Great Gatsby & Symbolism

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (882 words) Published: April 6, 2011
The Importance Symbolism Portrays in The Great Gatsby
America of the 1920’s became characterized by World War I recuperation and led with a flamboyant attitude, by those who engaged in a carefree lifestyle.  Dancing, drinking and a general gangster mentality became typical of big city behavior.   In flagrant contrast, the small rural towns of the West existed as a more fundamental, moral-based society.  American authors found ways to capture the conflicting lifestyles in their novels. Flippant, irreverent characters come to life through imagery, symbolism, and parallelism. F Scott Fitzgerald stands as an exemplary writer who captured the essence of the roaring twenties into a book named The Great Gatsby. Instead of directly rebuking society of the time, he dives into the morality and unbridled yearnings of the men and women in his fiction.    F Scott Fitzgerald uses symbolism, in The Great Gatsby, to incite the readers’ emotions toward the increasingly immoral society through extensive use of color, contrasting locations and through various modes of transportation.

Colors facilitate the mood and tone throughout The Great Gatsby adding depth to the drama. For example, the author links the color yellow to death on several occasions. The big yellow coupé runs over Myrtle. The witness describes it to the police officer as “a yellow car… big yellow car. New” (Fitzgerald 141). Additionally, right before Gatsby goes swimming, Fitzgerald makes sure to mention that the yellowing trees were located in the background. “And in a moment [Gatsby] disappeared among the yellowing trees” (162). Daisy, by her name implies a yellow center. It should come as no surprise that she drives the car, which kills Myrtle. In these perilous examples, yellow warns of death’s advent. Furthermore, Fitzgerald associates the color red with some of his characters. When describing Tom and Daisy’s’ house, he mentions it being “a cheerful red-and-white…mansion”(6). Since Fitzgerald later...
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