Symbolism and Motifs in the Great Gatsby Chapters 1-3

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Roaring Twenties Pages: 3 (1067 words) Published: January 6, 2011
Symbolism and Motifs in The Great Gatsby Chapters 1-3
This essay will be based on the symbols and motifs presented by Fitzgerald which are cleverly used to tell the story throughout the first three chapters.

In chapter one, we are introduced to Nick Carraway, who describes himself as non- judgemental and tolerant. Throughout the book Nick is the non-reliable narrator .He is an observant third party throughout the book and gives the readers a close-up and exclusive angle on the story. This can often come across as a very bias point of view from Nick. In chapter one, ‘’the green light’’ is introduced, this is probably one of the most important symbols in The Great Gatsby. Green is the colour of hope and it first appears when Gatsby stares across the bay towards a green light at the end of a dock.

In chapter two, one of the key symbols used in the book is ‘’this is a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens where ashes take like forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air’’ (pg 26). I think the ‘’valley of ashes’’ represents something that is dark and lifeless, with the fire ashes representing death and destruction, possibly foreshadowing bad things that are to happen. I also think that the phrase ‘’transcendent effort’’ has a meaning of own fault, and that it didn’t take much effort for them to get in the situation instigated to happen in this second chapter, and that all the factors of the lifestyle they are living such as the glamour and the money and the parties is the result of a careless and vulnerable way of the living in the 1920s. Colour is also used here to emphasise destruction and darkness with the gray surrounding around them indicating the hopelessness of their situation.

‘’But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift...
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