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The Great Gatsby Journal Topics

Instructor: Clio Stearns
Writing in journals can be a wonderful way for students to reflect on literature as they read. This lesson offers journal topics oriented toward helping your students make sense of ''The Great Gatsby.''

Using Journals to Teach Literature

Are your students reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby? If so, you are probably interested in helping them find ways to process their understanding of the novel and its major themes. One thing you can do is have students periodically complete journal entries related to the text. When students write in journals about literature, they can focus more on their thought process and reflection than on a particular product or outcome. This means they can experiment with different ideas and perspectives, ultimately moving in closer to the literature as a result. The journal topics in this lesson will help students get as much as possible out of their reading of The Great Gatsby.

Journal Topics About Characters

One area students can respond to through journal writing when reading literature is character analysis.

  • Describe Nick Carraway in three to five words. Then write a journal entry explaining why you chose those three words and why you think they especially characterize him. You can also explain whether or not it was difficult to choose only three words, and what you think this says about Nick as a character.
  • What do you think about Daisy as an example of womanhood or femininity? Describe her character, focusing specifically on what you think she represents about gender and gender relationships.
  • Compare and contrast Nick and Gatsby. What do they have in common with each other? How are they different? How can you support how they are alike and different with story details? Which of them do you find more appealing and interesting, and why?
  • Of all the characters in The Great Gatsby which feels the most similar to you, and why? What can you learn about yourself from your connections to this character? What do you learn about the character from comparing him or her to yourself?
  • Which character in The Great Gatsby do you find the least appealing, and why? Describe this character and explain what you do not like about him or her. Think about why Fitzgerald might have created an unappealing character.
  • If you were going to direct a contemporary film version of The Great Gatsby, who would you cast in each of the major roles, and why? Comment on what your directorial choices show you about the characters overall.

Journal Topics About Plot

When reading a novel it is important for students to gain a strong understanding of the plot of the story.

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