1. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Do the life and death of Jay Gatsby demonstrate this claim or refute it? Does the novel ultimately argue that one can never re-invent himself? Do we have the capacity to become someone entirely new if we commit to the new person or will the ghosts of the past always pull us back?
  2. How does the motif of accidents reflect the cynicism of the Modernist worldview?
  3. What is ultimately the most to blame for the tragic end of the novel: Tom’s philandering, Gatsby’s nostalgic desire for the past, Daisy’s selfishness, or Nick’s silence?
  4. Fitzgerald is known as the preeminent chronicler of the Jazz Age, perhaps better depicting its excesses and virtues better than anyone. How does Nick Caraway demonstrate both attraction to and repulsion from the lives of the incredibly rich inhabitants of Long Island?
  5. Does the novel argue that Jay Gatsby is a tragic hero responsible for his own downfall or is it a critique of a society in which romanticism is no longer allowed/permitted?
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