Reading the American Dream: Critical Literary of Theory in The Greaty Gatsby and Finding Forrester

Tiffany DiMatteo, English III, Myers Park High School

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards

200 Word Synopsis

The goal of this unit is to show how critical literary theory can be introduced and applied in a high school English classroom by using a novel, The Great Gatsby, and a film, Finding Forrester.  The two texts are united through the use of the American Dream as an important theme; one that retains a strong sense of appeal, even today.  While many critical theories could be used, I have chosen Reader Response, social-class, and Gender Studies as exemplars for high level, critical analysis in an honors level classroom for juniors.  The unit shows how each theory can be applied to the texts and how they relate to each other.  Students will demonstrate their learning in the unit by preparing a small group presentation on their particular theory and its application to both texts.  It is compatible with Common Core Standards.