Colors Show The Themes Essay

3690 words - 15 pages

Yates 9Colors Show the ThemesWhat is the purpose of color symbolism in literature? F. Scott Fitzgerald uses many different colors in his novel, The Great Gatsby, to bring the themes to life. In the story, the main character, Jay Gatsby, attempts to re-create the past by altering his identity and accumulating riches. He feels that he must remake the past in order to win over his lost love, Daisy Buchanan, who married another rich man while Gatsby was away fighting in the war. The narrator of the novel is Gatsby's neighbor, Nick Carraway, who is connected with all the main characters, and has the ability to see the good in Gatsby. In the novel, Fitzgerald uses colors to visually connect the themes and show how each character obtains his or her dream. He uses white to symbolize innocence, yellow to symbolize the repercussions of gaining wealth, and green to symbolize hope.Different shades of white show purity, give false identities, and exemplify corruption. Pure white is often used in the story to represent purity and show the theme of innocence. The first time Nick introduces Daisy into the story she is with her friend, Jordan Baker. He focuses on how "they were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just blown back in after a short flight around the house" (Fitzgerald 8). Fitzgerald focuses on only the white color of the dresses showing their innocence and purity. Both these women are from a high class society and enjoy living a life of luxury. They both use pure white items to show off their wealth and portray that they have achieved their American dream. Part of Daisy's dream was to have a family, and this is why "it is particularly vital that Daisy have a child who resembles her--rather than Tom--and who dresses like her in white" (Goldsmith 19). It is significant that Fitzgerald focuses on the innocence of Daisy's child because the child needed to resemble her, instead of Tom's mean and harsh qualities. Daisy's child was the only pure thing in her relationship with Tom. Her child is the one thing in her life that she has control over. The innocent child is part of her American dream, and is the only good and innocent thing in Tom and Daisy's relationship. They often have problems in their relationship because of Tom's infidelity with a woman named Myrtle Wilson. When Myrtle is compared to Daisy, Fitzgerald focuses on "the elaborateness of Myrtle's gown" and in contrast only mentions "the whiteness of Daisy's dresses, underscoring the simple elegance Myrtle lacks" (Goldsmith 27). Fitzgerald shows the impurity of Tom's mistress by focusing on her cream colored overdone dress. Myrtle, who is in a lower class than Tom and Daisy, often tries to overcompensate by wearing elaborate dresses and pearls. But then again, no matter how hard she tries, she is always thought of as impure compared to the simplicity of Daisy's elegance. Compared to Myrtle's life, the Buchanan's seemed to be perfectly happy, however, this...

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