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Monday, October 6, 2014

The Great Catsby: A Wildly Entertaining Evening

Sheila McLaughlin, a student in Prof. Jody Ross' "Literature and Music" course, attended the Oct. 2. "Great Catsby event and wrote up the following narrative, "The Great Catsby:  A Wildly Entertaining Evening."  The photos of the event were taken by Brittany Schrader, also a student in Prof. Ross' class.

Professor Jean Lutes and four undergraduate and graduate English students arrived in the second-floor lounge of Good Counsel Hall to present an informal discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby, on Thursday, Oct. 2. This event was available to all students at Villanova, whether they had previously read the novel or were newcomers to the epic tale of Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. And I can’t imagine the Insomnia cookies, pizza, and ACS-approval went unappreciated either.

Professor Lutes began by giving a brief summary and discussing some of the main themes employed throughout the book, including racial conflict, treatment of women, and the American Dream. Each theme was then projected upon a character in the novel—Tom Buchanan as the racist, Daisy and her friend Jordan as mistreated women, and Gatsby himself as the American Dream. The more-than-100 students in attendance were then rewarded with a staged reading of Jay and Daisy’s reunion after five years of separation and longing.

After the oral recitation, those in attendance broke up into groups of 12 students to discuss the portion of the work just heard, and specifically Daisy’s reaction to Jay throwing his shirts around his closet, when she buries her face in them, crying over their beauty. The discussions allowed those who had read Fitzgerald’s work to revisit the topics featured in the book, while those who had not yet read the work gained insights into why it is considered by many to be a timeless piece of American literature.
Students were treated to a thought-provoking and enjoyable experience and discussion, thanks to Professor Lutes and her team of students. Overall, I would consider the night a “Great” success.