Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

Topics: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby Pages: 5 (1680 words) Published: November 9, 2010
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays the theme of corruption and deception throughout the novel. Not only in Fitzgerald’s characters but also corruption of the American Dream. He illustrates how the rich society of which Daisy and Tom belong will soon be destroyed by cheating. Although in the past people have turned the other cheek to this sort of disturbance, Fitzgerald shows that will no longer be the case. The foreshadowing becomes truth when Gatsby and Daisy’s affair is acknowledged by Tom, Daisy’s husband. This theme of corruption continues in a passage about Gatsby’s death. Daisy is also another major symbol in the novel. She is very important to Gatsby, which makes her important to the novel. She is seen as a symbol of wealth, a broken dream, and also as the perfect woman. She has a charm about her that make men dream about her. There is also the use of the colors blue, green, white and yellow. These colors are seen frequently throughout the novel and are used to symbolize many different things.

By using a depressed tone, Fitzgerald changes the reader’s perspective of objects that were once held beautiful. How miserable is Gatsby when he, “Found what a grotesque thing a rose is” (Fitzgerald 169)? A rose is ordinarily shown as a sacred, beautiful, and perfect object, but Fitzgerald illustrates it as “grotesque”. The author expresses the horrible way in which his character is viewing the world. Gatsby realizes, “How raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass,” which is not an effect sunlight customarily reflects (Fitzgerald 169). When the reader reads those pessimistic lines, they understand that it is the last moments of Gatsby’s life. Since his thoughts are so miserable, it creates a scene where he has no one left to live for.

Fitzgerald’s use of imagery creates an understanding of how Gatsby’s affair with Daisy played out. Gatsby was always, “Breathing dreams like air,” when it came to Daisy (Fitzgerald 169). He was never willing to move on and start again. Gatsby truly, “Paid a high price for living too long with a single dream” (Fitzgerald 169). Gatsby would never give up Daisy, and he died for her, even though she wasn’t really worth it. Fitzgerald’s line, “A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden,” was expressing Gatsby’s affair with Daisy in Tom’s eyes (Fitzgerald 170). Gatsby was the “small gust of wind” that disturbed Daisy and Tom’s marriage for just a moment. Gatsby and Daisy’s affair was the “accidental burden” in Tom and Daisy’s relationship. This affair was a, “Faint, barely perceptible,” (Fitzgerald 170) part of their lives that they would recover from shortly.

Corruption of the American Dream can be seen in the character of Jay Gatsby. He appears to be a self-made wealthy man, but it was in unfair ways that he made his money. He was a bootlegger and that was how he finally became wealthy. One of the main reasons that Gatsby is so concentrated on achieving material wealth is so that he can rekindle the love that he once shared with Daisy. Daisy is very materialistic; in fact her whole relationship with her husband Tom is about money and not happiness. Gatsby’s interpretation of the American Dream is that he will become a charming man who is extremely successful and prosperous and wins the love back of the “beautiful damsel in distress.” Gatsby throws excessive parties to try to impress Daisy. He tries to live out his dream of being reunited with her, and reliving the past relationship that they shared.

Although Gatsby reached his goal of becoming affluent and influential, he still felt that there was something missing. Gatsby had everything that he wanted, except for love. He tried everything in his power to rekindle the past and bring back Daisy’s love, but he failed to do so. His dreams were crushed when he asked Daisy to admit that she had never loved Tom, and she...
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