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Connecting to Great Gatsby's Appearance vs. Reality in Self Portraiture

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Language Arts And English +4 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

This lesson, integrated halfway through F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, will address both character analysis and the ever present theme of appearance vs. reality in the text.  By using Thomas Hart Benton's "Self Portrait with Rita" as a starting point students will study the specifics of a self portrait from the 1920s which highlights American dream centered ideals.  As a second step, students will make connections between the painting and the characters from our text.  As a final extension activity, students will further explore the inspiration, the biography, or another work by Benton.