Motifs In The Great Gatsby

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Blair Richburg 9/30/17 AP English III Gatsby Essay F. Scott Fitzgerald includes many motifs and symbols within The Great Gatsby. One important motif is the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. Fitzgerald ultimately uses the eyes to show disapproval and criticism of society and how God watches over everyone and everything. The eyes of Dr. Eckleburg represents the all seeing, overlooking eyes of God. The eyes of Dr. Eckleburg develops religion as the desire of wealth and social class have replaced spiritual values in American society during the 1920s. Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes stood on a billboard right above the Valley of Ashes,serving as a godly figure watching over the society. The billboard was created as an advertisement for an eye doctor while symbolizing God’s surveillance over the people in the book. These eyes are vividly described as “[. . .] blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. The look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose...his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground [. . .]” (23). Fitzgerald portrays the large blue eyes, resembling God’s eyes, as being shaded by the yellow spectacles. The color yellow is seen throughout the novel, representing turmoil and corruption (Gatsby’s car). The color blue, showing the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, are disrupted by the yellow spectacles, left to see the corrupted society go astray.

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