Symbols in the Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald uses many symbolic devices to convey the thoughts and motifs of the 1920s. This symbolism is seen in the green light on Daisy's dock, the billboard on the side of the highway, colors, and the library in Gatsby's house From a distance, Gatsby sees a green light on Daisy's dock. This light represents the pursuit of the American Dream as well as a symbol of new wealth and life. His dream ends tragically, however, after being exposed to the corruption and violence that were a result of prohibition. Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West Egg lawn, the green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter I he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. In Chapter IX, Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation. The green light can also be associated with money, greed, and lust; all which Gatsby is very known for. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes. They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland. The connection between the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg and God exists only in George Wilson’s grief-stricken mind. This lack of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature of the image. Thus, the eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people invest objects with meaning. Nick explores these ideas in Chapter VIII, when he imagines Gatsby’s final thoughts as a depressed consideration of the emptiness of symbols and dreams. Fitzgerald uses a gradual change in color to show the symbolism of the car used by Gatsby. At first, Gatsby's car is a cream color, but it soon...
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