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Writing Prompts for THE GREAT GATSBY

    Here are 40 writing prompts for The Great Gatsby. The list includes prompts for quick writing activities (by chapter) as well as extended The Great Gatsby writing assignments.

    Before Reading

    1. We will be investing considerable time reading a famous novel that many consider “literature.” What makes a book “literature?” What gives a text “superior or lasting value?”
    2. What is the point of reading fiction? Be honest. If you see no point, explain your views.
    3. Many consider The Great Gatsby a timeless masterpiece of American literature. What would be your criteria or requirements for “The Great American Novel?”
    4. Fitzgerald’s works critique American society in the 1920s. Think about our society today. What are the shortcomings of our society today? What are the strengths and successes of our society?
    5. When it comes to romance, do you believe in the idea of finding a soulmate or perfect match? Explain your view.
    6. Fortune favors some with wealth and privilege. This position may be earned or unearned.  What responsibility, if any, do the more fortunate have to the greater society? Explain your view.

    Chapter 1

    1. At the very start of the novel, Nick Carraway explains a quality imparted by his father. What is the quality? Do you think that this trait is a blessing or a curse?
    2. After the birth of her daughter, Daisy says, “And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (20) What does she mean? What does this indicate about her worldview?
    3. Upon meeting Jordan Baker, Nick explains that “Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me.” (12) What are your thoughts on Nick’s reaction?

    Chapter 2

    1. What is “the valley of ashes?” (26) Describe the scene in plain language.
    2. Why do you think Tom Buchanan reacts so violently to Myrtle saying his wife’s name? What do you imagine is the nature of his objection?
    3. According to our narrator, Tom has always wanted Nick to like him. Why might someone like Tom Buchanan care if someone such as Nick Carraway liked him?

    Chapter 3

    1. Which details stand out to you in the descriptions of Gatsby’s parties? What impression of the parties does Fitzgerald create?
    2. Literary luminaries laude Fitzgerald’s style. Describe it. What are the key features in how he uses language?
    3. What are your initial thoughts on Nick Carraway? Do you like him? Would you trust him?

    Chapter 4

    1. Why are the people in the novel so fascinated by the mystery surrounding Gatsby’s past? What does this say about human nature in general?
    2. A linguist might interpret the name “Wolfshiem.” The German / Norwegian root “heim” (not an exact match) means home or world. What might be the meaning behind this name?
    3. What clues indicate that Gatsby’s “God’s truth” about his life history may be fabricated? Why would Gatsby care if Nick Carraway believes his supposed life story?

    Great Gatsby Unit Plan FEATURED

    Related Post: The Great Gatsby Unit Plan: 23 Lessons with Materials

    Chapter 5

    1. Describe Gatsby’s convoluted (overly complex) plan for reuniting with Daisy. What might be the reasons behind him taking this approach?
    2. What does the narrator mean by saying, “Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry”? (88) Do you agree?
    3. Throughout The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald gives great attention to Daisy’s unusual voice. What impression does he create? (See the very end of Chapter 5.)

    Chapter 6

    1. Would James Gatz have become Jay Gatsby without the influence of Dan Cody? Explain.
    2. How does Daisy’s presence diminish Gatsby’s party for Nick? Have you ever experienced a change in perspective like this?
    3. Nick and Gatsby disagree about recapturing the past. What is your view?

    Chapter 7

    1. In Chapter 7 as in Chapter 2, Fitzgerald gives inordinate attention to a random billboard for an optometrist (Dr. T.J. Eckleburg). What could possibly be the meaning of this emphasis?
    2. Why does Gatsby continually call people “old sport?” Why does Tom make this an issue?
    3. What details indicate that Gatsby’s personality has a darker side?

    Chapter 8

    1. In Chapter 8, Gatsby reveals the truth he has worked for years to conceal. Why does Gatsby suddenly decide to tell Nick Carraway the truth about his past?
    2. Why does Gatsby refuse to accept that Daisy ever loved Tom Buchanan?
    3. Of Gatsby Nick says, “…I disapproved of him from beginning to end.” Yet, he is glad he told Gatsby, “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” (164) What can we make of this?

    Chapter 9

    1. Why doesn’t anyone want to come to Gatsby’s funeral? Why is Nick so concerned that people show up for the ceremony?
    2. Why does Nick suddenly lose interest in Jordan Baker? What changed?
    3. Why do you think people who have “old money” are sometimes prejudiced against those with “new money?” Afterall, wealth is something that they have in common.

    Final Writing Assignments for The Great Gatsby

    1. In The Great Gatsby, color is more than color (especially green, white, gray, and yellow). How does Fitzgerald use color in the novel?
    2. Many consider The Great Gatsby “the great American novel.” What do you think inspires some to hold this high opinion of Fitzgerald’s work?
    3. Fitzgerald uses Nick’s point of view in telling the story. What are the effects of this choice? How do Nick’s perspectives, biases, and opinions impact narrative?
    4. The character names in The Great Gatsby contain layers of meaning. Choose three names to analyze.
    5. The Great Gatsby is a morality tale for America.” Sounds great, but what is the moral? What lessons are we supposed to learn from deaths of George, Myrtle, and Jay Gatsby?
    6. Choose one symbolic element from the novel and explain its development and purpose.
    7. Which theme has prominence in the novel? How do you know?

    Thanks for stopping by 40 The Great Gatsby Writing Prompts!

    I hope that you have found some The Great Gatsby writing prompts that will aid you in your teaching.  If you have found these writing activities / assignments helpful, consider following The Great Gatsby Unit Plan. For more creative and engaging project and essay ideas, check out Top 10 THE GREAT GATSBY Project Options.