Symbols Used in the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

Symbols Used in the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

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“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreat back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” (page 179) Nick figured this out late in his endeavors. In most cases, a strong desire towards unattainable things will lead to failure- like Gatsby, or corruption- like Daisy, Jordan, and Tom, which will ultimately lead to lifelessness and death. Fitzgerald uses green to symbolize unattainable desire, and in the book it leads to corruption and false purity. Then he uses gray to symbolize lifelessness, it is shown as a repercussion of corruption and hidden impurity. Altogether, these symbols emphasize the theme and that it can easily be related to today’s culture. It all starts with a desire.
Throughout the book there are many references that green symbolizes unattainable desire. James Gatz shows from an early age that he has the drive to make his dreams come true, which was shown through his ‘General Resolves’ on page 173. He was able to accomplish his goal of wealth which gave him all the more drive to go after Daisy. In the book, Gatsby’s desire for Daisy was represented by the green light at the end of her dock, “he (Gatsby) stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way… Involuntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been an end of a dock.” Later on in the book it is confirmed that it is Daisy’s green dock light, ”’If it wasn’t for this mist we could see your home across the bay’ said Gatsby (to Daisy), ‘You always have a green light that burns all night, at the end of your dock.” Jay built h...


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Shown throughout the book, if you desire something that leads to corruption your end result will be lifelessness, whether that is shown through death or just having a pointless life. This book is a timeless novel because all the themes and events will relate to any time period. The symbolism used in The Great Gatsby is used to emphasize the theme. Green, symbolizing desire, was shown in the book as Jay desiring Daisy. White, symbolizing false purity, was shown as a repercussion of wealth. Lastly, gray, being lifelessness, shown as product of being corrupt or desiring corrupt things. In today’s society there are many pure looking things that are falsely pure. Both fame and wealth today have the same repercussions as they did in The Great Gatsby- ultimately lifelessness. In conclusion, this book reveals that money and desire both strongly corrupt human nature.

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