With the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby in cinemas, I decided to ride the wave of interest and teach this classic novel to my Comprehensive English 40S class. Both glamorous and sad, romantic and revolting at times, F. Scott Fitzgerald looks inside the life of a group of New York dwellers in the 1920s. The ending is not what most would consider upbeat, the last line being “So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past”; so, what better way to raise one’s spirits than to throw a Gatsby Party to end the unit?
A student-generated idea, the class threw themselves into the preparation, dressing up in 20s attire, bringing finger food and fancy drinks, and playing roles such as ‘starlet’ and ‘socialite’. With a few decorations and some jazz playing in the background, Room 104 was transformed into the ‘party everyone wishes they could attend’, a lineup forming outside until the doors finally opened. Cards on the tables, students mingled, ate, and posed for paparazzi. The party ended on a more somber note, however, as the last part of the film was viewed, and we all said goodbye to Gatsby one last time.
To end with a final word from Nick about Gatsby, “…he had stood on those steps, concealing his incorruptible dream, as he waved them goodbye.”
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