The Colors Of Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's Famous Novel

1951 words - 8 pages

F. Scott Fitzgerald is famous for the detail with which he crafted the quintessential American novel, The Great Gatsby. With his well-chosen words, Fitzgerald painted a fantastic portrait of life during the Roaring Twenties in the minds of his readers, a picture rich with color and excitement. Four colors: green, gold, white, and gray played key roles in the symbolic demonstration of ideas and feelings which, woven together seamlessly, made The Great Gatsby a world-renowned work of literary genius.
Some of the most well-known and intriguing symbolic imagery in The Great Gatsby comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of the color green. Fitzgerald used green primarily to represent two human traits in Gatsby: longing for things beyond one’s reach and hope for the future. The color green was first used symbolically as the character Nick Carraway returned from a party at the Buchanans’ house. He stopped before going into his home, seeing the mysterious Jay Gatsby in the distance. Carraway described Gatsby, saying, “…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 way…” (Fitzgerald 20). As revealed later in the novel, Jay Gatsby bought his house on West Egg in order to be near the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, the dock of whose house projected the green light mentioned by Carraway. Although Gatsby was so close to Daisy, he was unable to rekindle their romance because of her husband. The green light served as the manifestation of Gatsby’s desires, strong enough for him to gaze upon, but far enough away to retain its heart-wrenching intangibility. Thus, Fitzgerald’s use of the color green here symbolizes Gatsby’s fruitless longing. Although the green light elicited deep sorrow in Gatsby, it gave him a dream to pursue. With every glance at the emerald beacon reaching far over the water, Gatsby caught a glimpse of the future that he and Daisy could share. This hope for a better future is evidenced by Nick Carraway’s conclusion of the story, in which he said, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning…” (180). This description identifies Gatsby’s belief that the green light, while symbolic of the near unattainable good he sought, also represented the wonders that the future could hold. Gatsby held wild parties at his mansion for five years in hopes that Daisy, the subject of his unending love, would return to him. Even though this did not come to pass, Gatsby kept his resolve and continued to pursue the end that the green light represented. In a brilliant stroke of literary prowess, F. Scott Fitzgerald crafted his story such that the color green symbolized both Jay Gatsby’s yearning for a future that...

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