Honors English 3
October 31, 2014
The Great Gatsby is loaded with different types of symbolism which has to do with colors and objects and makes the reader have to infer or contextually figure out. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. Fitzgerald uses this idea of symbolism throughout the entire book. The major examples of symbolism in the book are The Valley of Ashes which represents the poor and hopeless, The Green Light which represents Gatsby’s dream of being with Gatsby and The Eyes of T.J. Eckleburg which represent God or the growing industries of America. Symbolism is very important in this book. The characters characteristics are depicted through objects colors and phrases. You have to look deeper into the book and look at it abstractly instead of simplistically. Fitzgerald uses this symbolism to portray things deeper than they seem.
The Valley of Ashes shows you the way the other half lived during the Roaring 20’s. “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills
and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already
crumbling through the powdery air…The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by a small
foul river, and, when the drawbridge is up to let barges through, the passengers on waiting
trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour.” (Fitzgerald 26). This quote clearly describes the setting of the Valley of Ashes. All the people who live in The Valley of Ashes want to leave but they can’t so they have to labor and work for a living. This shows how the “American D...
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... get their money like the people of West Egg and East Egg. They still work to achieve that dream but it is evident that they will never accomplish it.
To conclude the Great Gatsby can be considered a symbolic book. Most things in the book have more meaning than to what they actually are. You have your own opinion of how the symbolism is depicted. Symbols like The Valley of Ashes, the Green Light, and the Eyes of Dr. Eckleburg are only three of the many examples of symbolism within the novel. The Great Gatsby uses this in order to get points across without actually telling you. When you look at certain things in the book you can’t just skim across it and keep reading you have look deeper into the text and use context to figure out the actual meaning. So as Fitzgerald says “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”(Fitzgerald 180).
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