Symbols and Symbolism - Heat as a Symbol in The Great Gatsby

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Heat as a Symbol in The Great Gatsby Symbolism plays an important role in any novel of literary merit. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald displays a superior use of symbols such as color, light, and heat. Fitzgerald’s superior use of heat as a symbol is the focus of this essay. “When F. Scott Fitzgerald turns on the heat in Gatsby, he amplifies a single detail into an element of function and emphasis that transforms neutral landscapes into oppressive prisms” (Dyson 116). Through these prisms, which distort and color the lives of Fitzgerald's characters, we see why human's elations are, as Nick Carraway describes them, "shortwinded". Heat is the antithesis of Jay Gatsby. It is symptomatic of his undoing,…show more content…
From the beginning of these scenes to the end, we are made to feel the relentless heat as clearly as we see the green leather seats in Gatsby yellow car. Fitzgerald's revision adds more than degrees to the hot day. Heat serves to parallel the acceleration of conflict between Gatsby and Tom. Heat gives their conflict a further sense of inevitability. Fitzgerald does not miss his many opportunities to remind us that the heat of the moment is testing his characters, wearing away the outer veneer they wear so well, and revealing them as they struggle in a hot situation. In the manuscript, Nick rides on a train during the "simmering hush of noon" toward his luncheon engagement. By the time final copy was written, a new line was added: "The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest day of the summer". In the original manuscript, the conductor on the train says the word "hot" six times. In the published version, he repeats the word seven times. The constant reference to the heat creates an atmosphere of strain so that small text changes can have a cumulative atmospheric effect: Man versus nature while man versus man. The weather takes its toll on character's moods. "Make us a cool drink, said Daisy," in the manuscript. '"Make us a cool drink, " cried Daisy" in
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