The Great Gatsby Study Questions

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Famous & Controversial Jazz-Age Novel

The Great Gatsby book cover

The Great Gatsby is the most famous novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story is a symbolic portrayal of the decline of the American Dream. It's an accurate portrayal of the Jazz age cemented him as a fixture in literary history. Fitzgerald is a master storyteller and layers his novels with themes and symbolism. Here are a few questions to get your next book club started with.

Study Questions for The Great Gatsby

  • What is important about the title of The Great Gatsby
  • Which adaptations of the novel have you seen? What did you think of them?
  • What are the conflicts in The Great Gatsby? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) are in this novel? Are they resolved?
  • Why is Gatsby unable to put the past behind him? Why does he demand Daisy renounce her former love for her husband?
  • What choice would you have made in Daisy's situation?
  • What role does Daisy play in Gatsby's downfall?
  • How is alcohol used in the novel?
  • The novel is told from the perspective of a friend Gatsby, why do you think the author chose Nick to tell the story?
  • How does F. Scott Fitzgerald reveal character in The Great Gatsby?
  • How is class depicted in the novel? What point is the author trying to make?
  • What are some themes and symbols in The Great Gatsby?
  • What does the green light represent?
  • Why does the author call our attention to the ad for Doctor T.J. Eckleburg optometry? What is the meaning of the vacant eyes which watch the characters?
  • Is Gatsby consistent in his actions? Why did he change his name? Do you ever find him fake (or contrived)? Is he a fully developed character?
  • Do you consider Gatsby to be a "self-made man"? Is he a good portrayal of reaching the American Dream?
  • Do you find the characters likable? Would you want to meet the characters?
  • Did the novel end the way you expected?
  • How essential is the setting? Could the story have taken place anywhere else? In any other time?
  • What do you think the lavish parties at Gatsby's mansion were meant to represent? What is the author trying to say about American culture?
  • What is the role of women in The Great Gatsby? Is love relevant? Are relationships meaningful?
  • What did you think about Daisy's assessment that women must be pretty but unintelligent if they want to be happy? What in her life led her to this conclusion?
  • Why is The Great Gatsby controversial? Why has it been banned/challenged?
  • How does religion figure into the novel? How would the novel be different if religion (or spirituality) played a more prominent role in the text?
  • How does The Great Gatsby relate to current society? How well did it represent the Jazz Age (society and literature at the time it was published)? Is the novel still relevant?
  • Would you recommend The Great Gatsby to a friend?