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Symbolism In "The Great Gatsby" By F Scott Fitzgerald And "The Glass Menagerie" By Tennessee Williams

1759 words - 7 pages

Symbolism is an invaluable literary tool that may be employed by authors or playwrights to aid in the development of characters or to display themes in novels and plays. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses symbolism heavily in his text "The Great Gatsby", as does Tennessee Williams in "The Glass Menagerie". Various symbols appear throughout the respective texts that allow the reader to gain insight into character's personalities and also add value to major themes and ideas in the texts.F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is a text that is reflective of the Period in which it was written, the 'roaring' twenties. It was written in America during the mid-1920s, a time of moral decadence and feelings of complacency following the conclusion of the Great War. On the surface, the text appears to be about love, wealth and power, yet this first impression does not do justice to the text's many complexities and hidden depths. The text also explores corruption, idealism, faith and the illusions of dreams through the use of a variety of images and symbols. Primarily, "The Great Gatsby" deals with the corruption of the great American Dream, personified by Jay Gatsby, a dreamer intent on procuring the attentions of his long-time love Daisy Buchanan at any cost. The American dream offers faith in the possibility of a better life. The main theory behind the dreams is the belief that material wealth alone can bring that dream to fruition, and to this concept, Gatsby was "faithful to the end".For American's the car symbolises wealth and social status. Therefore it is suited for Gatsby to own one of the most majestic cars ever created. The car is yellow, a colour Fitzgerald uses repeatedly throughout to represent corruption and extravagant wealth. The use of the symbolic automobile can be seen as a demonstration of how an ideal based on materialism alone can be destructive. This was the fatal car that kills Myrtle Wilson, a woman lacking in self-respect who craves attention and wealth, whose death indirectly leads to Gatsby's own demise.Appearance is another important factor of Gatsby's dream. In his quest to win Daisy's heart Gatsby chooses to wear his best outfit. "...the front door opened nervously and Gatsby in a white flannel suit, silver shirt and gold coloured tie hurried in" . Fitzgerald uses silver and gold to symbolise wealth and excessive consumption sporadically throughout the text, yet the reader gets the impression that 'all the glitters is not gold'. Gatsby's material possessions mean nothing to him personally, but are symbolic of the man he has become, a man worthy of the attentions of Daisy. In fact, Gatsby rates his belongings "according to the measure of response it drew from her [Daisy's] well loved eyes".Like Fitzgerald, Williams also uses colour as a symbol to portray key ideas in his text "The Glass Menagerie". Written in 1945, the play itself is set in the mid 30's, where America is discovering itself, recovering from recession and nervously...

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