For this project, I wanted to relate The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald back to my high school students using the theme of unrequited love, which I believe would be relatable to students.
Imagine this. You are in a classroom. It’s a normal classroom with many of your friends in it. You have been here before, and you are comfortable in it. Across the way, you see a person you have never seen before. This person immediately captures your attention.After class, you decide to talk to this person. You track them down in the hallway, tap on their shoulder, and say hello. The two of you immediately click. You talk for a very long time, exchanging names. But before you can get their number, class starts, and they walk away. You come to class the next day eager to see them again. But they aren’t there. They didn’t come back to class. You don’t know where they are or how to find them. You search for ways to contact them, but you can’t find a way. Years pass, and while you find romance with others, no one ever replaces that one moment you had with the person in the hallway.
One day, you see them. All the feelings you had for them come back in a rush. You get up the courage to go and talk to them, but before you can, you see that they are with someone else.
What do you do? Do you go up to them? Do you tell them that you have loved them for years? How do you get their attention?
These same questions were asked by the titular character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s infamous novel The Great Gatsby. Much like how you dealt with unrequited love in your own lives, Gatsby has to watch the love of his life with her husband and child just across the bay from where he lives. The only comfort Gatsby has is staring at the green light at the end of his love’s dock, knowing that she is so close, but still so far away.
Stories of unrequited love are common in both literature and life. As we start this unit, think about the crushes of your past.
Do you identify with Gatsby, loving someone but they don’t know you exist?
Do you identify with Daisy, being with one person but wanting another?
Or do you identify with Nick, an observer trying to get two people together?
Whoever you identify with, you are sure to see your own situations in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.