The American Dream: The Great Gatsby, A Cool Million, Death of a Salesman



The American Dream - Introduction and Class Discussion

The American Dream In-Class Essay


A Cool Million

PDF of assigned reading
Reading/discussion questions

The Great Gatsby: Full Text

Map of East and West Egg (Sands Point and Kings Point, Long Island, in reality)

Explanatory Notes (in case your edition doesn't have them)

Vulture quiz on Jay-Z lyrics vs. Gatsby quotes

Notes on Chapter 1 - we probably won't use this in class, but it's a great way to keep track of characters as you read.

Chapters 1 and 2 imagery work.

The Great Gatsby Notes Organizer

The Great Gatsby Chap 3-4 Discussion Questions

The Great Gatsby Chapter 4 Scavenger Hunt, courtesy of Amina Baaith.

The Great Gatsby Chapter 7 Point of View Writing

The Great Gatsby Final Discussion Questions

NY Times article on the cover of The Great Gatsby (and a little about the new movie)

Powerful and Coldhearted: Does this article explain anything about Tom and Daisy?

How Gatsby Went From a Moldering Flop To a Great American Novel - NPR story.

Articles related to the film of The Great Gatsby:

Review from //The New Yorker//

//Variety// review

Amitabh Bachchan, a Bollywood megastar (which makes him one of the most popular actors in the world), plays Wolfsheim. This article describes him meeting fans at the premiere, while here's a Tumblr dedicated to him and Wolfsheim. (The New Yorker review comments on the casting of an Indian actor to play a Jewish character.)

Entertainment Weekly preview

5 Reasons Remaking Gatsby in 2013 Was a Great Idea

Roger Ebert's Review of the 1974 version (of which we watched a little in class)

New York Times Review



Death of a Salesman: Full Text

Pre-reading journal.
The Small, Happy Life - my definition of success (which we discuss with this play)
Discussion questions and journal topics.
DOS and TGG Comparison
DOS and TGG Quotation Work


American Dream Stories and Speeches - Radio, Video, and Text

Discussion notes

Inequality Is: interactive website.
NPR Series: American Dreams: Then and Now
NPR Morning Edition: American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality
American Public Media's Marketplace Series: The New American Dream
James Baldwin: The American Negro and the American Dream
Michael Steele: Defending the American Dream
Senator John Cornyn on the Senate floor.
Benita Veliz at the 2012 DNC
From class:
Rick Santorum, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Rand Paul.

Notes on the above and other American dream works.
How Not To Seem Rich When Running For Office - if you're wondering why so many politicians tell American Dream stories, you might like this article.


No Rich Child Left Behind: Class, not race, is now the greatest predictor of success in school.

Why Poor Students Struggle - The biggest barrier to success in college is poverty - this article explains why.

Secrets of Princeton: Class continues to divide our society, and the privileged classes perpetuate this divide.

Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream - read this as you consider how you will pay for college.

College Essays on Money, Class, Immigration - all topics that pertain, in part, to the American Dream.

A short video on distribution of wealth in America

Brothers Seek a Way Up and Out - the 2011 story of two brothers in Boston, currently living in poverty but attending an elite high school, hoping to achieve their own version of the American Dream. Here's a follow-up two years later.

Love People, Not Pleasure - a good article to consider when we discuss success.

Losing Our Way - why it's tougher to achieve the American Dream these days.

Many Feel the American Dream Is Out of Reach - Pessimism about achieving the American Dream is pervasive.

Is It Bad Enough Yet? - While not explicitly about the American Dream, this editorial pulls together several issues of inequality (police brutality, minimum wage, environmental sustainability, economic equity) and says "Everything affects everything."

Percentage of Poor Students in Public Schools Rises - it's tough to achieve the American Dream when you start out in poor conditions.

Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness - money isn't everything, even though many study law to pursue the American Dream.

USA, Land of Limitations? - another article about how tough it is to improve one's economic standing in the U.S.