Great Gatsby Color Symbolism

Topics: Color, Yellow, Green Pages: 6 (2452 words) Published: March 30, 2011
During the 1920’s, many people would disguise themselves through the identities of someone else. In the novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the main characters can be seen “hiding” behind the symbolism of different colors. Color affects the mood, emphasizes the importance of events in a novel, and can also interact with the personalities of the characters. The concept of color symbolism is prominent in the novel. White, yellow, blue, green, and even the color black affect the atmosphere of scenes through association with a specific mood, and also through the actions of the characters. The color white is associated with purity and innocence. Gatsby and Nick, the main male characters in the story, can be affiliated with this color, but it mostly symbolizes Daisy and Jordan, the main female characters in the story. The characters can be seen using “white” as a way to make themselves look better. The color is first correlated with Daisy and Jordan when Nick is on a tour of Tom’s house, who is Daisy’s husband, and he sees two women who are “both in white” (Fitzgerald 8). This is significant because this is the first time that Daisy and Jordan are mentioned, and it portrays them innocently. Another instance where the representation of Daisy and Jordan together is mentioned is when Nick decides to drive to East Egg, New York for lunch at Tom’s house. When he arrives at the house, they are “laying upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses” (Fitzgerald 115). Even though at this point in the story, you can clearly see the corrupt lifestyles that Daisy and Jordan live, they are still trying to depict themselves righteously. When we start to examine Daisy closer, we realize that she is always connected to white. When Daisy and Gatsby are together, and Daisy decides to kiss Gatsby, it is described as “Daisy’s white face came up to his own” (Fitzgerald 118). When Daisy kisses Gatsby, it is pictured as being a pure act, but really, she has just cheated on Nick. Once again, this shows Daisy “hiding” behind white. When we look back to when Daisy was younger, we still see her linked together with the symbolism of white. The main idea of childhood represents innocence, and because the color white is associated with innocence, white is once again a representation of innocence. This makes it seem that Daisy was innocent when she was younger. An instance where this is shown is when Gatsby is describing to Nick the first time he met Daisy. Gatsby stated that “…She dressed in white, and had a little white roadster” (Fitzgerald 74). What Gatsby stated here was important. It made Daisy out to be this perfect girl with the perfect image. That is one of the reasons Gatsby tried so hard to get her back. Another time when Daisy’s “childhood” is stated, is when Jordan talks about Daisy and herself years before. She said “When I came opposite her house that morning, her white roadster was beside the curb” (Fitzgerald 74). The significance of this is once again it shows Daisy trying to put forward this image of “purity”. Like I said before, not only is Daisy related to white, but Jordan is too. The difference is that Jordan uses white more often to cover up her true self. It is explained that “Jordan’s fingers, powdered white over their tan” (Fitzgerald 121). Throughout the novel, Jordan is seen by many as a liar, and not trustworthy. When her fingers are powdered white, it is almost as if she is trying to cover up her true self, and pretend that she is pristine. This is also proved true when Daisy’s daughter says “Aunt Jordan’s got a white dress to” (Fitzgerald 117). This shows how Jordan wants to make herself look better in the eyes of others. Not only do the female characters represent white, but the two main male characters, Gatsby and Nick, are also compared to white. After five years, Gatsby finally gets to see his love Daisy again. When he meets her for the first time, he wore a white suit “… and...

Cited: Bradstreet, Sarah. "Literary Analysis: Color Symbolism in The Great Gatsby, By F. Scott Fitzgerald." Web.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1925.
Schneider, Daniel J. "Color-Symbolism in The Great Gatsby." Web.
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