The Great Gatsby: Study Guide

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby study guide prepared by our editorial team is a complete collection of materials necessary for understanding the great American novel. Along with the summary and analysis of every chapter, there are short reviews of the main themes, symbols, and literary devices used in the book. Of course, there is a comprehensive analysis of all the characters as well.

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💁 All You Need to Know about The Great Gatsby

📌 What is The Great Gatsby About?

The Great Gatsby is about the tragic life of Jay Gatsby, who dedicated all his time and efforts to win back his beloved Daisy Buchanan. The novel was finished and published at the beginning of 1925 and set in the historical context of the scandalous Roaring Twenties, also called the Jazz Age.

📌 What Is The Great Gatsby Book Genre?

The Great Gatsby is a tragic novel by genre. It didn’t meet immediate success when it was published. However, in the 21st century, The Great Gatsby is a book that everyone recommends reading at least once. And it is not hard to tell why this story is so significant since it includes the most relevant issues nowadays. First is, of course, the unreachable American Dream since the dreamer’s demands are always rising. The next theme is repeating the past. Today, most people still make the same mistake of not letting the past go. And, finally, the hypocrisy of the upper class, which is the social issue of all times.

📌 Who Wrote The Great Gatsby?

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, inspired by his real-life events. Some of them were the parties he went to in Long Island. Even though he wrote around 150 pieces during his life, The Great Gatsby has become the most known. However, Fitzgerald’s life was far from the merrymaking described in the book, as he was struggling with alcoholism.

🗺️ The Great Gatsby Study Guide: Navigation

A short novel’s summary with pictures and a timeline that contains the key events of The Great Gatsby.

The detailed summary and analysis of the first novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the second novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the third novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the fourth novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

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The detailed summary and analysis of the fifth novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the sixth novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the seventh novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the eighth novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

The detailed summary and analysis of the ninth novel’s chapter. Active characters and themes.

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Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, Tom and Daisy Buchanan – all the major and minor characters of the novel described on one page.

The major themes in The Great Gatsby: money & wealth, social class, American dream, love & marriage, gender.

The key symbols and literary devices that Fitzgerald used to create the unique atmosphere of the novel.

All the important quotations from The Great Gatsby explained on one page.

Explanation of the symbolic meaning behind the setting of The Great Gatsby and a map with all the key novel’s locations.

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A heap of wonderful ideas for your Great Gatsby essay: absolutely free research paper and essay samples.

A large collection of essay ideas on the novel: literary analysis, themes, characters, & more.

A timeline and a detailed biography of a famous American writer.

A list of the answers to the most pressing questions about the novel.

🔑 The Great Gatsby: Facts

Author:Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Type Of Work:Novel
Language:English
First Publication Dates:April 10, 1925 (US)
February 10, 1926 (UK)
Where does The Great Gatsby take place?New York City
What year does The Great Gatsby take place?1922
How many chapters are in The Great Gatsby?9
Main Themes:The American dream, money & wealth, social class, love & marriage, gender

📚 The Great Gatsby: Context

When Was The Great Gatsby Written?

The Great Gatsby was written in the 1920s, which is the period presented in the book. The Roaring Twenties can be characterized by the economic rise, new technology, the birth of jazz, the beginning of the feminist movement, and Prohibition.

When Was The Great Gatsby Published?

The Great Gatsby was published in April 1925. F. Scott Fitzgerald completed the draft in 1924, but the editor felt like the story and characters were too vague. Just after the publication, the novel was way less successful than it is now. The number of copies sold was disastrous. Fitzgerald expected the numbers to hit 75 thousand. In reality, it was only bought 20 thousand times.

Fitzgerald was frustrated because people couldn’t understand the ideas of the novel. The book appeared to be too modernist for those times. Everyone considered it a temporary literary work. The critics were not impressed and only left mixed reviews. They were not satisfied with Fitzgerald’s ideas but quite appreciated his unique writing style.

The failure of his third novel hit F. Scott Fitzgerald hard, including his drinking issue and his wife’s mental disorder. It was not easy for him to earn money as a writer, even though he started writing at school. The first two novels he published, This Side of Paradise (1920) and The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), were quite well-received. It wasn’t until his death when the novel was finally noticed. With every following year, The Great Gatsby would be selling better and better until The New York Times named it “a classic” in 1960. Fitzgerald’s short life in the Roaring Twenties brought the great American novel to this world. Even today, the ideas of The Great Gatsby are as relevant as they were back then. What is more, the book is included in most curricula at schools and colleges around the world.

The Great Gatsby: Historical Context

A significant theme of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work was the idea that the post-war world was hollow and pointless. It was supposed to be a time of limitless opportunities, but it turned out to be a disaster. After the wild merrymaking of the 1920s, the crisis arrived. It is also reflected by Gatsby’s failure to achieve his American Dream.

The Great Gatsby Era

The era of The Great Gatsby is famous for American economic prosperity and endless parties. People were trying to compensate for the dark days of the war and were taking everything from the unexpected opportunity. All aspects of life were changing then: the jazz revolution was walking side by side with the movement for women’s rights.

Jazz Age and The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is set in the 1920s, which is also known as the Jazz Age. The novel has become one of the best insights into that time. The elements of the social and economic questions of the Jazz Age in The Great Gatsby give a deeper understanding of the way of life back then.

🎥 Best Known Adaptations of The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby: 1949 Movie

Fitzgerald’s novel has become so popular that with the development of the technologies, it was impossible not to create a film adaptation of it. And even though watching a movie is an entirely different experience than reading a book, it yet remains a masterpiece on the screen. So far, there are four best-known adaptations of The Great Gatsby. The original movie is the 1949 film by Paramount Pictures. It is a low-budget creation, and maybe the main reason it has become a success is the excellent performance by Alan Ladd as Gatsby.

Even though The Great Gatsby 1949 movie did not fail in terms of profits, it received mixed reviews. First of all, the film does not precisely follow the novel’s plot but slightly changes the focus to Gatsby’s criminal activities and Jordan, who ends up marrying Nick. Moreover, except for Alan Ladd, the cast is weak as the actors, according to the reviews, did not do a good job.

Overall, this adaptation is not recommended as a studying material for students. The fans of the novel might find it amusing, though. However, since it is an old movie, it is not that easy to find. The most available might be the option of a DVD copy.

The Great Gatsby: 1974 Movie

The next followed The Great Gatsby 1974 movie. This time, the creators put much more money and effort into adapting the story correctly, at least compared to the previous film. To work on the screenplay, they invited Francis Ford Coppola, who also worked on the legendary The Godfather. It would be fair to say that this one is one of the best adaptations of The Great Gatsby.

Robert Redford is the lead, and his acting also met mixed reviews. He combined the charming Gatsby and the hardworking James Gatz, which appeared to be a bit clumsy and didn’t look as professional as the original Alan Ladd’s performance. And Mia Farrow‘s portrayal of Daisy became almost iconic.

Theoni V. Aldredge’s work on costumes is beyond expectations. The budget allowed him to create stunning outfits, which reflected the novel’s description of the Jazz Age quite well. However, it was noticed that it might have become an obstacle to catch the story’s mood. For instance, it is supposed to rain during Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion, but supposedly the costumes were too expensive to be destroyed by water.

To sum up, this adaptation can be counted as one of the best-made The Great Gatsby movies with its great cast and costumes, even though it might lack the mood and energy of the novel.

The Great Gatsby: 2000 TV Film

The Great Gatsby: 2000 TV film is the first novel adaptation of the 21st century. Just like the original movie, this one does not strictly follow the novel’s plot. However, it can be explained by the fact that this film is one hour shorter than the 1974 movie. The plot is also changed in some places. For example, Daisy comes up with a new name for Gatsby instead of Dan Cody.

This version is made specifically for TV. The fact makes the variety of adaptation a bit wider, along with The Great Gatsby play that one can attend in London. However, the critical review notes that it lacks some specific features of the previous movies because it is a TV version. For example, the scenes of Gatsby’s parties are not long enough to reflect their lavishness.

Paul Rudd, who has become quite a famous Hollywood star since then, did a fantastic job of playing Nick Carraway. However, Toby Stephens as Gatsby is not that impressive and seems to be lifeless.

Therefore, the 2000 movie might be the right choice for those who have little time but need to review the most critical moments of the story.

The Great Gatsby: 2013 Movie

It is the movie that the younger generation is the most familiar with. The Great Gatsby 2013 movie cast, together with the most amazing visual effects, helped this adaptation win multiple awards. However, the number of prizes did not protect it from some negative reviews from both critics and the audience.

The Great Gatsby’s director Baz Luhrmann brought more festive energy and enthusiasm into this newest adaptation. Computer animation, also known as CGI, has become the best tool to recreate the breathtaking imagery of Fitzgerlad’s novel. The fantastic scenes of parties and the Valley of Ashes gives the movie a dreamy look. Moreover, every soundtrack from the list of this 2013 movie has helped to create the mood. No doubts, it beats any effects created for the older movies.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Elizabeth Debicki are unquestionably the best actors for The Great Gatsby. However, the critics left average reviews on their playing. It seems like the creators were mostly counting on actors and CGI to do the job. Some say that the movie does not present any of the ideas Fitzerald put in the story.

It would be quite fair to note that the characters are changed to some extent. For example, Tom Buchanan is represented as a top villain, leaving no space for DiCaprio to play on Gatsby’s duality. And Nick is shown as a sarcastic party guy with a drinking problem rather than someone who got drunk only once in life before.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Great Gatsby." August 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/the-great-gatsby-study-guide/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Great Gatsby'. 24 August.