The use of colour in the Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald uses colour throughout the novel to create ideas and personify events with an emotion or idea. A good example of this is the colour green. Green represents envy and greed, and Gatsby frequently looks towards the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. This represents his longing for Daisy. The green light represents the American dream and achieving your goals, which in itself is greed. Gatsby looks longingly at the green light – ‘he stretched out his arms longingly towards the dark water’ showing that for Gatsby, despite being very wealthy, can never achieve his dreams unless he has Daisy. This is later also shown when Daisy and Gatsby are together and he points to the green light, but it is then shrouded in mist, showing that the future is uncertain but he may have succeeded in his dream ‘If it wasn’t for the mist we could see you house. You always have a green light.’ The colour gold represents notions of wealth and success. ‘Jordan's golden arm rested in mine’. Gold can also thus represent east egg, with Gatsby looking at it in envy, hence the green light that Gatsby sees whilst looking at it. The colour grey is used to show something is dull and uninteresting – ‘grey little villages in France’. It can also show a contrast between the gold colour of the wealthy east egg, such as with Wilson - "mingling immediately with the cement colour of the walls. A white ashen dust veiled his dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity – except his wife, who moved close to Tom’. It can also represent the moral and social decay that results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure. This is shown where the valley of ashes, which is the output of industrial capitalism, is frequently described as grey. The colour yellow is used to suggest a counterfeit image of the east egg gold. For example, when two girls admire Jordan, they...
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