The Great Gatsby is based on a man named Jay Gatsby and his
idealistic infatuation to a girl named Daisy that he met while he was young.
Gatsby was not of a wealthy family and therefore Daisy would not marry him.
Gatsby devoted his life to getting what he needed to win Daisy. After the
war Gatsby became a bootlegger to attain what he needed to win Daisy. In
the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses various colors, 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historical document depicting life in the 1920's. Like other writers of
the 20's Fitzgerald was fascinated by the spectacle of what had become of
the American Dream and how it had become corrupted by greed
At the end of Chapter One, Nick catches Gatsby stretching his arms
out towards a green light. At the time it is not revealed to us that this
is the light at the end of Daisy's dock.
he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far
as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I
glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light,
minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. (Fitzgerald
Throughout the novel Fitzgerald emphasizes the color green as a
promise of hope. Through Gatsby this promise is corrupted by the means
that he tries to attain it. By attaining material wealth to win Daisy,
Gatsby also shows the corruption of the American Dream.
In the beginning of Chapter Two, Fitzgerald describes the huge
billboard that watches over the Valley of Ashes.
The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic---their
retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a
pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose.
The gold or yellow rimmed glasses represent the materialistic
desire for money, and superficial wealth. The empty face represents the
hollowness of people and their materialistic values.
The billboard of Eckleburg also represents another symbol in the
novel. It stands for a empty and dead god.
In Fitzgerald's book, there is a new, but false god, who, the
people (in the person of Wilson) believe, "sees everything." In America in
the 1920s the new god was commercialism or materialism. (Audhuy 109)
The billboard represents the ignored conscience of the idealistic
people. Although it is there and "sees everything" the characters don't