The Color White: Dorian Gray

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The Significance of White: Doran Gray
Historically, the color white has been used as a motif of both life and death. For instance, white is the traditional color of wedding dresses in both western and Japanese cultures. White is used to symbolize purity in western culture weddings. On the other hand, white is used to signify the death of the old family and introduce the new family. In the novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of the most vital motifs is the color white. The meaning of this color develops as the novel progresses and corresponds in relation to the trajectory of Dorian’s character. Even though the motif never physically amends in appearance, it is successful in transforming its’ meaning entirely. Indicating the immense dissimilarity in Dorian from the start of the novel to the end.

In the opening of the novel, the color white is used to express Dorian Grey as a character of purity and youth. For example, while Basil is describing the first time he met Dorian, he says that, “When our eyes met, I felt that I was growing pale” (9.) This suggests that the color white resembles a kind of lucidity, as if Dorian’s righteousness eases all that he communicates with. Likewise, Lord Henry frequently describes Dorian’s youth as his, “rose-white boyhood” (21.) and, “the white purity of boyhood” (37.) In both quotations, the color white is used the resemble innocence of youth by pairing the word with “boyhood.” The color white gives Dorian’s appearance liveliness. For instance, Lord Henry notes that Dorian’s soul has, “Turned to this while girl and bowed in worship before her.” (58) The “white” in describing the girl (Sibyl) symbolizes a youthful transparency, one that is shared with Dorian. The motif’s significance has reached its highest level of goodness at this point of the novel.

As the novel progresses, the color white begins to take on another meaning. As an example, while Sibyl Vane was performing in “Romeo and Juliet” she was described by, “The...
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