Color Symbolism in the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Colors are an essential part of the world around us. They can convey messages, expressing that which words do not. Gentle blue tones can calm a person and bright yellows can lift the spirits. If an artist is trying to express sorrow or death he often uses blacks blues, and grays basically he uses dreary colors. Without one word, a driver approaching a red traffic light knows to stop. Colors are representative of many things. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses color symbolism throughout as a major device in thematic and character development. He uses colors to symbolize the many different intangible ideas in the book. Throughout the book characters, places, and objects are given "life" by colors, especially the more prominent ones.

F. Scott Fitzgerald utilizes the color yellow to symbolize moral deterioration and depravity. F. Scott Fitzgerald writes, “The lamp-light, bright on his boots and dull on the autumn-leaf yellow of her hair (18).” F. Scott Fitzgerald is referring to Tom and Daisy Buchannan and he is signifying that Tom is slowly progressing towards moral decay. In the novel, there are several incidents that prove Tom is in fact, progressing towards moral decay. First, Tom is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson. Second, Tom does not like Jay Gatsby, and several times he attempts to prove that Gatsby is not who he claims he is. Tom even goes as far as to hire a detective in his attempts to prove that Gatsby is not who he claims he is. In the novel, Jay Gatsby had a Rolls Royce automobile that was yellow in color. "His station wagon scampered like a yellow brisk-bug (. . .) (39).” Gatsby's car was referred to many times in the novel, but it was always referred to as "The yellow car (157)." F...

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... in" (8). Fitzgerald attempts to describe her in a perfect fashion in this scene which is the reason for Nick’s comment. Throughout the story Fitzgerald portrays Nick as a person that often judges other people, and by showing his instant praise towards Jordan he certainly proves that she could be an honest and innocent person, which is why Fitzgerald has her wearing white in this scene, even though the reader can later find out that that is not exactly the truth.

Work Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2013. Print.
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