Tbh I never read The Great Gatsby when it was assigned. I regret not having gotten around to it yet but do not regret skipping it in context of the class, since I will probably enjoy it more reading it on my own. The other novels that I remember reading in that class (American Lit.) were Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men, and The Old Man and the Sea. I enjoyed all of those but I don't think that I benefited from reading them in class rather than on my own. My fault for not working harder and getting into the honors class, since they had a great teacher (I had him for another class).
I was never assigned 1984, which I did not read until not all that long ago, or Lord of the Flies, which I read on my own in 7th or 8th grade.
Teaching Heart of Darkness to contemporary high school students sounds like a nightmare. But it must still get assigned, because there's one of those awful "No Fear" editions for it: http://www.sparknotes.com/nofear/lit/heart-of-darkness/part-1/
"On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified."
"On the whole river there was nothing that looked half as appropriate as he did. He looked the part, which to a sailor is the most important sign of trustworthiness."
Apparently. Deeeeeuuuuhhhrrr. Wow, good thing kids who didn't know what "nautical" meant have now been informed that it means "appropriate."