Symbolism and Imagery in Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald uses many different variations of literary devices to portray the corruption of the American dream in The Great Gatsby. He portrays the American dream as a goal to gain wealth and show it off extravagantly to gain social class. Fitzgerald successfully integrates symbolism and imagery into the novel to express his views of the American dream.

An integral part of The Great Gatsby was the symbolism Fitzgerald used to get across his view of the corrupt American dream during the 20's. The "pile of shirts" (Fitzgerald 97) that Gatsby shows Daisy is a significant symbol that refers to the corrupt American dream. Gatsby is trying to impress Daisy with his fine collection of silk shirts. The shirts are a symbol of luxurious living and showing off of money. East Egg and West Egg are important to the story as well. East Egg is a symbol of old money while West Egg is a symbol of new money. People in West Egg have had money in their family for a while. As a result, they are arrogant and snobbish. These are strong characteristics of the corrupt American dream. Lastly, Gatsby's house serves as a symbol. When Nick sees Gatsby's house, he refers to his own house as an "eyesore" (5) because Gatsby's house is a grand mansion. His house is a symbol of his excessive, illegal income. The house reveals Gatsby's trait of vulgarly getting attention. This makes him fit the definition of pursuing the corrupt American dream. One of the more important literary devices Fitzgerald uses in The Great Gatsby is imagery. He uses it to convey his message about the American dream. When Fitzgerald describes Gatsby's library, Owl Eyes notices that Gatsby "didn't even cut the pages" (Fitzgerald 50) of all the books in the library. This shows that Gatsby simply attained the collection of books to show off his wealth. Fitzgerald insinuates that the whole purpose of the library is to let others know the power of his wealth. This behavior was the norm of the...
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