Assignment: The Great Gatsby

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A.P. English “The Great Gatsby” Symbol Assignment

Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Throughout the book “The Great Gatsby”, many symbols are introduced in order to illustrate the many relevant themes within it. One of the first symbols introduced in “The Great Gatsby” is The Valley of Ashes, “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air”. Gray, the most pertinent color within the valley, bears the feeling of sadness, boredom, and dreariness. This color reflects life in the valley because almost everyone and everything related to or living in the valley is described this way. The people, the houses, and the cars are all covered in ashes, making them physically gray which greatly contributes to the overwhelming feeling of somberness. When Tom and Nick arrive at the Wilson’s house “a gleam of hope” springs into George’s eyes and Myrtle has “an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering”. This shows that people from outside of the valley excite the ever-dreary inhabitants of the valley because they don’t carry the same gray façade. The Valley of Ashes symbolizes the moral decay and plight of the less fortunate hidden between the beauty of West Egg and New York. It symbolizes an aspect of the American Dream, the dream of finding fortune, fame, and true love, because it illustrates shattered illusions and the disappearance of dreams. East Egg and West Egg are brimming with people full of potential while The Valley of Ashes inhabits those with no hope in reaching this American Dream. In “The Great Gatsby” the color white is very significant. It symbolizes innocence, purity, and honesty. Although Daisy is always wearing...
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