This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Symbols And Symbolism Essay Characters As Symbols In The Great Gatsby

959 words - 4 pages

Characters as Symbols in The Great Gatsby

    People hold different things to be symbolic. Dove and peace, a rose and love; they are simple things yet widely symbolic. Symbolism is commonly used in literature to change or deepen meanings or instill a different meaning to the mind of the readers. The reader is forced to think, make connections, and succeed in adding a new meaning to the novel. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses symbolism in the form of his characters and to develop the theme, the corruption of the American Dream.


All of the characters are symbolic of different classes in American society, from the richest to the poorest. Through the characters, Fitzgerald characterizes all the hopes and dreams of people living during the Jazz Age. As is typical of humans, none of the characters are satisfied with what they have. Each character wants more than what they are getting out of life. Tom and Daisy Buchanan represent "old money"; they seem to have it all: wealth, place in high society, a family, and all the advantages that come with being wealthy. On the surface they appear to be what the American Dream is all about; however, they are both dissatisfied with their lives, themselves, and each other. They are a classic example of the Dream's corruption because in spite of all they have, they are still seeking the true luxuries that each person wants from life: love, peace, and true happiness. Both Tom and Daisy are indifferent to the suffering hopes and dreams of all those around them. "They were careless people....they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money...and let other people clean up their mess" (Fitzgerald 188). A clear example of their carelessness is the fact that Daisy lets Gatsby take the blame for killing Myrtle. She conveniently forgets her "love" for Gatsby and leaves with a seemingly clear conscious. For an average person such as Nick Carraway, it would appear Tom and Daisy have everything; but they have nothing more than wealth and status. Perhaps Tom and Daisy realize money is not enough to live a fulfilling life but they are just too set in their ways to change. Their thoughts and actions expose the American Dream for what it has become, superficial and meaningless.


On the other hand, Myrtle and George Wilson strive for what Tom and Daisy already have: wealth and a place in high society. Myrtle and George represent the "poor" class. They symbolize the lowest rung of the social ladder and those who must actually labor for their money. Their lives are filled with what they believed...

Find Another Essay On Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Characters as Symbols in The Great Gatsby

Symbols, Symbolism, and Metaphor in The Great Gatsby

851 words - 3 pages Metaphors and Symbolisms in The Great Gatsby   In the novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses many different metaphors and symbolisms to express his point.  In this essay the point that I wish to make is how Fitzgerald uses colors to develop image, feelings, and scenery depiction to let the reader feel the emotions and other aspects being portrayed in that particular part in the book.    Like

Symbols and Symbolism - Heat as a Symbol in The Great Gatsby

1984 words - 8 pages Heat as a Symbol in The Great Gatsby         Symbolism plays an important role in any novel of literary merit. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald displays a superior use of symbols such as color, light, and heat. Fitzgerald’s superior use of heat as a symbol is the focus of this essay. “When F. Scott Fitzgerald turns on the heat in Gatsby, he amplifies a single detail into an element of function and emphasis that

Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby - Symbolism and the Truth

3915 words - 16 pages Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby - Symbolism and the Truth That Lies Between            Symbolism is a very important device in Fitzgerald's 1926 masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Different objects, words or actions symbolize different character traits for each person depicted in his novel. Through symbolism, Fitzgerald manages to describe three completely different aspects of the human life. He conveys the glittery, magnificent life

Symbols in "The Great Gatsby"

706 words - 3 pages There are numerous examples of symbolism exhibited in The Great Gatsby. The three which I believe to be the most prominent and most crucial to the development of the novel are: cars, the green light, and the Valley of Ashes.Automobiles in "The Great Gatsby" were, I believe, the most widely used symbol throughout the entire novel. Cars, especially Gatsby's car, represented the extravagance and grandeur of the Jazz Age. Nick describes it as "a

Symbols Used in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

1207 words - 5 pages , objects, and gestures as symbols to portray the lack of moral and spiritual values of people and the different aspects of society in the 1920's. The colors which are spread throughout the novel are green, white, gold, and others. F. Scott Fitzgerald provides a social commentary on the 1920's in this novel. The Great Gatsby is an important American novel and not just a mere historical document depicting life in the 1920's. Like

Symbols and Imagery in F. Scott Ftizgerald's The Great Gatsby

696 words - 3 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for his use of symbols and imagery throughout The Great Gatsby to illustrate his many ideas and themes. The green light is a symbol that seems to pervade the novel, taking on many meanings. The image of the green light is presented in Chapter 1, as Gatsby extended his arms to the “single green light” at Daisy’s dock as if it were some sort of religious icon. Jordan also confirms this sense of idolization when she

Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Use of Symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

920 words - 4 pages Use of Symbols in The Scarlet Letter       In World Book Dictionary, a symbol is defined as something that stands for or represents something else, especially an idea, quality, or condition. Symbols can be objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent ideas or concepts. In the novel The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many symbols that are throughout the novel. While symbols can be

The Great Gatsby: Symbols of Location

812 words - 4 pages always hold a connotation, whether good or bad it influences members of society to treat that individual differently. In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the location West Egg represents new money, since most of its residents made their wealth fairly recently. Of East and West Egg, Society considers West Egg to be “the less fashionable of the two” (Fitzgerald 5). Although Nick Carraway, the narrator, states he lives in West Egg he lives in an

Nick's role in the Great Gatsby along with the Fitzgeralds use of symbols and techniques

635 words - 3 pages The Great GatsbyThe novel "Great Gatsby" can be described as a series of events as seen through the eyes of a central figure around which the story takes place. This novel represents a materialistic society where success is equated with wealth and where the American dream is an object of desire for all people who wish to live a better life.Nick Carraway plays the vital role of the narrator, but in spite of this he is also seen as the role of a

Symbols in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

874 words - 4 pages Unlike a multitude of other books that use many obvious symbols to help characterize its characters, such as the use of the green light in The Great Gatsby, Jane Austen makes use of something starkly different. In her book Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen uses her setting to illuminate certain characteristics of the characters in her book. This is most evident in Darcy, whose house at Pemberley brings out Darcy’s tendency to break from social

symbolaw Symbols and Symbolism - Birds as a Symbol in The Awakening

621 words - 2 pages Birds as the Symbol of Bondage and Freedom in The Awakening Birds that are enclosed in cages indicate solitude and bondage; those that roam in the open air above the seas represent freedom and happiness. The captivity or freedom of these animals is the symbolism that Chopin uses to illustrate the captivity Edna experiences from society and the freedom she desires.  Through this vivid bird imagery in her novel The Awakening

Similar Essays

Symbols And Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

539 words - 2 pages Symbolism in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby is filled with symbols and symbolism, which try to convey Fitzgerald's ideas to the reader. The symbols are uniquely involved in the plot of the story, which makes their implications more real. There are three major symbols that serve very important significance in the symbolism of the novel. They are "the valley of the ashes," the reality that represents the corruption in the world, the

Use Of Symbols And Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

1326 words - 5 pages Symbolism plays an important role in any novel of literary merit. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses symbols to portray events, feelings, personalities and time periods. Throughout the narrative, Fitzgerald uses strong contrasting symbols such as West Egg and East Egg. His superior use of other predominant symbols such as color and light are also evident throughout the novel. The story begins as the narrator, Nick

Use Of Metaphor, Symbols And Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

1327 words - 5 pages girlhood" and is constantly "dressed in white"               The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are yet another piece of symbolism in "The Great Gatsby" They are probably the most complicated symbol to understand. They are first revealed in chapter 2 as a set of eyes that were "blue and gigantic- their retinas are one yard high" They are always there, watching, silently judging. Later in the novel Wilson becomes convinced that they are the eyes

Symbols And Symbolism In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

620 words - 2 pages Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Symbolism is able to produce immense emotions. Fitzgerald applies symbolism to three of the most significant characters in "The Great Gatsby" to illustrate incisive sentiments. Fitzgerald's description of Tom Buchanan's colossal house signifies Tom and his values. The red and white colors of the Buchanan's mansion represent Tom's personality. Red customarily exemplifies impurity and boldness, while