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How Does F. Scott Fitzgerald Use Symbolism In The Novel 'the Great Gatsby.'

1339 words - 5 pages

F. Scott Fitzgerald uses much symbolism in his literature, here in the novel The Great Gatsby. He uses the image of Doctor T. J. Eckelburg's eyes to symbolize a godlike being. Fitzgerald uses the symbol of the two women in yellow at Gatsby's party to represent the values of the 1920's. The food provided at Gatsby's party symbolically represents the members of 1920's society. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses Symbolism in the novel The Great Gatsby as an accurate reflection of life in the American 1920's. In The Great Gatsby the symbol of T. J. Eckelburg's eyes represent a godly being watching over society. Fitzgerald incorporates the eyes into his novel to represent a pair of all seeing, all knowing and judging eyes, which are meant to intimidate. The character of George Wilson believes that the eyes are the eyes of God. "I spoke to her," he muttered, after a long silence. "I told her she might fool me but she couldn't fool God. I took her to the window- " With an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned his face pressed against it, "-and I said 'God knows what you've been doing, everything you've been doing. You may fool me but you can't fool God!' " Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night. "God sees everything," repeated Wilson. (p.167)Through Wilson's beliefs Fitzgerald explains that the eyes can see everything including Myrtle'sinfidelities. Myrtle is a typical person of the 1920's. She has put her own life and interests ahead of everyone else's including her husband's. The eyes of God are frowning down on the 1920's society. But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. The look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose...his eyes, dimmed a little by many painless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.(p.27-28)Through Fitzgerald's wording in describing the image of Eckleburg's eyes the reader develops a mental image of an omnipotent being who is constantly watching over the land. The reader discerns that the eyes not only see everything but that they eyes are morbidly unhappy. The use of the word 'brood' suggests that whatever the eyes are seeing has made their owner disappointed. This is Fitzgerald's way of indicating that the people of the 1920's are disgraceful and undignified because of their selfishness. People of the 1920's spent large sums of money on themselves, and they would attend parties where they didn't know the host. This type of behaviour is why the 1920's are known as a decadent era. The eyes not only symbolize a god-like being but also Fitzgerald himself and his negative views of 1920's society....

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