Fitzgerald’s Use of Color in the Great Gatsby

2583 Words May 15th, 2012 11 Pages
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby, exposes the corruption and greed of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald is able to captivate readers' attentions through his employment of color symbolism. Fitzgerald portrays important messages in the novel by his symbolic use of colors. Colors play an important role in Fitzgerald’s descriptions of the lives of Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway and many of the other characters in the novel. Fitzgerald uses the colors white, yellow, and green to express certain sentiments to the reader, commenting what is going on in the story. Fitzgerald uses the color white to symbolize purity and innocence, while yellow is used to symbolize moral decay, and death. Green is used to represent hope and …show more content…
While Gatsby attempts to hide his dishonesty, Nick, considers himself “one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (Fitzgerald, 59) and Fitzgerald often describes him as wearing white. The first time he attends one of Gatsby's infamous parties, he wears a white flannel suit. Nick is aware of the importance of this event, being formally invited to one of Gatsby's parties, and wants to project the right image. His white suit emulates honesty and the appearance of being untainted. Similar to white projecting honesty and purity, Fitzgerald also uses it to symbolize perfection. Daisy, always in white, was perfect in Gatsby's eyes. He lived his life around her, in order to reclaim her. Just as Daisy's whiteness symbolized perfection to Gatsby, the white world of the upper class was the epitome of perfection for Myrtle Wilson, Tom's mistress. To Myrtle, the perfect life would be to live like Daisy, to be wealthy. Although she lives in the valley of ashes as the wife of a garage owner, she feels she belongs with the upper class. She stakes claim in high society through Tom, but will never be fully able to gain access to their elite world. Fitzgerald shows her attempt to become “white” through her clothing. When she is first seen in the novel, she is wearing “a spotted dress of dark blue” (Fitzgerald, 25).
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