Symbolism in “The Great Gatsby” by Fitzgerald Free Essay Example
“I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew.” (4) The red and gold here are representing the power and money. Nick Carraway is on his search to find money in the “bond business” and is hoping to gain his money and power and will use his books to teach him this.
But will he fall out on his dream if all he is after is money? After all, he may soon face hardships.
“Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooked the bay.”(6) The red here Is showing power and the white is showing purity. This is the house of Tom and Daisy and I think these colors together show their wealth. Not only is it a red, but it is also a cheerful red.
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This means that it is not a dark red of aggression, but a happy red of excitement. However, the elegance of this mansion is hiding some problems. “The front was broken by a line of French Windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoon”(6) The gold of the windows on Tom and Daisy’s mansion is to show wealth. Gold is a big sign of wealth in culture and using it to line something is very popular. The gold, red, and white of their mansion is a greek style showing not only wealth but also power.
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“The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high”(23) T. J. Eckleburg is a mural, fading on a billboard.
The blue in his eyes are most likely representing power but also some sadness, as if he were looking over the town with a form of sorrow judgment. “The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the wasteland, a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it and contiguous to absolutely nothing.”(24) On Tom and Nick’s trip to meet Myrtle, they see this house. The yellow is most likely meant to represent a happiness standing out in a crumbling town. It is the center of attention for the town described as a wasteland. “Upstairs, in the solemn echoing drive she let four taxicabs drive away before she selected a new one, lavender-colored with gray upholstery, and in this, we slid out from the mass of the station into the glowing sunshine”(27) Myrtle is the one selecting the cabs here and as we’ve seen from her character she seems to live a life of fake wealth. Maybe she wants the elegant purple to feel like royalty on her otherwise cheap cab ride. “The late afternoon sky bloomed in the window for a moment like the blue honey of the Mediterranean.”(34) Here Nick is describing the atmosphere around Gatsby’s house. He compares the skies around it too the Mediterranean, often associated with high-class vacations.
The blue and yellow combination seems to be a form of a happy, serenity surrounding Gatsby’s house. “In his blue gardens, men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars”(39) There seems to be a lot of blue associated with Gatsby’s mansion. I feel like the flowers represent a calm yet powerful feel. This feeling seems to describe Gatsby himself as well. The calmness of Gatsby’s character also seems to be hiding something “The lights glow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher”(40) Here the music that is filling the air of Gatsby’s party. It is a joyous music using yellow to describe the happiness of it and the party. This is the first time Nick has been to one of these parties and is amazed by it. “Her gray, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her.”(58)
As Nick describes his date with Jordan he takes the time to mention her eyes. Her eyes are a gray which I think is saying that she has a calm intelligence behind them. She puts on an act of being dumb but this is saying she is smarter than shown “It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns.”(64) This car belongs to a guest at one of Gatsby’s parties. The combination of white and copper is showing pure wealth. And we are reminded of Nick’s goal as he admires the car, his goal to become rich and powerful himself. “Taking a white card from his wallet, he waved it before the man’s eyes”(68) Gatsby receives this card after helping the police chief. And from the perspective of the police, it is meant to be a free pass gaining the owner purity and a clean slate (represented by the white).
However, from an outside standpoint, it shows the corruption of the police and even some of the corruption of Gatsby. “She dressed in white, and had a little white roadster, and all day long the telephone rang in her house and excited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolizing her that night.”(74) The white that Daisy surrounds herself with is meant to represent her “purity.” She is trying to keep an image, which is why she won’t divorce Tom. However as we can see later in this quote, her purity is fake and her image is an act. “An hour later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie, hurried in.”(84) The entirety of Gatsby’s outfit is meant to show off his wealth to Daisy. The combination of the gold and silver are giving the same effect as if he had brought with him the real precious metals. “While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher- shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue.”(92) Again Gatsby is showing off for Daisy. The bright intricate colors of his shirts are again showing the wealth of Gatsby. His shirts are so extravagant that it brings Daisy to tears.
“The gray windows disappeared as the house glowed full of light.”(94) The gray in the windows of Gatsby’s mansion represents sorrow and loneliness. And this loneliness disappears as Gatsby arrives with Daisy and is replaced with a happy warmth. “I liked that man- what was his name?- with the sort of blue nose.”(105) Blue has been associated, here and elsewhere, with illusion, a particularly romantic illusion. In the novel, the color blue is most often mentioned in conjunction with Jay Gatsby himself. So maybe this man as a romantic illusion that Jordan sees. “…One autumn night, five years before, they had been walking down the street when the leaves were falling, and they came to a place where there were no trees and the sidewalk was white with moonlight.”(110) At the end of Chapter 6 Gatsby is on his walk with Daisy and the moon is shining down on them giving a white light. This is obviously showing the romantic situation between them. This romance will surely cause problems later on for both Gatsby and Daisy “Go ahead,” answered Daisy genially, “and if you want to take down any addresses here’s my little gold pencil.”(105) Her Daisy is talking to Nick. And it seems as though she is trying to show off. She specifically mentions the gold of her pencil.
And as it has many times before, gold is most likely again representing wealth. “Slowly the white wings of the boat moved against the blue cool limit of the sky.”(118) This is the boat of Dan Cody. Cody was Gatsby’s mentor and former boss who taught him how to fit in with the high society. The white shows the elegance of this boat. The Blue shows the peacefulness and ease of it. It is what inspired Gatsby to work aboard it. The blue may also be sign of the power that money can give someone. “It was full of money- that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it…. High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the Golden Girl….”(120) These colors are a symbol of how Daisy was born into money. It shows how Nick realizes that Daisy’s whole character is “Money.” This quote is also related to Gatsby. It shows how people born into money have a certain personality and that Gatsby doesn’t have it. That’s why no one belives Gatsby’s story. “‘Shall we go in my car?’ suggested Gatsby. He felt the hot, green leather of the seat. ‘I ought to have left it in the shade.’”(120) As Daisy and Gatsby ride to New York, this green shows the hope Gatsby has for his life with Daisy. Gatsby is madly in love with Daisy but I don’t think Daisy has made up her mind. I think she just likes the life she could have with Gatsby and the excitement of it. Gatsby’s plan for Daisy to tell Tom she has chosen Gatsby is ultimately based on hope as Daisy must make the decision.
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