8. Design five discussion questions, and comment on why they are important.

1. Compare and contrast the characters of Tom and Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.

--This is important for students to consider because these two characters prompt most of the actions by others in the novel, and each represent different ideas in American society.

2. Pay particular attention to the seasons in The Great Gatsby. What do they symbolize, and how do they affect the action that happened in each season?

--This discussion question prompts students to examine symbolism. Fitzgerald utilizes many symbols throughout his work, but the use of seasons and colors always implies something about what is about to happen, or something about a character.

3. Discuss alcohol use in Babylon Revisited. Is Charlie only taking “one drink every afternoon” better than his previous alcohol abuse? Does it speak to his self-control, or lack thereof? If possible, you may pull information about alcohol abuse from Fitgerald’s other works, such as The Great Gatsby.

--Since Charlie struggled with alcohol in the past, the struggle with it is a big part of his life still. The reader is left to decide how much he has changed, and whether he is sincere based on his words and actions in the story. This discussion question leads students to examine character motives.

4. Imagine you are a judge awarding custody of Honoria in Babylon Revisited. Examine the character traits of those fighting for her. Who would you award custody to? What reasons do you have to support this?

--This is another question that forces students to examine characters’ good and bad qualities, and use those to support a decision. This works best because Fitzgerald did not end the story making a decision either way, so students will be left to make the decision on their own.

5. Describe how other people reacted to Benjamin in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. What does this say about how Fitzgerald thinks society responds to different people?

--This discussion question requires students to look deeper into the time period in which Benjamin Button was written, and comment on the social commentary Fitzgerald was making in his stories.

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