The Great Gatsby: Chapters 1-2

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12036

How well do you know your neighbors? Would you want to write a book about them? What if one wrote a book about you? Find out what Nick Carraway has to say about Jay Gatsby and friends before Facebook!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • You've heard of a scrambled egg and a poached egg, but what are an East and a West Egg?

The Great Gatsby is the most famous novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, an early twentieth-century American novelist and writer.

The novel focuses on the life of the title character, Jay Gatsby, in the summer of 1922, as told by the narrator, Nick Carraway, who is renting the home next-door to the Gatsby mansion.

The novel was published in 1925, but it did not become popular until the second half of the twentieth century. In fact, at the time of Fitzgerald's death in 1940, the book had sold only 25,000 copies. However, the novel has now sold over 25 million copies as people celebrate the novel's themes of loss and longing.

To learn more about why it took the novel so long to be celebrated as one of the great American novels, read Why It Took So Long For "The Great Gatsby" to Be Considered a Literary Classic?, from NewspaperAlum. As you read, answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper:

  • In what year was The Great Gatsby first publicly pronounced to be a classic novel?
  • Why was the novel "rediscovered" in the 1940s after Fitzgerald's death?
  • What circumstances in Fitzgerald's career caused him to balance his artistic talent with his need for money?

After you've answered the questions, consider the following:

  • How would you feel if you only earned $13.13 in royalties during your lifetime for writing one of the best-known novels in American literature?

As you read in the article, Gatsby is sometimes called the "perfect" American novel.

In the beginning of the novel, we meet the narrator, Nick Carraway, after he rents a small bungalow next door to the Gatsby mansion on Long Island, just outside of New York City. The novel is told through Nick's perspective as he reconnects with his second cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, with whom Nick attended college.

In Chapters 1 and 2, you will meet Nick, the Buchanans, Jordan Baker, and a few other surprise characters.

As you read, write down notes about the various locations mentioned in the text. Take note of any descriptions of these areas because you will use these notes later in the lesson.

Also, you may want to write down any other notes about the novel that you may find helpful. You may want to take notes on the plot and the characters because these could help you remember important details for later lessons on the novel.

You should now read Chapters 1 and 2 of The Great Gatsby.

If you do not have a copy of the book, you may use Planet eBook's free version of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Once you've finished the two chapters and taken your notes, move on to the Got It? section to test your knowledge of your reading.

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.