Symbolism in The Great Gatsby
The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a story full of many symbols as well as several different themes that are evident throughout the novel. These themes include different uses of certain colors, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, the Valley of Ashes, East Egg and West Egg, and the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock. The novel also reveals numerous themes, including those of the past, present and future, the carelessness of the wealthy, and many more, with the central theme being that of the corruption of the American dream (Millett). The multiple symbols within The Great Gatsby help to convey the various underlying themes throughout the entirety of the novel.
One major symbol exhibited in The Great Gatsby is the symbolic green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. This green light has many different symbolic meanings, one of them being Gatsby’s hopes and dreams. Gatsby has many different longings which are represented by the green light. This light signifies more than just the distance between Gatsby and his lost love, but also the distance between the past and the present, and the promise that the future holds. An additional longing of Gatsby’s that goes along with the green light is his longing for money, another green substance controlling his life all through the novel. The color green itself is often used throughout the novel in numerous different occasions. Although Gatsby’s car is described in the book as being yellow, Michealis, “told the first policeman that it was light green” (Fitzgerald 137). Nick also describes the New World as, “a fresh, green breast” (Fitzgerald 180). These examples of green as a symbol can be compared to the many different symbols involved w…
…he past” (Fitzgerald 180). Due to the corruption of the American dream and the hopelessness of the present, Gatsby gave everything he had in an attempt to return to the joy that was the past.
As a whole, the novel The Great Gatsby has a copious amount of symbols, which help to convey many of the important themes throughout the novel. These symbols, including East and West Egg, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, the Valley of Ashes, and the green light along with the color green itself, help to express various themes in the story. These themes include the past, present and future, the carelessness of the wealthy, and countless others. A central theme of the novel, the corruption of the American dream, is shown through the combination of several themes putting across a single message, that the American dream, while hopeful, is terribly damaged and corrupted (Hearne).