Well, about six weeks ago, she heard the name Gatsby for the first time in years. It was when I asked you – do you remember? – if you knew Gatsby in West Egg. After you had gone home she came into my room and woke me up, and said: "What Gatsby?" and when I described him – I was half asleep – she said in the strangest voice that it must be the man she used to know. — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Some books seem fundamental to our culture, forming us as we share the common experience of having read them. The Great Gatsby is one of those books. It’s considered an American classic for good reason! Join us as we explore the fascinating world of high society living in East and West Egg, New York.

F. Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote during The Roaring Twenties, also known as The Jazz Age. It was a time of jazz music, the Charleston, short skirts, freedom, and the right to vote for women. It was also a time of Prohibition, bootleggers, secret gambling dens, and Al Capone.

More than any other American writer, Fitzgerald embodied the spirit and excesses of his time. His most acclaimed work was 1925’s The Great Gatsby in which the boredom and carelessness of the wealthy American lifestyle during the 1920s is portrayed with stark realism. The carefree lifestyle of the time is exposed as one of superficial glamor, devoid of moral values or meaning. Although the book was not popular during his lifetime, it gained serious acclaim during and after World War II.

This four-week class will examine the importance of The Great Gatsby in American literature, and in the context of the historical events of the time period. We'll discuss concepts of social class, love and marriage, symbolism, and the dangers of repeating the past. Students will also have the option of investigating film adaptations of the book as part of their final analysis writing.

Students will engage in lively discussion surrounding the plot points, literary devices and reflections on the readings for each week. Students will also be expected to comment thoughtfully and respectfully on responses written by other students.

Our last week will tie together what students have learned about The Great Gatsby into a larger writing project of 500-1000 words. Here students get to leap into the pool of literary analysis, connecting their own dots and sharing their interpretations of what they've read.

IMPORTANT: This is a reading-intensive class. It is recommended that your child be a strong reader, at the 9th grade level or higher.

To stay in sync with the pace of the class, students will need to have read at least the first three chapters of the book before class begins.

Brave Writer cannot ensure the appropriateness of this reading material for your child. This class is recommended for high school students, but it is up to the parent to review these books thoroughly to determine whether or not each book is suitable for your child to read.

Class Structure Description

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!