Using the classic American novel The Great Gatsby to explore the themes of disillusionment and the American Dream, I want students to really dig into the characters and their motivations to gain an understanding of the tragedy that is unfolding on the pages before them. As the characters turn to money and succumb to materialism in hopes of finding happiness and lost love, their failures beg the question if the American Dream is all it cracks up to be. It is during this inevitable discussion that I would introduce the Diogenes conversation about happiness, asking students to consider what truly makes someone happy and how to know when they have “enough” to be content.
Level: Secondary English/language arts
Subject Area: American literature
Author: Sarah Mill