The Great Gatsby Essay

1188 words - 5 pages

The Great Gatsby is one of the most read pieces of literature throughout the current modern Western world. High school kids all across the globe must learn and read it as part of their curriculum. One of the aspects that makes this novel so notable is that Fitzgerald, at no point in the story, needs to convey to his audience the theme of his novel directly. The main points of his novel are brought out by the powerful symbols he infuses in the book. Not only does he use them to convey his theme, but also ties them in to the rest of the story. Every aspect of this book is affected by the presence of one of his symbols. Through the use of the green light, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, and the Valley of the Ashes as symbols, Fitzgerald is able to both develop plot and character and convey his theme throughout the novel.
The first symbol brought to the attention of the reader in The Great Gatsby is the green light that Nick Carraway sees Gatsby reaching for at the end of chapter one (Fitzgerald 21). This light ominously appears at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock. Fitzgerald uses this light to symbolize Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. As Gatsby’s main purpose in life is to win Daisy back, him reaching for this light is symbolic of Gatsby reaching for Daisy and trying desperately to reclaim the passion of their love (68). This quest for Daisy also represents the American dream of the Jazz Age, which is to become wealthy and famous. This effect is shown in Chapter 9 when Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation: “And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes-a fresh, green breast of the new world” (180). Nick means that the green light represents the ambitions of these men as it represents those of Gatsby. Foremost, however, this light greatly influences the characterization of Gatsby. In Chapter 1, when Gatsby reaches for the light, the reader becomes confused and does not know what to make of this strange man oddly extending his arms while no one is around. After understanding Gatsby’s past, though, and knowing what it is he is reaching for, the reader can deduce much about Gatsby’s character from this action. By reaching out for his dream, Gatsby shows his determination to win Daisy back; this solitary motion demonstrates his level of commitment to her. After realizing this, the reader can also begin to associate more of Gatsby’s actions, such as his gain of wealth, with the American dream because it is understood that the quest for Daisy is closely tied in with this theme (21). After this event with Gatsby, Fitzgerald chooses to focus on another peculiar object, Doctor T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes. It is this unusual amount of attention given to such a solitary entity that alerts the reader that a deeper meaning may exist...

Find Another Essay On The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Essay

1290 words - 6 pages The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “In the years immediately after the completion of The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald was unable to provide his art with any such endorsement” (Collins). Fitzgerald was unable to get his book published because of insufficient funds. According to Harris, “F Scott Fitzgerald wrote his greatest novel in France in 1924, having exiled himself in order to get some work done” (Harris). The best novel

The great gatsby: comparison Essay

598 words - 2 pages The characters of Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan have led dishonest, passionate lives which has ultimately brought upon their destruction. The Great Gatsby is filled with many conniving and sinful acts amongst the characters, they are portrayed mostly through the eyes of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan.Throughout the novel Jay Gatsby has indulged in illegal activity and has had multiple affairs with Daisy, he has not contributed positively to society nor

The Great Gatsby

732 words - 3 pages The American Dream of life, love, wealth and happiness is wanted by all, but only few will find it. The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and those who try to find it, roaring 20's style. Jay Gatsby wanted to be part of the rich. He wanted to live the American Dream. This dream is different for the many people in this book. Nick Carraway, a young mid westerner who moves to New York to learn the bond

The Great Gatsby

630 words - 3 pages "THE POOR SON OF A BITCH" The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, portrays the period known in American history as Prohibition (1919-1933) by focusing on three circles of people and how their worlds collide. The novel, narrated by Nick Carraway, gets its namesake from Jay Gatby, an affluent man known throughout the New York area aristocracy for his lavish parties. Gatsby and Nick enjoy a brief friendship before Gatsby is

The Great Gatsby

864 words - 4 pages How does The Great Gatsby characterise the impact consumerism is having on American Society? The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is set in America during the 1920s. This was a time of great change in American society. Following WW1 most Americans experienced a high standard of living. The war had led to advances in technology, these advances where then used to make household appliances, new technology helped women by

The Great Gatsby

1085 words - 4 pages The Great Gatsby In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby the narrator, Nick Caraway makes a statement that, in my opinion, reveals to the reader why the book is called The Great Gatsby. “They’re a rotten crowd” Nick shouted across the lawn to Gatsby “You're worth the whole damn lot put together.” I agree with Nicks statement because Gatsby has outstanding values that differ and set him apart from the other characters in the

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

841 words - 4 pages In the book The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald discusses Gatsby. Gatsby was a very strange and mysterious man. According to Doreski, “Gatsby was far from perfect in many ways but all in all it contains such prose as has never been written in America before” (Doreski). Gatsby always throws very fancy parties that everyone attends. “I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited

The Great Gatsby - 1037 words

1037 words - 4 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald opens The Great Gatsby with an epigraph, consisting of a poem, ostensibly written by Thomas Parke D’Invilliers. D’Invillier, a fictional character created by Fitzgerald, describes the advice given to a man to woo his woman of interests with materialistic things. This epigraph directly parallels the courtship of Gatsby and Daisy, as he uses his wealth to cultivate the past love, which was once at the core of their relationship

The Great Gatsby Analysis

1020 words - 5 pages ​F. Scott Fitzgerald, widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, has written novels and short stories, including The Great Gatsby. Portraying the Jazz Age and the Lost Generation of the 1920s, the Great Gatsby follows a cast of characters living in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. Jay Gatsby, the mysterious millionaire protagonist, holds an unwavering

Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

2929 words - 12 pages Illusions and Reality in The Great GatsbyAccording to Cynthia Wu, no matter how many critical opinions there are on The Great Gatsby, the book basically deals with Gatsby's dream and his illusions (39). We find out from the novel that Jay Gatsby is not even a real person but someone that James Gatz invented. Wu also tells us that Gatsby has illusions that deal with romance, love, beauty, and ideals (39). Wu also points out that Gatsby's

The Great Gatsby - 862 words

862 words - 4 pages Symbolism is the use of giving objects a representative meaning or to represent something other than what it truly is. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby we meet Nick Carroway, the novel's narrator. The novel describes the life of Jay Gatsby when Nick meets him. Daisy, Nick's cousin, is married to Tom Buchanan but is the love interest of Gatsby. Tom, though he claims to love his wife, has a mistress Myrtle. Myrtle and her Husband George

Similar Essays

The Great Gatsby Essay 680 Words

680 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby The "Twenties" was an exciting time in American history, when being a "flapper" and rebelling against the common say of society was all the rage. As in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby is a popular yet mysterious "flapper," whose image is created through the life of Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald portrayed his life, problems, and triumphs, through his image of Jay Gatsby. The correlations between the life of

The Great Gatsby Essay

1004 words - 5 pages anything in order to reconnect with those feelings—including reinventing himself. With the idea of reinvention, Gatsby is stuck in his own illusion and is not able to escape the idea of reliving a time that is already gone. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald delays the full character development of the mysterious Jay Gatsby in order to emphasize the revelation of his true nature—a man with an admirably strong belief of being able to recreate what has

"The Great Gatsby" Essay

548 words - 2 pages The narrator of "The Great Gatsby" is a young man from Minnesota named Nick Carraway. He speaks very highly of himself. He stated that he learned from his father to reserve judgment about other people because if he holds them up to his own moral standards he will misunderstand them. He is both highly moral and highly tolerant. He briefly mentions Gatsby, the hero of his story, when he represented everything he scorns, but he exempts Gatsby from

The Great Gatsby Essay 1082 Words

1082 words - 4 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is an arduous book to interpret particularly because of the style in which it is written. Readers must differentiate between the separate views of Nick Carraway as the narrator and Nick as a character, but without him, the story would lack balance and insight. Nick is both a shrewd and tolerant man who greatly represents the only sense of morality in the novel. His moral sense helps to set him apart