http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_g-0u1wfNc Born in the late 18 th century (1896), did not come from an affluent family. Has trouble making friends, writes plays and casts his peers in the parts. Attends Princeton, meets Ginevra King, a wealthy socialite… her father tells Fitzgerald, “poor boys shouldn’t think of marrying rich girls.” This later becomes a famous line in Great Gatsby. Ginevra ends up marrying some other rich guy, but she is a muse for many of Fitzgerald’s characters. Fitzgerald get’s carried away with partying in college, develops the early stages of a drinking problem. Between writing and drinking, he neglected his grades and drops out of Princeton before graduating.
WWI When the U.S. enters WWI, Fitzgerald is happy to enlist and try again for notoriety as a lieutenant in the war. Stationed in Montgomery, Alabama, Fitzgerald meets and falls in love with Zelda.
Marriage & Baby Zelda was having second thoughts… $35/week was not nearly enough money to fund her excessive lifestyle. She broke off the engagement. Fitzgerald moves back home with his parents and writes This Side of Paradise Success! Zelda changes her mind again, the two wed. They become a celebrity couple. They have a daughter, but nannies are common and the child doesn’t slow the couple down.
Mental Illness The couple’s partying leads to a serious drinking problem for both Fitzgerald and Zelda. At only 28, Zelda’s mental state begins to deteriorate. She becomes a danger to herself and others and is diagnosed Schizophrenic. Fitzgerald still loves Zelda, and writes, “My love for Zelda was one in a century, life ended for me when Zelda and I crashed, if she would get well I would be happy again and my soul released.”
Death & Legacy At 44 Fitzgerald was not in good health, and he suffered a mild heart attack. He works ferociously to finish his novel The Last Tycoon, but in December he suffers a massive and fatal heart attack. Few people attend his funeral, including Zelda who was too ill too travel. She spends the next 8 years in and out of mental hospitals… in 1948 a fire breaks out at her hospital and she along with 8 other patients are trapped. She was buried beside Fitzgerald in Maryland.
Why do we care? The character Jay Gatsby was ranked No. 1 Best Fictional Character since 1900 by Book Magazine. Why? Fitzgerald has become the most famous chronicler of 1920’s America. Great Gatsby captures the spirit of the times, including the rising crime that elicited from prohibition, and the sprawling private parties that characterized the excessive lifestyle of the 1920’s. Nearly 100 years from it’s publication in 1925, the novel remains relevant today.
The NY Times says, “Gatsby is a man for our times” and also that “When the rich-poor gap widens, Gatsby becomes a guidebook.” Why? What does a fictional character written in the 1920’s… almost 100 years ago… have in common with us now? In the last several years, America has confronted the rising disparity between the rich and the poor. This will be a question we return to throughout our reading, but for starters lets take a look at another NY Times article.
Prompt Think about your own “green light.” What goals/dreams do you aspire to? What obstacles stand in your way? How can you overcome those odds? Would you stop at anything to achieve your dreams? Write at least half a page to me addressing these questions. If you have large handwriting, I expect a full page. This is informal but I do expect a full heading: Your Name Date Class Period: 4/8 When you have finished writing, please turn the paper into me, and then begin reading chapter one of The Great Gatsby.
Schedule & Homework We will finish reading The Great Gatsby before the end of this 6 weeks. You can count on there being for a major test grade, at least 1 test, as well as a final project to be discussed later. This means that you need to keep up with your reading!! The good news is that there are only 9 chapters in this novel! Please READ Ch 1 before next class and count on reading a new chapter before all of our classes. That means only about 10 pages a night. No excuses. While you are reading chapter 1, consider: Is Nick a reliable narrator? Why or why not? Write your thoughts down in a journal you will keep up with throughout your semester with me. I will do random checks to see who is doing their homework. Cite page #’s that prove your opinion of Nick. (1-2 paragraphs is an acceptable length for your answer.) In addition to your journal, I have passed out a reading guide with questions for each chapter. It is your responsibility to keep up with this guide as you read each night. Each answer need only be a couple full sentences. I will also do random checks to ensure your success in my class.
Movie Trailers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-uvPeKVOVw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rARN6agiW7o
Day 2 “Think about a time in your life when you formed an initial impression of someone that turned out to be inaccurate. What did you learn from that experience?” Your answer need only be about 2 paragraphs long. If you have big handwriting I expect a full page. Your responses will be collected and taken for a daily completion grade.
Epigraph “Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry ‘Love, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!’ - Thomas Park D’Invilliers
Who are we introduced to? Tom Buchanan “I always had the impression that he approved of me and wanted me to like him with some harsh, defiant wistfulness of his own” (13). Daisy Jordan Baker Jay Gatsby “a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person” (8). Idealism
Chapter 1 : Introduces our Narrator, Nick Who is Nick? Is he a reliable narrator, why or why not? ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’ “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores.” PG 10: “As I walked on I was lonely no longer… I was a guide.”
Homework Your homework over the break will be to READ chapter two. ANSWER chapter two’s reading guide questions in at least 1 full sentence; be sure to CITE (pg #) where you find your answer. DON’T WORRY about question #5, we will come back to it later. KEEP IN MIND the “houses” worksheet will be due several weeks from now, which gives more than enough time to finish it. It is worth at least 2 daily grades. HAVE FUN & BE SAFE.