • Nick believes he is an honest, non-judgmental narrator. Do you agree?
  • Gatsby believes that the past can be repeated. Is he right?
  • Why does Daisy sob into the "thick folds" of Gatsby's beautiful shirts?
  • What do the faded eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg symbolize? Is there a connection between this billboard and the green light at the end of Daisy's dock?
  • Perhaps the novel's climax occurs when Gatsby confronts Tom in New York. Did Daisy's ultimate choice surprise you? Is it consistent with her character?
  • Do you agree with Nick's final assertion that Gatsby is "worth the whole damn bunch put together"? Why or why not?
  • How does Fitzgerald foreshadow the tragedies at the end?
  • Does the novel critique or uphold the values of the Jazz Age and the fears of the Lost Generation?
  • Fitzgerald wrote, "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." What did he have to say in Gatsby?
  • Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli claims: "The Great Gatsby does not proclaim the nobility of the human spirit; it is not politically correct; it does not reveal how to solve the problems of life; it delivers no fashionable or comforting messages. It is just a masterpiece." Do you agree?
Source: NEA Big Read Reader's Guide

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