Symbols and Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Symbols and Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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Symbolism in The Great Gatsby


F. Scott Fitzgerald tried to accent the point that money does not breed happiness. Money causes people to become envious, greedy, and jealous. It compels people to show a persona of arrogance and creates a haze of fog in the air of the world around them. They begin to become oblivious of the outside world and think of themselves as a higher being. This causes lack of acceptance for their responsibilities. I thing the author was also trying to show us that sometimes one can hold on to a dream for so long, and try so hard to achieve it that it can leave you in misery instead of happiness. Creating the reverse of it's intent.

F. Scott uses a color scheme to show many emotions of characters in this story. The ultimate factor for almost every action within the story is money, the color green. This color shows the envy, greed, and jealousy that make up this story. Green is not only the color of money and the color most notably associated with greed, but it is also the color of the light on Daisy's dock. The same dock light that Gatsby spent so many nights gazing at. This is no coincidence, F.S.F. wanted to express to his readers the symbolism behind the color. Gatsby envied Tom because he knew that Daisy needed a wealthy man to take care of her. And as he was building his wealth, Gatsby would look over the lake toward that green light with envy and await the day he would be good enough for Daisy.

The use of white, in reference to Daisy's wardrobe, symbolizes her laziness and uselessness within the story. She is completely devoid of any knowledge of the outside world, always lost in pointless thought. Something that I found quite apparent was her obviously shallow, money grubbing motives. For example, when she is taken into Gatsby's home for a tour, she is shown Gatsby's beautiful imported shirts. Daisy begins to cry, saying that these shirts are so beautiful. But what she is really expressing is her envy and jealousy of Gatsby's new riches and all of his elaborate material possessions.

One form of symbolism that I found very interesting was Scott's use of the billboard ad containing the huge eyes of one Dr.

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T.J. Eckleberg. He makes reference to them as if they were the eyes of God, overseeing the ash heap.

When Daisy runs over Myrtle, killing her, she does not get upset, nor does she make any effort to turn her self in for the crime. She seems as though she is oblivious to what is happening, just as Tom had been when Wilson mentioned that he knew Myrtle was having an affair. I enjoyed this reference because it seemed to give hope that the real persons guilty of killing Myrtle will one day be brought to justice by God. As God is the one thing that Tom and Daisy cannot buy or run away from.
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