Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Atlantic: How Gatsby explains Trump

If you have been following our work on Gatsby, you know we are interested in the ways in which Fitzgerald’s novel is eerily resonant with many of the issues we are facing at this moment: anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant sentiment and general xenophobia, economic inequality, white nationalist anxiety, and more. Time and again we are intrigued and amazed at the ways in which Fitzgerald’s 1925 text anticipates and reflects the issues of our current historical moment (which may be to say that these issues continue to appear and reappear across time).

In any case, we were thrilled to read Rosa Inocencio Smith’s recent, brilliant piece in The Atlantic, which addresses many of the issues with which we have been grappling. In “How The Great Gatsby Explains Trump,” Smith reads the novel as “a surprisingly apt primer on the [current] president of the United States.”

In her accessible and engagingly written (and highly teachable) article, Smith explores both the superficial and deep connections between Tom Buchanan and Trump and argues that Gatsby, as a story about power under threat, can be read as a “warning” of how power “can render truth irrelevant.”

As Smith details, all the main characters in Gatsby, not just Tom, use their wealth and power to assert a kind of deceitful privilege in the world. Jordan cheats at golf. Nick buys a financial practice to start a new life, leaving the Midwest and a “tangle” of a relationship behind. Daisy, with her “voice full of money,” rarely, as Smith notes, “says anything she means.” As Nick notes, it’s almost as if Daisy and Tom belong to a “distinguished secret society,” in which power, not truth, is the real currency.

For Smith, the key warning in Gatsby is not simply Tom’s “carelessness about truth and consequences,” but the ways in which that carelessness infects and is mirrored in so many of the other characters in the novel. Tom, then, like Trump, exposes the “gaps in America’s ideal of itself – the ugly currents of its power, the limits of its possibilities.” The disconnect in Gatsby between truth and power is underscored in the injustice of the novel’s closing: Nick can only shake Tom’s hand and muse that “There was nothing I could say except the one unutterable fact that it wasn’t true.”

Closely linked to Smith’s discussion of power and privilege in Gatsby and Trump is a fascinating discussion by Paul Krugman in The New York Times, “The Angry White Male Caucus.” Krugman argues that Trump’s and Brett Kavanaugh’s white male anger represents a “sort of high-end resentment, the anger of highly-privileged people who nonetheless feel that they aren’t privileged enough or that their privileges might be eroded by social change.” Doesn’t this toxic mix of privilege and anger also sound like Tom, a man of immense wealth who is unaccountably worried about the colored races taking over the world and who, in the course of the novel, comes to face his worst nightmare when he discovers that Mr. Nobody from Nowhere is sleeping with his wife?

Krugman places Kavanaugh’s (and Trump’s white male anger) squarely in the context of privilege, arguing that both men exemplify the “hard-partying sons of privilege who counted on their connections to insulate them from any consequences from their actions, up to and including behavior toward women.” Krugman suggests that that this kind of privilege is in fact under siege in the increasingly diverse United States and that “nothing makes a man accustomed to privilege angrier than the prospect of losing some of that privilege, especially … the suggestion that people like him are subject to the same rules as the rest of us.”

Of course, Gatsby makes clear that Tom is not subject to the same rules as the rest of us. Gatsby, in the end, does not represent any threat to Tom; even the prize, Daisy, returns to her rightful position with Mr. Somebody. The status quo is maintained, albeit unsettlingly, within Gatsby, although the novel registers both the threat to and the rage of its Trumpian Tom.

Those of us who teach in places where candid and open discussion of the current political scene is possible are lucky to be able to teach Gatsby in a moment where its relevance can infuse our teaching with the kind of purpose that is so critical in the classroom. The connections between Gatsby and Trump underscore for us and our students why this text matters and how it enables critically important conversations. Smith’s article, for example, illustrates exactly how pertinent and revealing careful literary analysis can be beyond the English classroom.

For those of us for whom such explicit discussions would be more dangerous (and we know that ours is a difficult moment for academic freedom), it is worth remembering the vital work of opening up space in the classroom for conversations vis-à-vis the very traditional and canonical Gatsby about power, truth, privilege and xenophobia. Even when we don’t link these issues explicitly with Trump or Kavanaugh as part of our classroom conversations, our thoughtful attention to the issues of power and its abuses in Gatsby can serve as a catalyst, provoking and allowing students to make their own connections in their writing or in their private conversations outside the classroom.

And while it may seem risky to engage in such difficult discussions in our classrooms, as we discussed with the dedicated teachers we met at the NJCTE Fall Conference last weekend, it is far scarier to allow our students to leave our classrooms without having the opportunity to learn how to engage in the kinds of  thoughtful, critical conversations that our democracy hinges upon. If you share the same concerns and happen to be in Pennsylvania on October 19, please join us at PCTELA to continue this conversation.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Another source for Gatsby's "this man Goddard"

If you’ve been following our work on Gatsby, you are probably already well aware of how often we write about Lothrop Stoddard, whose ideas are parroted by Fitzgerald’s Tom Buchanan as the work of “this man Goddard.”

Goddard was Lothrop Stoddard, who wrote about the threat of the “colored races” to the white world and white world supremacy. In his 1920 text, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, which Tom mis-cites as “The Rise of The Colored Empires,” Stoddard warns of the “influx of undesirable elements” and the devastation of “our race-heritage” because America has not been “reserved for the descendants of the picked Nordics of colonial times.” Tom rephrases Stoddard’s ideas: “if we don’t look out, the white race will be – will be utterly submerged. . . . It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.”

Stoddard’s text is in public domain and accessible online, but critical, relevant excerpts are available in a classroom-ready format, accompanied by discussion and writing prompts and other teaching materials, in our recent volume, Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby.

We find the Stoddard text critical and compelling, not just in terms of understanding Gatsby but also in relation to the heightened rhetoric around immigration and nativism that has emerged under the Trump presidency. Using Stoddard excerpts, in connection with a discussion of Tom’s discussion of the “Goddard,” allows an entry-point for these historically-specific ideas about white nationalism in the classroom (with or without explicit connection to the contemporary Trump context).

Imagine our surprise and intellectual delight to discover there is even more to be made of Fitzgerald’s “Goddard.”

It turns out, as we learned recently from a delightful blog from Museum Hack (a great organization that you should check out if you don’t already know about them), that there was also a prominent Goddard in the early 20th century who, like Lothrop Stoddard, was focused on the dangers of immigrants. Henry H. Goddard, a psychologist, was an intelligence researcher, who coined the term “moron” in order to categorize with more scientific precision those he considered cognitively disabled. Hmm. (Note – “moron” is no longer a scientifically precise or acceptable medical term.)

In 1913, Goddard conducted tests of immigrants at Ellis Island. He studied Italians, Jews, Hungarians, and Russians. His findings, “Mental Tests and the Immigrant,” published in a journal called The Journal of Delinquency and accessible online, outline the tests he performed and his conclusions: “that half of such a group of immigrants [is] feeble-minded.” While noting the seeming impossibility of his findings, he explains that this group “is of a decidedly different character from the earlier immigration … we are now getting the poorest of each race.”

And the poorest of each race are more likely to be feeble-minded? Apparently.

For Goddard, the question is how best to treat these immigrants. He concludes: “Morons as a class, if taken early and trained carefully and so kept from becoming vicious and criminal, could be successfully employed if the employer understands them . . . .”

Still, Goddard worries about the children of these morons, who will, as he concedes, be Americans. And so he ponders, “Shall we exclude the moron immigrants because they are likely to have moron children who will become troublesome citizens?”

As Joella Straley writes on National Public Radio’s Code Switch, the year after Goddard presented his findings, deportation numbers for “feeble-mindedness” doubled.

We have yet to uncover any evidence that Fitzgerald was aware of Henry H. Goddard and his eugenicist work, but the re-naming of Stoddard as Goddard is surely no coincidence.

Regardless, a brief perusal of a few paragraphs of Goddard’s work, such as an excerpt from “Mental Tests and the Immigrant,” can serve to underscore the anti-immigrant xenophobia of the world of Gatsby and the ways in which Tom (and Nick’s) racism and anti-Semitism form part of a broader landscape of nativism. An excerpt from Henry Goddard, then, could be easily put into dialogue with Gatsby and, using the discussion and writing prompts and multimedia links provided in our unit on Stoddard, even more deeply complicate ours and our students’ understanding of Fitzgerald’s novel. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Revamp your Lord of the Flies unit with Prasad's Damselfly

If you are teaching William Golding’s Lord of the Flies this year, consider including Chandra Prasad’s debut YA novel Damselfly as one of the texts in your unit. Yes, we usually talk about using informational text to teach literature, but at the heart of our work is putting texts in dialogue and asking what voices or perspectives are missing from canonical works and common interpretations of them.

In our volume on cross-disciplinary collaboration, we present a unit based on an excerpt from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and a New York Times science article on the study of aggression in male fruit flies. Our goal with that unit is to support students in using scientific knowledge to critically evaluate what Golding depicts in his novel and to develop their understanding of aggression and violence in the present day.

That said, like many other readers, we have some issues with Lord of the Flies, particularly its exclusive focus on very privileged white English boys. Indeed, when we wrote about the abovementioned texts in a piece for the New York Times Learning Network, we included links to additional pieces on bullying and aggression among girls that teachers and students could use to expand their discussion of such timely themes.

Prasad’s Damselfly is an engaging present-day take on Golding’s premise, particularly because it eschews the easy artifice of switching the gender of a single-sex group of teens stranded on a remote island in the Pacific to female (as an upcoming and already widely criticized film adaptation of Lord of the Flies – written and directed by two men – is planned to do – and as Libba Bray’s YA novel Beauty Queens more imaginatively has done).

Instead Damselfly intersects with and updates Golding’s plot, presenting a mixed-gender, mixed-race, yet still privileged 21st-century group of American teenagers, the members of an elite private school’s fencing team, who had been on their way to a tournament in Japan when their plane crashed. After washing up on various parts of the island (implied to be the same island Golding’s boys crashed on), the survivors work together to build and acquire what they need to survive, but the social dynamics of their previous life and threats from an unseen fellow inhabitant of the island start to unravel their initially united resolve.  

Prasad’s novel is in some ways more engaging than Golding’s because she complicates the relationships between the teens by providing more backstory about them, particularly the Indian-American narrator Samantha and her best friend Mel, who is white. While Samantha attends the elite Drake Rosemont and even plays on its fencing team, she does so only via a scholarship she won partly to help diversify the school’s student body, after applying to the boarding school to escape the dysfunction and abuse at home that she hides even from Mel.

While readers might expect a battle of the sexes to be the primary source of conflict among the group, the most significant tensions fall along lines of race and class. That said, timeless teenage anxieties over popularity, peer pressure, and attractiveness are definitely at play in the conflicts that underscore this engaging novel. But one of the most affecting aspects of Damselfly is an update Prasad makes to the Lord of the Flies character Simon in Anne Marie whose survival struggle on the island is also dramatically complicated by mental illness.

As these power struggles play out, Prasad’s characters express ideas and opinions about each other that will provide ample fuel for students’ discussions about race, gender, class, disability, and how these identities and differences factor into the dynamics of their own families and communities, as well as our society as a whole.

Teachers could incorporate Damselfly into a Lord of the Flies unit in a variety of ways. Excerpts from corresponding parts of each novel could be placed in direct dialogue with each other. Or, after a teacher-led study of Lord of the Flies, groups of students could take the lead in teaching DamselflyBeauty Queens or one of the film adaptations of Golding’s novel and then critically comparing each version.

Adding something into our curriculum often sparks anxiety about having enough time. But creating a cluster of texts around a canonical work that you love or that you are required to teach can reinvigorate both teacher and student interest in a novel like Lord of the Flies and create a rich learning experience about timely themes that warrants and produces extended discussion and exploration.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Using informational text to revamp, disrupt, and recharge your curriculum

Though we always welcome time to relax and recharge over the summer, our energy for the new school year starts revving up come August. If you're thinking about revamping your curriculum and maybe even disrupting some of the texts (#DisruptTexts) you've traditionally taught or inherited, our Using Informational Text series can help. (Disclaimer: We do not intend to claim credit for the great conversation started by @TriciaEbarvia this summer; we are simply offering resources to help teachers engage in this important work.)

Our newest volume on The Great Gatsby offers classroom-ready units featuring nonfiction excerpts that support critical conversations with students around race, immigration, and inequality in connection with Fitzgerald's 1920s novel, which seems more relevant than ever in our present political and cultural climate. These readings, accompanied by vocabulary activities and guided reading and discussion prompts, support student inquiry into essential questions like "Why Should We Care About Economic Inequality?" and "What Is Tom Buchanan Worried About--Is Civilization 'Going to Pieces'?" If you'd like a preview of how to put present-day issues in dialogue with Gatsby, check out our recent blog posts on both the difficulties and enduring relevance of Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

Similarly, our volume on To Kill a Mockingbird presents units that examine the relationship between Calpurnia and Scoutquestion whether Atticus is a hero, and help your students think critically about the characters and the complex world Harper Lee depicts (and even teach them to "read against" canonical works like Mockingbird).

If you are teaching A Raisin in the Sunthe second volume in our series will help you underscore the enduring relevance of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play. In it, you will find ready-to-use units on housing discrimination past and present, the violence surrounding housing desegregation, the politics of African-American women’s hair, and more.

If you are looking for ways to collaborate with your content-area colleagues around literacy, check out Connecting Across Disciplines: Collaborating with Informational Text. This volume offers practical strategies for initiating cross-disciplinary collaboration and developing students’ disciplinary literacy skills, as well as a sample unit based on a science article and an excerpt from Lord of the Flies.

If you are thinking about how to revamp your curriculum in general, our website and blog feature resources and strategies for finding great informational texts that relate to any literary work you may be teaching and using them successfully in your classroom. We also offer ideas for teaching key vocabulary in meaningful and engaging ways and using multimedia together with written informational texts. Check out our sample units based on Mockingbird for models.

If you’d like hands-on training in our approach to using informational text, contact us about scheduling a professional development session in your school or district. We offer half-day and full-day workshops for both English and/or content-area teachers. If you are in the NJ/PA area, we look forward to seeing you at NJCTE in September, PCTELA in October, or NJEA in November. Otherwise, we hope to see you at NCTE and CEL in Houston!

We hope our resources will help you create rewarding learning experiences for you and your students. If you use any of our materials, please send us your feedback. We would also greatly appreciate it if you would post a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Thank you again for your interest and support!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Contextualizing Trump and Tom Buchanan's anti-immigrant sentiments

During an interview with British newspaper The Sun while visiting England in July, Donald Trump made the following comments about immigration:
“Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame,” Trump said. “I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.
“So I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad,” he continued. “I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.”
Once again, Donald Trump is rehearsing the idea that white civilization is about to collapse and that “millions and millions” are coming to Europe (and the United States) to take over (and destroy) the culture. These are the ideas that Lothrop Stoddard offered in 1920, warning of the threat to the white world and white world supremacy. In his The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, Stoddard warns of the “influx of undesirable elements” and the damage to “our race-heritage” because America has not been “reserved for the descendants of the picked Nordics of colonial times.” (Stoddard’s text is in public domain and accessible online, but critical, relevant excerpts are available in a classroom-ready format, accompanied by discussion and writing prompts and other teaching materials, in our recent volume, Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby.)

Tom Buchanan is the mouthpiece in The Great Gatsby of these white nationalist sentiments. He spouts Stoddard’s nativist racist ideas (although he calls Stoddard by the name Goddard).

But it’s worth noting, as part of a study of Fitzgerald’s novel and of Trump’s recent remarks, that the identity of the undesirables is not and has never been wholly stable. Stoddard’s comment about Nordics is worth unpacking along with the complex racial identities of the characters within Gatsby. Many of the characters in Fitzgerald’s novel appear to students today as white, but whiteness in 1920 did not mean what it means today. Fitzgerald populates the characters at the margins of Gatsby with a range of non-Nordics, who would not have been considered white or desirable in this period.

The “gray, scrawny Italian child setting torpedoes in a row along the railroad track” and the “young Greek, Michaelis, who ran the coffee joint beside the ashheaps,” for example, stand at a distance from Daisy and her beautiful “white girlhood.” So too does the Jewish Wolfsheim, whose undesirability is marked both by his profession in the novel as a gangster but also by his racialization – his big nose and his hairiness marking his Otherness.

And of course, a central moment in the text, when Nick meditates on the idea that “Anything can happen … anything at all …. Even Gatsby could happen” is undercut by its juxtaposition with Nick’s ghoulishly racialized description of “a limousine … driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl … the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry.”

Even Gatsby, who changes his name, is racially nebulous. Tom’s accusations against Gatsby are not about the affair per se but about Gatsby’s undesirability. Gatsby is “Mr. Nobody from Nowhere.” In the next breath, Tom compares the affair to “intermarriage between black and white.” And while Jordan assures Tom (and the reader?) that “We’re all white here,” the unnamed epithet, the “obscene word,” left on a piece of brick at Gatsby’s house hints that perhaps Jordan was wrong.

Gatsby, after all, is a novel that meditates on exactly Trump’s fears. White culture, a culture of outsized wealth, privilege, entitlement, and abuse, seems under siege to Tom. And perhaps he is right. Gatsby is able to infiltrate Tom’s world, however briefly, and capture Daisy, the icon of white womanhood.

It’s worth reminding ourselves and our students, however, that few of us are the descendants of the picked Nordics of colonial times. Many of us would not have been considered by Jordan and her peers to be white in 1920.

The Greek Michaelis and the Italian child, alongside the African-American men and woman in the limousine, are part of the long history of immigrants and slaves who have come to the United States and shaped and reshaped the changing culture of our nation -- and in a positive way!

Given that the vast majority of our students are not descendants of the picked Nordics of colonial times and instead are a part of the millions and millions who have moved around our globe and reshaped and reinvigorated our cultures both in Europe and the United States, we owe it to our students to help them contextualize Trump’s and Tom’s rhetoric, to understand its implications for the past and the present, and to speak out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gatsby, Buchanan, and racial paranoia past and present

As most of us turn away from our classrooms, the difficult and troubling resonances with The Great Gatsby, that consummate American novel, continue to come, fast and furious.

This week, it’s New York Times columnist Charles Blow, in “White Extinction Anxiety,” commenting on how Trump’s broader border policy, leaving aside the odiousness of family separation, reflects a panic about “a loss of white primacy.” Blow places Trump’s concerns within the context of Pat Buchanan longstanding ideas about the threats to whiteness, reflected in Buchanan’s Suicide of a Superpower (2011), his latest blog posts, and his comments on Laura Ingraham’s show.

Here’s a brief snippet from Buchanan’s blog:
The existential question . . . remains: How does the West, America included, stop the flood tide of migrants before it alters forever the political and demographic character of our nations and our civilization?…. We are truly dealing here with an ideology of Western suicide. 
If Europe does not act, its future is predictable. 
The population of Africa, right across the Med, is anticipated to climb to 2.5 billion by midcentury. And by 2100, Africa will be home half of all the people of the planet.
Africans taking over the planet: We aren’t in Wakanda.

The idea that white civilization is about to collapse and that Africans are about to take over the world isn’t new. Lothrop Stoddard offered the same idea in 1920, using the very same flood tide imagery to warn of the threats to the white world. In his The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, Stoddard prophesizes: “Here is the truth of the matter: The white world to-day stands at the crossroads of life and death.” (Stoddard’s text is in public domain and accessible online, but critical, relevant excerpts are available in a classroom-ready format, accompanied by discussion and writing prompts and other teaching materials, in our recent volume, Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby.)

Like Buchanan, Stoddard worried that both Europe and America, the white homelands, were threatened by “oblivion in the dark ocean” of immigrants from “the colored world.” Stoddard warns, “If the present drift be not changed, we whites are all ultimately doomed. Unless we set our house in order, the doom will sooner or later overtake us all.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald picked up on Stoddard’s nativist racial paranoia and placed these noxious ideas in the mouth of his arrogant, abusive, philandering, millionaire, Tom Buchanan. Tom argues the point, “violently”:
Civilization’s going to pieces . . . . Have you read “The Rise of the Colored Empires” by this man Goddard? . . . Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be – will be utterly submerged. . . . It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out of these other races will have control of things.
Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s narrator, dismisses Tom as “pathetic” in this moment. We might be tempted to dismiss Stoddard and his ideological progeny, Buchanan, as equally pathetic.

But can we afford Nick’s complacency?

Instead, we suggest that teachers of Gatsby seize this moment, both in our broader culture and in Fitzgerald’s uncannily timeless and prescient novel, to explore the racial paranoia and its bizarre coexistence with extreme power and privilege. September and Gatsby are right around the corner. Seize the moment to plan for what Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich calls “the real, and yes, uncomfortable and unpredictable work of teaching and learning.” These difficult but important classroom conversations will make your reading of a 1925 novel more relevant and revealing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Roseanne Barr and The Great Gatsby? Absolutely!

What could have provoked Roseanne, at this particular moment, to offer her racist comments about Valerie Jarrett? Roseanne, after all, would have seemed to have been at the top of the world. Her eponymous show was rated the third most popular on network television and had been picked up for another season. She should have been at the top of the world, right?

And yet she chose to lash out at Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Obama. Jarrett is not currently in a position of particular power. Obama is not in office. How, at this moment, was Jarrett a threat? Why would Jarrett have merited attack? Why did Roseanne need to bully someone and what made Jarrett a worthy target?

Certainly, the simple answer is that Roseanne’s outburst reflects a kind of commonplace racism. The odd juxtaposition of “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes” in Roseanne’s tweet suggests a kind of knee-jerk and thoughtless targeting and conjoining of Muslims and African-Americans. 

But leaving that base and grotesque racism aside for a moment (as it has received a wellspring of deserved attention from a range of commentators), it’s enlightening to turn to Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel in relation to Roseanne.

The opening chapter of Gatsby offers some surprising answers to the question of why someone in power might be gratuitously cruel. As we read the opening pages of Gatsby, we meet Tom Buchanan, who, like Roseanne, would seem to be on top of his world. 

He is wealthy and powerful, although unlike Roseanne, he was born to this position of power. We learn about his background: Yale. Tom has a heroic football background, “one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven,” and enormous family wealth. When our narrator, Nick, meets Tom, it is at Tom’s “even more elaborate than I expected” house.

Yet with all this acclaim, money, and power, Tom is cruel. He has “a rather hard mouth,” “arrogant eyes,” and “a cruel body.”

Like Roseanne, the object of Tom’s cruelty in chapter 1 of Gatsby is people of color. For reasons that are never explained by Fitzgerald, Tom is obsessed by “The Rise of the Colored Empires” by Goddard (in real life Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy) and the idea that “if we don’t look out the white race will be – will be utterly submerged.” 

To be clear, Tom, at the very top of the food chain, is worried that his kind are in danger of being utterly submerged by people of color. What? Why?

Why the paranoia and cruelty, why the insecurity and gratuitous vitriol from someone at the pinnacle of power? Why Tom? Why Roseanne?

Two units in our new volume on Gatsby may help you explore these timely questions. First, excerpts from Stoddard and Kenneth L. Roberts elaborate on the anxiety about whiteness and power expressed by Tom and other characters in the novel. Second, Paul Piff’s “Does money make you mean?” discusses a series of fascinating social psychology experiments that explore how wealth, power, and privilege breed greed, a diminution of empathy, and unethical behavior. 

Such discussions may seem like a detour from your usual reading of Gatsby, but they offer an important opportunity to help your students use their critical thinking to make insightful connections between the past and the present and better understand the impacts of the various cultural and political discourses across the range of media – from Fitzgerald’s novel to social media – they encounter on a daily basis.