Teaching my sister Gatsby

My sister, a junior in high school, is reading The Great Gatsby and writing a paper on Huckleberry Finn. Could there be a more perfect duo of high school books? I read the two of them in one year as well.

It’s important because this was the first time she’s asked me for help on something, I think, ever. I’m sure she’s asked me to help her open a jar or something (though, she’s always been better at opening jars), but this is the first time for something like this. And, more surprisingly, she listened.

For about an hour I went over her paper with her, explained how she could make it more coherent and in better support of her thesis. Then I walked her through the first few chapters of Gatsby, explaining why yellow is important and who Daisy’s married to anyway, and what, exactly, even happens? It was a lot of fun rediscovering these two great works of literature that are too-often disregarded as high school stuff.

I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my sister anymore. I live away from home, and when I am home we’re both usually too busy. Even when we are in the same place, she likes television shows I don’t and I like peace and quiet more than she does and so we usually end up in separate rooms.

It was great helping her understand. She said her teacher isn’t doing much teaching, which I think is horrible. People lose their passion very easily…though, if her class is anything like some of my high school classes, I can see why the teacher wouldn’t be super excited to get up in the morning.

I guess why it stuck out to me so much is that it was the first time it seemed that my sister didn’t think I was stupid. I don’t know what it is—even though I’m older and in a good school and maintained good grades and etc., she always seemed to think I was just plain stupid. She never listened to my recommendations, always shrugged off my ideas, and never, ever asked me for help. It was really nice to bond with her, even if it was over something so silly. After all, even if we don’t always get along, I do miss her. And I do hope she understands Gatsby a little better now.

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One thought on “Teaching my sister Gatsby

  1. Gatsby is a great book to bond over! It’s a story you could reread every year of your life and get something new out of every time. And the writing itself is so beautiful.

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