Unit 3

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


English III

Unit Length and Description:


Nine Weeks


The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald will allow students to further explore the concept of the American Dream and lead students to an understanding that the “good life” is not always what we believe it will be. They will explore how various pieces of American literature, as well as this great American novel, treats the topic and considers different perspectives.  The research element in this unit will allow students to investigate the time period and discover the underlying causes of problems during the period.  The American Dream will provide excerpts that align with the ideals revealed in The Great Gatsby.


This unit will focus on craft and structure and integration of knowledge and ideas.  Writing will be predominately narrative with some focus on informational/explanatory and argumentative.




Reading Literature


RL.11-12.7: Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.


RL.11-12.9: Demonstrate knowledge of foundational works of U.S. and world literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.


Reading Informational Texts


RI.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


RI.11-12.8: Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions  and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).


RI.11-12.9: Analyze foundational U.S. and world documents of historical and literary significance for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.




W.11-12.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

a.  Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

b.  Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, mood, tone, events, and/or characters.

c.  Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).

d.  Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and figurative and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, mood, tone, and/or characters.

e.  Provide a conclusion (when appropriate to the genre) that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.


W.11-12.8: Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation. (e.g., MLA Handbook, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association).


W.11-12.9: Draw relevant evidence from grade-appropriate literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

a.  Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Demonstrate knowledge of foundational works of literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics”).

b.  Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. and world texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning [e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court Case majority opinions and dissents] and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy).


Speaking and Listening


SL.11-12.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, while respecting intellectual property; convey a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, address alternative or opposing perspectives, and use organization, development, substance, and style that are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.


SL.11-12.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


SL.11-12.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts, audiences, and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.




L.11-12.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11–12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

a.  Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

b.  Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., conceive, conception, conceivable).

c.  Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning, its part of speech, its etymology, or its standard usage.

d.  Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).


L.11-12.5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a.  Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.

b.  Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.


Enduring Understandings:


·        Reading American literature allows the reader to experience the joys and sorrows of the time period.


·        An individual’s dream can determine his or her actions in his or her life and/or relationships.


·        Different time periods dictate the definition of success in America.


·        Modernism continues to keep the American literary tradition alive.


·        Our perceptions of others are not necessarily reality.


Essential Questions:


·        How does reading American literature help us learn about the culture of the time period?


·        What place does a dream or vision have in one's life and/or relationships?


·        What does it mean to be successful in America?


·        How does Modernism fit into the American literary tradition?