4 March 2012
Color Symbolism in The Great Gatsby
Authors often use color symbolism in their writing to show a deeper meaning. Often, these colors associate with a particular feeling of object. Fitzgerald is no different in his work, The Great Gatsby. It is discernible that Fitzgerald uses a multitude of color references in his writing. The ones most easily recognizable are the use of yellow, white and green. There are however, such colors as silver, blue and red that lack obvious recognition due to their vagueness in the text. Yellow is identifiable as money and white as purity, however, the full aspect of the meaning is lost.
White is the first color the Fitzgerald symbolizes through his writing. A strong contrast between light and dark shows whites in accordance with other colors (Schneider 1). The white represents the purity of Gatsby’s dream that mingles with darkness in the form of such people as Tom and Daisy. The Valley of the Ashes shows this contrast. In a world that is so grand, the American Dream is left to wallow in the true nature of humanity (Schneider 4). In the first chapter, where Daisy and Jordan first appear, “They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house"(Fitzgerald 12). Here Fitzgerald wants to underscore the irony between their visible appearance and their actual corruption. In this specific example, white symbolizes the airiness and buoyancy, and the fact that everything is surreal (Schneider 2).
In accordance with the symbolism of white and gold/yellow, Daisy is the most prominent character to which these colors apply. Daisy represents the white flower with the golden center (Schneider 3). In Gatsby’s eyes she is pure, but really her lifestyle revolves around money, which corresponds with the color gold. In the text there are many references to this such as, " Her voice is "like money"; she...
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