Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

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Date Submitted: 09/08/2016 06:28 AM

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby critics have a lot of say about feminism, classism, racial supremacy, sexism, etc.; those controversial issues are brought out through the characters and their actions. However, one of the most significant components for which the novel is famous for and critics have evaluated is symbolism. It is very usual for a reader to find specific and distinctive things in the novel that could be a symbol; nevertheless the most simplest and plain things could serve as the most meaningful symbols, such as colors and cars that are frequently seen in the story.

Fitzgerald’s use of color is seen to create imagery in order to add more depth to the plot; however the author uses these colors for a more specific reason: they carry a significant undertone that precisely represent the characters and the environment they live in. As Nick Carraway first moves to the east and decides to pay a visit to his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, the reader is instantly hit with a very vivid description of the Buchanans and their estate. Nick is immediately astonished when witnessing the “white palaces of fashionable East Egg.” He is particularly intrigued by the “white mansion of the Buchanans, who dress in white and talk endlessly about the white race” (Elmore). The color white is used the most when it comes to characterizing the people of East Egg; the color white is known to represent purity, cleanliness, safety,etc., drawing to the conclusion that Daisy, Tom, and Jordan are pure and clean simply because they are white and rich.

Just as the town East Egg is exemplified by the color white, West Egg is represented by the color yellow. The most notable character, Jay Gatsby, lives in West Egg and is notorious for throwing the most extravagant parties New York has ever seen. What “figures prominently at Gatsby's parties is - the ‘yellow cocktail music,’ and the stage twins in yellow dresses who do a baby act; Gatsby's cars, too, are yellow, such as the...