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The Great Gatsby Color Symbolism Essay

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Words: 1195 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Words: 1195|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

The use of color in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, is a powerful tool to convey the themes and messages of the story. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald uses color symbolism to represent various aspects of the characters and their experiences. From the vibrant green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock to the opulent gold and silver of Gatsby's mansion, color plays a significant role in the development of the characters and the overall narrative of the novel. This essay will explore the symbolism of color in The Great Gatsby, examining how colors such as green, gold, and white are used to convey deeper meanings and themes. By analyzing the historical and social context of the 1920s, the debate surrounding the American Dream, and relevant theories about color symbolism, this essay will provide a comprehensive understanding of how color is used as a literary device in the novel. Ultimately, this essay will argue that color symbolism in The Great Gatsby serves as a reflection of the characters' desires, illusions, and the pursuit of the American Dream. Through the use of color, Fitzgerald creates a vivid and complex portrait of the Jazz Age and the disillusionment of the American Dream. The color green is a recurring symbol in The Great Gatsby, representing the illusion of the American Dream and the unattainable desires of the characters. The green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock is one of the most prominent uses of the color in the novel. It symbolizes Gatsby's longing for a future with Daisy, as well as the unattainable nature of his dreams. The green light is described as "minute and far away" and represents Gatsby's unreachable aspirations, as well as the illusory nature of the American Dream during the Jazz Age. Additionally, the color green is associated with money, wealth, and materialism, reflecting the excess and superficiality of the characters' lives. This is evident in the description of Tom Buchanan's car as "a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns." This lavish description of the car reflects the characters' obsession with wealth and material possessions, as well as their superficial values. Overall, the color green in The Great Gatsby serves as a symbol of the characters' unattainable desires, the illusory nature of the American Dream, and the superficiality of the Jazz Age society.

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The color gold is another significant symbol in The Great Gatsby, representing the wealth, opulence, and extravagance of the characters' lives. Gatsby's mansion is described as "a colossal affair by any standard... more than forty acres of lawn and garden, with a marble swimming pool and more than forty rooms." The use of gold and silver in the mansion's decor, as well as its extravagant size, reflects the characters' obsession with material wealth and excess. The lavish parties hosted by Gatsby at his mansion further emphasize the opulence and superficiality of the characters' lives, as well as their pursuit of pleasure and indulgence. Additionally, the color gold is associated with the illusion of the American Dream, as it represents the characters' pursuit of wealth and success as a means of attaining happiness and fulfillment. However, the superficiality and emptiness of their lives are evident in the novel's portrayal of the characters' decadent lifestyles and their lack of genuine happiness. Ultimately, the color gold in The Great Gatsby serves as a symbol of the characters' obsession with wealth and material possessions, as well as the illusory nature of the American Dream and the emptiness of their lives.

In contrast to the color green and gold, the color white is used in The Great Gatsby to symbolize innocence, purity, and the unattainable idealism of the characters' lives. Daisy Buchanan is often associated with the color white, as she is described as "gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor." This portrayal of Daisy as pure and unattainable reflects Gatsby's idealized vision of her, as well as the characters' pursuit of an unattainable perfection. Additionally, the color white is associated with the illusion of purity and innocence, as it represents the characters' desire to escape the corruption and moral decay of the Jazz Age society. However, the characters' pursuit of this idealized perfection ultimately leads to their disillusionment and the realization that their lives are empty and devoid of genuine happiness. This is evident in the novel's tragic ending, as Gatsby's dream of a future with Daisy is shattered, and the characters are left to confront the emptiness of their lives. Ultimately, the color white in The Great Gatsby serves as a symbol of the characters' unattainable idealism, the illusory nature of their desires, and the moral decay of the Jazz Age society. In conclusion, the use of color symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, plays a significant role in conveying the deeper themes and messages of the story. Through the use of colors such as green, gold, and white, Fitzgerald creates a vivid and complex portrayal of the characters' desires, illusions, and the pursuit of the American Dream during the Jazz Age. The color green represents the characters' unattainable desires, the illusory nature of the American Dream, and the superficiality of their lives. Gold symbolizes the characters' obsession with wealth and material possessions, as well as the emptiness and decadence of their lives. White is used to symbolize innocence, purity, and the unattainable idealism of the characters' lives, reflecting their desire to escape the moral decay of the Jazz Age society.

By analyzing the historical and social context of the 1920s, the debate surrounding the American Dream, and relevant theories about color symbolism, it becomes clear that color serves as a reflection of the characters' desires, illusions, and the pursuit of the American Dream. The use of color in the novel adds depth and complexity to the narrative, providing insight into the characters' motivations and the emptiness of their lives. Ultimately, the color symbolism in The Great Gatsby serves as a powerful literary device that enhances the reader's understanding of the characters and the overall themes of the novel.

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In conclusion, The Great Gatsby is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers due to its exploration of universal themes such as the pursuit of the American Dream, the illusion of wealth and success, and the moral decay of society. The use of color symbolism adds a layer of depth and complexity to the novel, allowing readers to engage with the characters' desires and illusions on a deeper level. Through the use of colors such as green, gold, and white, Fitzgerald creates a vivid and complex portrait of the Jazz Age and the disillusionment of the American Dream. The color symbolism in The Great Gatsby serves as a reflection of the characters' desires, illusions, and the pursuit of the American Dream, ultimately adding to the novel's enduring impact and relevance.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Great Gatsby Color Symbolism Essay. (2024, March 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-color-symbolism-essay/
“The Great Gatsby Color Symbolism Essay.” GradesFixer, 05 Mar. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-color-symbolism-essay/
The Great Gatsby Color Symbolism Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-color-symbolism-essay/> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
The Great Gatsby Color Symbolism Essay [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 05 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-color-symbolism-essay/
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