Great Gatsby Essay

960 words - 4 pages

Charles de AgustinMs. MitchellPeriod 5May 10, 2014The Great Gatsby EssayWhen identifying American literary classics, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is consistently one of the first to be named. Jay Gatsby is a young billionaire living in Long Island whose lone goal in life is to marry Daisy Buchanan, an ex-lover of his. Nick Carraway, the narrator and Gatsby's neighbor in West Egg, strives to help Gatsby with his ultimately unattainable dream, but to no avail. What might seem to be a rather simple plot is spiced up with Fitzgerald's blissful and unique style, which is often the reason for the book's wide celebration. More specifically, symbolism is incessant throughout: Fitzgerald uses colors as symbols in order to enhance the reader's deeper understanding of the story and characters.Arguably the most prominent colors used as symbols in the novel are gold and yellow. Among many other things, gold is a universal symbol of wealth and success (Parker). Affluence is constantly present in The Great Gatsby, an obvious example being Gatsby's parties: buffet tables are stuffed with "turkeys bewitched to a dark gold" (Fitzgerald, 40) and other meals of that caliber. Gold does not only stand for material worth, but also character. Jordan Baker is regularly associated with gold, being the golden girl of golf and Nick describing an encounter with her as having "(her) slender golden arm resting in mine" (Fitzgerald, 43). All this gold clearly describes Jordan on the surface as being well-off and successful; however, there must be more substance to her. This is where the symbolism of yellow becomes applicable. While yellow is usually associated with positivity and intellect (Parker), it is important to interpret its meaning relative to the presence of gold in the novel. This results in yellow possessing a far less posh connotation. Fitzgerald forces this relationship by putting the two symbols literally face-to-face when Jordan Baker, the golden girl, is approached by two admirers in yellow dresses. "You don't know who we are... but we met you here about a month ago" (Fitzgerald, 43). There is distinct difference in the presentation between the gold character and the yellow character. This link shows that wealth is only an ephemeral facade, hiding what is not as pretty underneath. Without Fitzgerald's use of these two colors, the reader would have struggled to truly comprehend the role of affluence in the novel.Another color used extensively in The Great Gatsby as a symbol is white. White is correlated with "innocence and purity" (Parker). Out of all the characters in the book, Daisy and Jordan are associated with white the most, usually in their clothing. However, their white dresses are described as "rippling and fluttering" (Fitzgerald, 8) early on in the novel, which is an intimation that their innocence is simply a weak disguise for corruption. White is also used when depicting the relationship between Daisy...

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