BRINGING GATSBY TO LIFE
"Remember, you have resources you can use," English department chair Julia Cohen tells her class. "Myrtle can hide behind the curtain!" Eleventh grader Bougie, costumed with a paper name tag identifying her as Myrtle, laughed and ducked behind a window curtain in the Cafritz Living Room to await her entrance. Nearby, students taking the roles of "blue car" and "yellow car" organized their passengers—Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick, and Jordan—for a drive, and other classmates referenced their books to fact-check the scene.
Julia's English 11 students brought the infamous trip to New York City in "The Great Gatsby" to life last week through a combined re-enactment and discussion. As students acted out scenes, Julia paused to ask questions and prompt reflections—what's the meaning behind the driving arrangements in the yellow and blue cars? How is Jordan described here? While re-enacting an argument between two characters, the class stopped to analyze the way one gestured and the significance of another's outburst, helping make sense of a pivotal scene.
By the time Myrtle's entrance rolled around (no spoilers here!), it was clear that students were enjoying the lesson immensely and also understanding the story in a new way.