Essay on Green Light in The Great Gatsby

Essay on Green Light in The Great Gatsby

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The Green Light in The Great Gatsby

  The image of the green light in the novel Great Gatsby, by F. Scott

Fitzgerald, is a significant symbol which reflects Gatsby's dream and other

aspects beyond Gatsby's longing.  Throughout the novel Fitzgerald uses many

other images or symbols.  At first, it may seem very basic, but when the

symbol is closely studied, one may see the deeper meaning found within it.

Fitzgerald uses these symbols to make a point across to the reader.  He

then uses this point and converts it into a deeper meaning, into a myth

about America.  The green light mentioned in the novel clearly represents

and is a prime example of this.


      Before examining the significance of the green light, one must

learn what a symbol is.  A symbol cannot be seen as a sign.  The two are

very different.  A sign is an object which signifies something else.  For

example, a green traffic light instructs drivers to proceed.  A symbol is

much more complex than this.  A symbol may also stand for something else as

seen in its simplest case.  A symbol sums up a large number of ideas and

attitudes.  The complexity of a symbol may be more intense than a sign

because it can have several meanings in different situations. (Beckson and

Ganz 207)


      The green light is first mentioned in chapter one of the Great

Gatsby.  Nick, the narrator of the novel, sees Gatsby curiously stretching

his arms out towards the water.  Nick went to see what Gatsby was looking

at and all he could see was "...nothing except a single green light, minute

and far away, that might have been the end of a dock."


      At this point in ...

... middle of paper ...

        the green light at the end of Daisy's dock....and his dream

        must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.

        He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere

        back in that vast obscurity beyond the city...



The main point in this quotation is that Gatsby could not get over his

dream.  Through this quotation and through close examination of the green

light, one may learn that the force that empowers Gatsby to follow his

lifelong aspiration is that of the "American Dream."  Fitzgerald, the

author of the novel, through Gatsby, was able to make this myth about

America and the American Dream of self-fulfillment.



Works Cited


Beckson and Arthur Ganz. AReader's Guide to Literary Terms. New York: The

Noonday Press, 1986.




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