F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby With Complex Symbolism Essay

F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby With Complex Symbolism Essay

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F. Scott Fitzgerald presents The Great Gatsby with complex symbolism. Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s as an era of decayed social and moral values as evidenced in its overarching cynicism, greed, and the empty pursuit of pleasure. He uses symbolism to illustrate the distorted and unattainable American Dream. In particular, the green light, the Valley of Ashes, and East and West Egg emphasize his theme that a corrupt and materialistic American Dream is unattainable.
One of the novel’s prominent symbols is the green light at Daisy’s dock, which symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams. The green light represents everything that haunts and beckons Gatsby : the physical and emotional distance between Gatsby and Daisy, the gap between the past and the present, the promises of the future, and the lure of other green materials that Gatsby craves, such as money. To Gatsby, the green light demonstrates his dream, which is Daisy. Fitzgerald, in narrator Nick Carraway’s voice writes “... he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way … I glanced seaward - and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald 25-26). The green light, described as ‘minute and far away,’ appears impossible to reach. However, it also represents society’s desire of the materialistic American Dream, which seems impossible to achieve. Carraway explains “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (189). Gatsby tries to do ever...


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...gg and West Egg together represent the ongoing divisions in society. East Egg is where the "real" aristocrats, those with old money and established credentials, live. West Egg is where the new money lives and is not considered as classy. The city is filled with people who are on an uninhibited, amoral quest for money, and pleasure. Additionally, the East is connected to the moral decay and social cynicism of New York, while the West is connected to more traditional social values and ideas.
In conclusion, symbols such as the valley of ashes, the green light, and East Egg and West Egg are crucial to the message that is delivered in Fitzgerald’s novel as it reveals how people, in their wealth, forget the real meaning of life. The people who are depicted in the novel are superficial and care only about themselves and do not think about the consequences of their actions.

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