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Symbols and Symbolism - Houses and Cars in The Great Gatsby

Satisfactory Essays
Symbolism of Houses and Cars in The Great Gatsby

Francis Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, is full of symbolism, which is portrayed by the houses and cars in an array of ways. One of the more important qualities of symbolism within The Great Gatsby is the way in which it is so completely incorporated into the plot and structure. Symbols, such as Gatsby's house and car, symbolize material wealth.

Gatsby's house "[is] a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy" which contains "a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy" is a symbol of Gatsby's large illegal income (Fitzgerald 9)(9). Gatsby's large income isn't enough to keep him happy. He needs "The house he feels he needs in order to win happiness" and it is also the perfect symbol of carelessness with money which is a major part of his personality (Bewley 24). Gatsby's house like his car symbolizes his vulgar and excessive trait of getting attention. Gatz's house is a mixture of different styles and periods which symbolizes an owner who does not know their true identity. The Buchanan's house is symbolic of their ideals.

East Egg is home to the more prominent established wealth families. Tom's and Daisy's home is on the East Egg. Their house, a "red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay" with its "wine-colored rug[s]" is just as impressive as Gatsby's house but much more low-key (Fitzgerald 11)(13). East egg and Tom's home represents the established wealth and traditions. Their stable wealth, although lacking the vulgarity of new wealth, is symbolic of their empty future and now purposelessness lives together. The House also has a cold sense to it according to Nick. This sense symbolizes Tom's brutality, and as Perkins's says in his manuscript to Fitzgerald "I would know...Buchanan if I met him and would avoid him," because Tom is so cold and brute (Perkins 199).

Nick lives in West Egg in a rented house that "[is] a small eye-sore" and "had been overlooked"(Fitzgerald 10). Nick lives in a new-rich West Egg because he is not wealthy enough to afford a house in the more prominent East Egg. His house symbolizes himself shy and overlooked. Nick is the Narrator and also the "trust worthy reporter and, ...judge" that has ties to both the East and West Egg crowd(Bruccoli xii).