Film, Freud and Fitzgerald: A Psychoanalytical Critique of The Great Gatsby and Jazz Age Values

byMiles Greene

High School students often struggle with comprehension and critical analysis of the classic literature suggested by the Common Core appendixes. Supplementing literature with its respective film adaptation will help to address this deficiency by giving students a visual representation of a story through which critical thinking and rich dialogue between students can occur. For this unit, students will analyze Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby using the psychoanalytical critical lens theory to formulate conclusions around the stories’ characters and author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Students will be considering questions around the characters’ morality and how their behavior and psychological profiles are indicative of Fitzgerald’s attitude as an author who was a witness to and participant in the Jazz Age. Students will draw connections to their own lives from themes surrounding class, materialism and gender. Lastly, they will learn how film is a unique medium for storytelling, in that techniques unique to film play an important role in developing characters, creating tension and portraying symbolism. This unit should be considered for teachers seeking to integrate a film dimension into a unit already in existence on The Great Gatsby or Fitzgerald as a means to increase the novel’s accessibility for struggling or reluctant readers.

(Developed for English, grade  11; recommended for Film, grade 11)

Comments (2)

    Cameron Blakley (charleston catholic hs, charleston, wv)
    Subject taught:
    What is the date of publication of this article?
    Gary D Manning (Alabama A and M University, Normal , Al)
    Subject taught:
    What is the date of this article?

    August 2015

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