Color Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

Topics: Yellow, Color, Green Pages: 2 (685 words) Published: May 14, 2008
Color Symbolism in The Great Gatsby
Colors can often affect the mood and can emphasize the importance of certain events in The Great Gatsby. White, yellow, blue, and green affect the atmosphere of scenes through association with a specific mood. By simply stating a color you can set a whole mood to a scene instead of trying to explain the feeling of the situation which can prove to be very difficult in odd situations. When analyzed, the use of the specific color and its relevance can be identified.

The color white and light tones are associated with purity, innocence and benevolence. This idea proves to be true in The Great Gatsby when Nick describes the room in Tom’s house where Daisy and Jordan are introduced. Nick describes the room as “bright” (Fitzgerald 12) and the windows as “gleaming white against the grass” (Fitzgerald 12). Also Daisy and Jordan’s dresses were white when they were first described by Nick. Daisy and Jordan’s ‘girlhood’ is described as beautiful, innocent and white. The affect the color white creates is the impression of a pure, clean environment, and that Jordan and Daisy are the same.

Yellow is a representation of falsity and corruption of events or characters in The Great Gatsby. The significance of yellow is to show through imagery that not everything is as it seems. In the beginning of the novel, Daisy and Jordan are wearing white dresses, giving the illusion of purity. With the progression of the storyline, Daisy and Jordan’s clothes slowly change from white to a golden yellow as the characters impurities are revealed. “White traditionally symbolizes purity, and there is no doubt that Fitzgerald wants to underscore the ironic disparity between the ostensible purity of Daisy and Jordan and their actual corruption” (Schneider 146). Yellow is also used to describe Myrtle; her dress in the party scene is described by Nick as “cream colored” (Fitzgerald 35). “With the influence of the dress, her personality had also...
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