The Great Gatsby Symbolism Essay

1039 words - 4 pages

The Great Gatsby is a novel that took place in New York in the 1920's. This novel is known for the admirable symbolism that shows how mankind and wealth was. Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Some examples of symbolism in The Great Gatsby are the valley of ashes, the eyes, colors, flowers, the green light, and East/West.The Valley of AshesThe Valley of Ashes is located half way between West Egg and New York, this is where Myrtle (Tom's mistress) and her husband Wilson live. The Valley is where all of the debris and garbage went from New York. The Valley symbolizes the moral decay that Fitzgerald saw behind wealth and happiness. The Valley is the poor part of the New York where all but good happens, this is where Myrtle is killed in a car accident and where Wilson finds out his wife is having an affair.Quote: "This is a valley of ashes--a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and raising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air." (pg. 27, The Great Gatsby)Dr. TJ Eckleburg's EyesThe eyes of Doctor Eckleburg are in the Valley of Ashes, it is a deserted landmark, a billboard with an advertisement for an optometrist (eye doctor). Fitzgerald uses the eyes to symbolize god staring down upon and judging American Society as a moral wasteland, a decay of humanity and the meaningless garbage that there lives became.Quote: "The eyes of Doctor TJ Eckleburg are blue and gigantic...they look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles." (pg. 27, The Great Gatsby)The Green LightThe green light is at the end of Daisy's dock (in East Egg) and barely clear from Gatsby's lawn (in West Egg). The green light represents Gatsby's hopes and dreams for the future. It is Gatsby's guiding light to his long life goals, what he wants to accomplish in his lifetime. Green means "go", it implies that Gatsby and Daisy are meant to be together and nothing should stop Gatsby from his fate, his happiness and love with Daisy. The Green Light gives Gatsby hope that he is on the right path, leading to the best years of his life.Quote: "I'm going to fix everything just the way they were before." "She'll see". (pg. 117, The Great Gatsby)ColorsColors have always represented things over the years, today they represent different things then they did back in the 1920's. Today yellow means happiness, red represents love, green represents envy, blue means life or trust, and black represents the end or death. In the novel yellow represents decay, corruptness, and dishonesty. Red represents blood or death, green means to hope or to go for something, white represents purity or innocence, and grey means lacking life or spirit. The colors referred to the most describing emotions or feelings are green and white. In the novel the...

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