Fitzgerald, Scott: The Great Gatspy, Symbolism Essay

The Great Gatsby symbolism essay.

By: Kristin
The Hidden Story in Green and White
Color symbolism is really popular in novels written during the 1920’s.
One such example is Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. There is much
color symbolism in this novel, but there are two main colors that stand out
more than the others. The colors green and white influence the story
greatly. Green shows many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and choices that
Gatsby has throughout the story. White represents the stereotypical fa?ade
that every character is hiding behind.
The color green, as it is used in the novel, symbolizes different choices
the character, Gatsby, can make during his life. The green element in this
novel is taken from the green light at the end of the dock near Daisy’s
house. The color itself represents serenity, as in everything is perfect.
This warns Gatsby that he should not pursue his dream for getting Daisy back,
because his chance has passed and everything is as it should be. This is
shown with Nick’s insight, “?His dream must have seemed so close that he
could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind
him? (Pg.189)”
Another symbolization of the color green, which contradicts the first, is
the meaning “go.” As in a traffic light signal, most people associate green
with the word and action “go.” This can be interpreted as meaning Gatsby
should go for his dream without hesitation. It implies that Gatsby and Daisy
are meant to be together and nothing should stop Gatsby from his destined
happiness and love with Daisy. It inspires hope for Gatsby that he is on the
right path, heading towards the best years of his life. He believes that
things will soon be as they once were, only better. “”I’m going to fix
everything just the way they were before,” he said nodding determinedly.
“She’ll see.”(Pg. 117.)”
The last symbolization the color green has in this novel is an urge to strive
ahead in life, to do better in life and succeed. Gatsby changes his entire
persona for a better, more sociable, image and status. He is constantly
striving to be a more successful figure in society. Ever since he was a boy
he put himself on a schedule with hopes for becoming a highly respected,
well-known person. “He knew he had a big future in front of him. (Pg. 181),”
his dad says about him. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some
resolves like this?(Pg. 182).”
White is the other color symbolism interlaced into this novel. Where green
only influenced one character, white has a wider range of influence on the
characters. This color symbolizes one thing, a fa?ade, but it appears in
every character. For example, Daisy is always seen wearing white, which
gives her and innocent naive appearance. It is as though she uses that as an
excuse for when she does something ridiculous or childish, making it seem
like she does not know any better. In reality, she knows exactly what she
does but just doesn’t care. She uses this little princess image and her
money to hide her biased, snobbish, and conceited view of herself and her
lifestyle. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy–they smashed up things
and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast
carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together?(Pg. 187-188).”
Another character that hides behind the white symbolic fa?ade is Jordan
Baker. She also wears white quite often. She acts as though she is superior
to everyone around her. Her posture, her attitude, and even the things she
says imply this arrogance. “She was extended full length at her end of the
divan, completely motionless and with her chin raised a little as if she were
balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me she
me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it-indeed I was almost
surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in.
(Pg.13).” She portrays a bored and apathetic attitude about everything,
which is part of her “I am too good for you” appearance. In reality, she
just wants to be as respected and socially accepted as Gatsby. She is not
willing to take responsibility for her actions and uses her image as a guard
implying that she could not have possibly done anything immoral, much like
Daisy. However, “She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure
being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I suppose she had begun
dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep the cool
insolent smile turned towards the world and yet satisfy the demands of her
hard jaunty body. (Pg. 63).”
Color symbolism is not very noticeable, yet it can tell a great deal about a
story. In this case, the colors give the reader a look at the character’s
choices and the paths he or she could have chosen compared to the ones the
character chose, which adds dimension to the story. The green the different
choices Gatsby can make, whether it serves as a warning, an inspiration, or
an urge to get ahead. The white symbolizes a mask, or a fa?ade. It allows
the characters to portray themselves as a whole other person and hide who
they really are. This puts a piece of reality into the story, as everyone
wears a white mask of some kind to hide his or her true self from the world.
It is the unsubtle clues given to the reader that are fascinating and allow a
person to relate to the characters.

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