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The Use of Symbolism in The Novel The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

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In this novel there is lots of reflection on symbolism, and especially colored symbolism. In this novel symbolism is a very important factor, it shows us the difference between the different characters and scenes in the novel. The color green influences the story a lot. Green shows many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and choices that Gatsby has throughout the story. White too plays an even more important role in the novel as it is used to represent some of the characters, it also talks about the drinking and the driving that happened, where the color green is more a symbol of the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. This sort of symbolism reoccurs in different places throughout the novel, especially with Gatsby.

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 calmness, as in everything is perfect. This warns Gatsby that he should not pursue his dream of getting Daisy back because his chance has passed and everything is as it should be. More than other colors in the novel such as gold or blue, with the exception of white, the color green influences the story greatly. Green shows many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and choices that Gatsby has throughout the story.

Another symbolization of the color green, is the meaning “go.” Where as in my first example the color green showed that Gatsby should leave well enough alone, in the this example the color green is associated to a traffic light signal where the color green is symbolic of the go action. You can also use this by 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, a sort of false 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.”

The last symbolization the color green has in this novel is an urge to move ahead in life, to do better in life and succeed. Gatsby changes his entire persona for what he thinks is a more sociable, image and status. He is constantly trying 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.” his dad says about him. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this….” Once again this takes us back to the color green being used to represent the action go in accordance with the character of Jay Gatsby.

One of the most important color symbolism scenes is the valley of ashes . It is one of the strongest wasteland images of the 1920 s. It symbolizes darkness and unhappiness, whereas if you compare it to one of Gatsbys parties there is a totally different aspect of the colors. Gatsby s parties are made up of bright, rainbow colors. This is the biggest difference in color symbolism.

The other significant color in the novel is the color white. Where green only connects with one character, white has a wider range on the characters. This color symbolizes one thing, a mask, 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. The color white in reference to Daisy seems to show the reader how in her presence everything, especially to Jay Gatsby, seems much purer. She also uses this persona of purity and childlikeness to escape accountability for her actions. “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….”

Color symbolism is not very noticeable, it is used to 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 taken compared to the ones the character chose, which adds dimension to the story. The green symbolizes 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. It allows the characters to portray themselves as a whole other person and hide who they really are.

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The Use of Symbolism in the Novel the Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. (2018, Jun 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from
“The Use of Symbolism in the Novel the Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.” GradesFixer, 18 Jun. 2018,
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