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This lesson provided by:
Author:Deborah Milan
System: Bullock County
School: Bullock County Board Of Education
Lesson Plan ID: 33079

Nothing's Great About Daisy


Students will learn about life during the 1920s in the United States. The students will analyze how the setting, the characters and the plot of The Great Gatsby impacted the overall novel. At the completion of the lesson, the students will be asked to write a character analysis.

By teaching the acronym “STEAL” which stands for Speech, Thoughts, Effects on Others, Actions, and Looks, students gain a tool they can use to analyze characters and the methods an author uses to develop the character.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Content Standard(s):
ELA2015(11) 2. Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.11-12.2]
ELA2015(11) 8. Demonstrate knowledge of twentieth- and twenty-first-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics. [RL.11-12.9] (Alabama)
ELA2015(11) 20. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. [W.11-12.2]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

  1. To analyze how the settings, characters, and plot affect the overall novel
  2. To identify and define indirect and direct characterization
  3. To read closely to determine what the text says about the characters
  4. To cite specific text evidence when writing to support details stated about characters
  5. To write a character analysis that analyzes one of the characters in The Great Gatsby
  6. To identify and explain methods of characterization in a work of literature.
  7. To understand persuasive techniques
Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 91 to 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

The novel: The Great Gatsby

Character Analysis Chart

PowerPoint Presentation on Characterization

Handout The STEAL Method

Technology Resources Needed:

Digital projector 

Teacher computer



The teacher should have read the novel The Great Gatsby and taught the "STEAL" method.

By teaching the “STEAL” method students gain a tool they can use to analyze characters as they read any story or novel. They will learn how an author creates characters and evaluate the techniques used by a great American author. Students will interact with “The Great Gatsby” and work independently to trace the development of the incredible cast of characters.

Prior to teaching this lesson, make sure the students have read the first four chapters.


1. First make sure each student has a copy of the novel The Great Gatsby. 

2. Students will be asked to make an inference based on the title of the novel.

3. Give the students a copy of the characterization chart (Remind students they should have read the first four chapters.).

4. Define key literary terms for the students:

 a. Characterization

 b. Direct characterization

 c. Indirect characterization

 d. Persuasive techniques 


1. Students will trace the development of each character as the character develops in the novel. After tracing the development of the characters, students will write a letter.

2. Choose one of the three possibilities and write a letter.

  • One of the important struggles in The Great Gatsby is Jay trying to convince Daisy that she does not love her current husband and that she should runaway with him. He used persuasion. Write a letter to Daisy from Jay attempting to persuade Daisy to leave Tom.
  • Write a short essay on advice to give one of the couples in the story.
    • Tom and Daisy
    • Gatsby and Daisy
    • Myrtle and George Wilson
    • Nick and Jordan
  • Write a fictional obituary of one of the characters in The Great Gatsby using information found in the text. You can write an obituary for a character whose death was not included in the text or one that was. The information in the obituary should reflect the student’s understanding of the plot, the character’s life and family relationships and effective newspaper writing.
  • Journal Writing: Write a five-sentence chapter summary. For each chapter choose a different character. Then choose a quote that best represents the character. List and describe his/her best qualities, only those mentioned in the story so far. In a paragraph describe the character's role in the novel, refer back to other chapters. From the chapter choose one meaningful quote, and describe its significance to you. What made it stand out?

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. STEALMETHOD06132013.docx
Assessment Strategies:

Formative assessment: Students will be asked to make inferences about the novel based on the title.

Students will trace the development of each character as the characters develop in the story.


1. Students who have mastered the primary learning objectives can design a typical outfit that could be worn during the novel.

2. Students could write a children's book for The Great Gatsby.


For students who are relunctant readers, provide highlighted notes for each character.

For those who need extra help, give them a list of common figurative language terms that contain the meaning of the selected words and phrases.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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