F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, captures a fine description of how life was in America during the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age signaled an end to traditional American values and a movement towards new ones. The purpose of The Great Gatsby was to show how traditional American values were abandoned and how the pursuit and desire for wealth could lead to the downfall of one’s dreams and goals in life. Happiness obtained from money is only an illusion, money has the power to corrupt and obscure one’s mind and lead one down the path of failure and misery. By using symbolism, imagery, and character personalities and traits, F. Scott Fitzgerald manipulates language to fulfill the purpose of The Great Gatsby.
First of all, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses many pieces of symbolism throughout The Great Gatsby. Three examples of symbolism are the valley of ashes, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, and Daisy’s voice full of money. Fitzgerald uses these three examples to depict the desire for money and its effects on people during the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald states in The Great Gatsby, “This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens…and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight” (23). This eerie and gloomy description of the “valley of ashes” symbolizes the deterioration of moral and social values in America. Wealth is on the top of everyone’s list and they are abandoning a social culture and leaving in to perish in ruins. Another example of symbolism would be the green light on the dock. Nick Carraway states in In the Great Gatsby, “…he [Gatsby] stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling” (20-21). The green light on the dock symbolizes Jay Gatsby’s dream. Gatsby’s dream is to be with Daisy. Gatsby...
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