The Great Gatsby- Color Symbolism

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The Power of Color Colors are used many different ways by many different people, but are used mainly as a reflection of the way one feels or his or her own personality. This idea is depicted through the different characters created in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, set in the post-World War I era. The novel evinces the major themes through the use and explanation of many diverse colors. Jay Gatsby, the most significant character in the story, leads a very materialistic lifestyle. Hoping to gain back his old love, Daisy, Gatsby uses his money to impress her, hopefully leading to their settling down together. Daisy's second cousin once removed, Nick Carraway, is the link that helps to connect Gatsby and Daisy. Nick "deliberately dedicates himself not only to observing Gatsby's action but to telling Gatsby's story" (Minter 82). However, Nick finds himself developing feelings towards Daisy's best friend, Jordan Baker. Although many feelings are being tossed around, colors create the misleading pretense of these characters. Through the use of colors, characters are uniquely portrayed, using gold and silver, gray and white, to show the truth behind their deceiving facades. One major theme of the story includes the importance and effect of money, which is symbolically, represented using the colors of money, gold and silver. Gold and silver both have a literal meaning of rich, happy, successful or valuable, which apply to all the characters in some sense. "After obtaining the wealth through corrupt means, he fulfill his 'incorruptible dream' by attempting to repeat the one golden moment of his life when he possessed that 'elusive rhythm...'(Inge and Solomon 3). Jay Gatsby happens to be that character. "A romantic dreamer, he believes that beauty and youth can be held forever if one only has enough money" (Fitzgerald-Infotrac 2). Every weekend, he throws a party at his own home, which is found to be a tactic to getting to Daisy. His parties always include many things that revolve around the colors of gold and silver, which symbolically represents the higher status of Gatsby. Included in his giant mansion, Gatsby has a buffet table with all sorts of food, counting "turkeys bewitched to a dark gold," and in "the main hall a bar with a real brass rail is set up," suggesting that he likes to display his wealth to all the affluent party-goers (Fitzgerald 40). Later in the novel, Gatsby requests that Nick invite Daisy to lunch at Nick's house. Gatsby wants to make a good impression on the superficial Daisy during this encounter, so he wears his best outfit, "a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold- colored tie" (Fitzgerald 84). Although his outfit is quite tacky, it is a perfect representation of Gatsby's materialistic personality. To achieve the friendship and love of the higher class, he depends on his money to help him out. "Fitzgerald...defines the quality of [Gatsby's] love affair...[by showing] it in itself as vulgar and specious" (Bewley 133). In addition to Gatsby revolving his life around his wealth, Daisy, too, seems to always be associated with money. "Daisy Buchanan is one of the true 'Golden Girls' of Fitzgerald's stories, the wealthy, hard-to-get debutante" (The Great Gatsby 5). While Gatsby is at war, Daisy tries to keep herself free from relationships with other men because she is in love with Gatsby. Soon, she feels the pressure of his being gone for so long. At night, the "Beale Street Blues [wailed] while a hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers shuffled the shining dust" (Fitzgerald 151). Even though Gatsby is gone, and Daisy is upset, she still has the sense about her to be happy. Included with this, at one of Gatsby parties, Daisy offers Tom "[her] little gold pencil," a small token of much larger wealth (Fitzgerald 105). Jordan Baker is also found being described using the color gold. One instance is at one of Gatsby's parties, when she has her "slender golden arm resting in [his]"...
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