Character Revealing Color Imagery in the Great Gatsby

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Farzad Rafsanjani Sadeghi
ENG4U
01-12-2012
Character Revealing Colour Imagery in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is the story of a self-made, wealthy man named Jay Gatsby who tries to regain the love of an old flame, Daisy Buchanan, an upper class, now married girl. In this novel, imagery and symbolism are used to develop aspects of certain characters throughout the story. Colour imagery of green, white and gold provide contrast for the “Nouveau-Riche” character Jay Gatsby with established society (the old rich) and thus highlight differences and character traits. The physical description of objects, specifically by their colour, is seen consistently throughout the novel. The prevalent colour, however, is the colour green. The significance of this colour evolves as the story progresses but it mainly represents Gatsby’s hope. This can be inferred in the last sentences of the book that says: “Gatsby believed in the green light [at the end of Daisy’s dock], the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us” (Fitzgerald, 171). This seems to say that Gatsby never believed in giving up on taking Daisy back. He wished his dream to come true but, because of the social differences between him and Daisy, “the current would drag him away from the green light” no matter how much effort he put in. Furthermore, green represents money. When Daisy is invited to Nick’s for tea, “at two o’clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby’s” (81). This profuse display of Gatsby’s “Nouveau-Riche” money is conveyed through the colour green, to, once again, take Daisy back. Moreover, the colour green represents the future. “The moment that witnessed the beginning of [James Gatz’s] career” (94) involves him wearing “a torn green jersey and a pair of canvas pants”(95). It is not by coincidence that Gatsby is wearing green the day of his commencement in life, because the green represents once again hope for a future of prosperity, glory and money. Another...
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