Color Symbolism in Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 2 (871 words) Published: October 30, 2006
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is full of symbols and symbolic ideas. Fitzgerald portrays important messages in the novel by his symbolic use of color, names, places and characters. A lot of important messages in the novel are conveyed by color symbolism. Colors are an important part in Fitzgerald's description of the lives of Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway and the other characters. The color grey is used to descbribe the valley of ashes which lies between West Egg and New York, "…grey cars… grey ashes… the grey land" (27). The color grey conveys the feeling of lacking spirit and dreariness. This area was where men worked tirelessly in the ashes, and people saw this area as dirty and low-life. Mr. Wilson, the husband of Tom's lover, Myrtle, is a handsome but lifeless man who is described as gray by the ashes in the air. The gray on him symbolizes the lack of life spirit that he has. White is frequently used in the Great Gatsby as a symbol of innocence. Daisy's tendency to wear white makes her seem innocent and almost naïve. In reality though, Daisy has a very selfish view of the world around her. The color green is also very symbolic of hope in the novel. Gatsby picks out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock, and sees it as his goal. He works his whole life toward gaining Daisy back, and the light on her dock makes her seem attainable. Green to most people is symbolic with "go". This symbolic idea can be taken as Gatsby should go for Daisy, and not stop until he reaches his happiness and love with her. Green also symbolizes the motivation to succeed and be wealthy. Gatsby makes drastic changes in his life in his pursuit of success, happiness and wealth. He changes his name and his history to become successful and to eventually make Daisy part of his life, "James Gatz-that was really, or at least legally his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career…"...
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