Symbolism adds meaning and requires readers to think deeper about the story. It gives objects more than just their physical meaning. The Great Gatsby utilizes the use of symbolism extremely well. Without this use of symbolism, the story would have no meaning at all. The symbols are what help move this story. Symbols in The Great Gatsby such as the eyes of Doctor, T.J. Eckleburg, the green light, the Valley of Ashes, Gatsby’s Mansion, and Owl Eyes all play important roles in the novel.
The billboard of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg symbolizes God watching over everyone. The characters in the novel feel this way, because they believe that the eyes on the billboard are always watching them the same way God watches over everyone. When Eckleburg is first described, it talks about how the eyes are blue and gigantic and how the retinas are one yard high. While still discussing the eyes, it says, “They look out of no face, but from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose,” (p. 23) Then in chapter eight is when the comparison to God is made. After George Wilson’s wife was struck and killed by a motor vehicle, Michaelis was standing behind George and noticed that he kept staring into the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. George then said, “God sees everything,” (p.160).
This god-like symbol given to Doctor Eckleburg fits perfectly in the desolate wasteland known as the Valley of Ashes because it also signifies false hope. Although characters in the novel compare the billboard to God, it represents more of a false god, because of what the Valley of Ashes symbolizes. For example, one article compares Doctor Eckleburg to Moloch, a false god in the Old Testament of the Bible. It states that, “Moloch had ...
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... Eyes was full of wisdom. In the book, Owl Eyes states that he was brought to Gatsby’s party by a woman named Roosevelt. This statement could mean that Owl Eyes is somehow associated with Theodore Roosevelt. He started many national parks and favored conservation, actions which summon up greenness and growth in direct contrast to Doctor Eckleburg and the Valley of Ashes. This does not mean that Owl Eyes was Roosevelt. It just means that the men had similar characteristics.
Symbols create a deeper story rather than just seeing the bigger picture. They break things down and allow one to focus more on the smaller details and force the reader to think outside the box. Symbols in The Great Gatsby allowed the story to move along smoothly without going into too much detail and straying away from the main idea of the story, while at the same time creating a deeper meaning.
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