The Color Red in "Great Gatsby"

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 6084
  • Published : April 10, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
The color red has always been a symbol of sex, sin, passion, ambition, violence, carnage and in the case of "The Great Gatsby", the downfall of the American dream. Red is used to show an extreme emotion rather than intellectual ideas. Fitzgerald may use this ancient philosophy to show the lack of intellectual action in the mindless pursuit of the American dream. Fitzgerald uses the color of red usually contrasted with the stark whites, yellows, and grays of the novel to demonstrate the tinge of corruption and violence in the realm of the rich. Although the color red haunts the entire novel there are countless situations in witch the color red is a message to warn those away from chasing their American dream.

One of witch is in chapter one when Nick is reminiscing and setting the stage for the upcoming drama of the novel. He mentions these books upon his shelf on banking and investments. He says they shine like "new money" in their colors of red and gold, promising to unfold secrets. We know that gold symbolizes wealth and books the pursuit of knowledge. So in pursuing the American dream which is in many cases is wealth and a better life, you are bound to encounter sin. He uses it to tell us that any pursuit in the wealth direction will doubtless encounter corruption and sin. He may also use it to show how ambition and wealth go hand in hand, and that the American Dream is a selfish goal to be one of the rich.

Gatsby in the novel refers to himself as a collector of jewels, "chiefly rubies" his doing so leads us to the conclusion that he is the holder of much ambition and sin. As he is the main character that has achieved this American dream we can see that he compromised much to do so. When Nick first enters the world of the Buchanan's he is in awe of the bright red and wealth of the house. The house is a white house with a red inside. This symbolizes how pure and clean the rich appear on the outside but how twisted and corrupt they are inside. Much like...
tracking img