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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – Symbols and Symbolism

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

Symbolism is what makes a story complete. In “The Great Gatsby” Fitzgerald cleverly uses symbolism. Virtually anything in the novel can

be taken as a symbol, from the weather, to the colors of clothing the

characters wear. There are three main symbols used in The Great Gatsby, they are The East and West Egg, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, and the eyes of Dr.T.J. Eckleburg.

One of the most important symbols in the novel is class and social

standing. It is like a barrier for almost every character. East and West

Eggs act as a symbol of this by its physical makeup. Tom and Daisy live on the

East which is far more refined and consists of people with more money and

a higher social status. East Egg also represents the “old money.” Nick and

Gatsby are on the West, which is for people who don’t have any real

standing, even if they have money. The West Egg represents the “new money.” The

green light shines from the East Egg to the West Egg luring Gatsby towards what

he has always wanted. And Daisy, the woman that Gatsby has always wanted but

never gets, lives on East Egg. There is also a barrier of water between

the two cities that keeps people like Daisy and Gatsby apart from one another

and keeps them from reaching their goals and what they want in life.

Another symbol used in the novel was colors. The first was the green

light. The light was only a light, however to Gatsby it becomes his dream

for the future. The light symbolizes hope and dream. The dream is Daisy.

Gatsby buys the house across the bay so he can see the Buchanan’s light.

Later in the story when Gatsby has Daisy the importance of the light

diminishes. The color yellow in the story often represents death. Myrtle

dies after being hit by a yellow car. Another example of yellow

representing death is the scene just before Gatsby enters the pool, “He shook his head

and in a moment disappeared among the yellowing trees” (Fitzgerald 169). This

shows that he was about to die just as the leaves in the tree were.

The final symbol used in the story is the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.

Until George Wilson decides that they are the eyes of God, they are simply

viewed as an unexplained image, as they stare down on the valley of ashes.

The eyes could mean anything to the observer, but they often make them

gatdream American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Great Gatsby Essays

The Great Gatsby: The American Dream Every character in the Great Gatsby fulfilled his or her part of the “American Dream”. It didn’t always make the person better, in most cases worse. It made the characters see life I an unnatural light that they would not of other wise seen. First I need to make clear what the “American Dream really” is. The “American Dream” is to have a lot of money and material objects. The average person from a third world country thinks that the streets America are “paved in gold” and that there is no poverty at all. Millions of people who live in America think that because they are American they must have money to be happy with life. They can’t even imagine not having money and that’s all they think and talk about. They also talk/brag about the things they buy with there money. This is just like the way that Gatsby acts. He’s always bragging about his nice house, his nice car, and every aspect of his life. He makes his life out to be “perfect” getting educated at a high class institution. He thinks that the only people who are meant to have a lot of money are well educated people who have led the “perfect” life. He can not except the fact that he got all his money from bootlegging. All this money has not made him a good person at all in fact it has made him a worse person. He lies to everyone about his whole life and who he really is. He thinks that now that he has all this money the only way to be happy is to use it. Nick has fulfilled his version of the “American Dream” by living the life he was expected to live. He is not rich and does not need money to be happy. He is just living life to the fullest and happy the way his life is going. The problem with Nick is that he is getting pulled by Gatsby into this world ware money a prestige is all that creates happiness. He is starting to think that his life is not as complete as it could be because he dose not have the money Gatsby does. Daisy is in love with Gatsby. She thinks that just because he has money and she has money they will be happy. This is not the case. The main thing about the twos wealth that is different is that Daisy inherited hers and Gatsby got his from bootlegging. Daisy has no idea what being poor is like but Gatsby does. Daisy is in a dream world that is once you have money you will always have money. Gatsby knowing what it is like to be poor has the power to tell her what it is like to be poor. I think that Daisy should know what it is like to be poor so that she can do things to help people who are poor and just so she realizes that not everyone has money and that there are other ways to find happiness then money. Tom is like Nick in that he is living the life that he is expected to live. He is happy just the way he is. He dose not need money or anything else to make his life acceptable to him. To me he is the character that has most fulfilled his own dream not the general “American Dream” I believe that one should live there life to the fullest and never put all of there happiness into one thing because if that one thing goes away the person isn’t happy. Especially money because now a days money can be gained and loosed with in seconds and if all your happiness depends on money and that goes away then you aren’t happy. Life should be about hard work and striving to reach a ultimate goal. None of the characters in this book did this so I think that everyone of them led a life that could have been much more fulfilling.

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