Essay Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

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Symbolism in The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby is filled with symbols and symbolism, which try to convey Fitzgerald's ideas to the reader. The symbols are uniquely involved in the plot of the story, which makes their implications more real. There are three major symbols that serve very important significance in the symbolism of the novel. They are "the valley of the ashes," the reality that represents the corruption in the world, the green light of Daisy's lap that Gatsby sees across the bay and lastly, the symbolism of the East Egg and West Egg or more important the east and the west of the country.

The "Valley of the Ashes" is located next to the river, where railroad and highway intersect. It is a dumpster between West Egg
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The green light is what Gatsby aspires to meet his entire life, it is his primal destination in life. The only reason Gatsby buys the house is to see the light in Daisy's window across the bay. In chapter 5 when Gatsby tells Daisy how he stares bluntly at the green light, he is aware that he will no longer need to stare it for he has Daisy back now. He wins the reward, which was behind his primal target. His reward is the real thing and he no longer needs its representative and thus the green light begins to fade. Gatsby begins to slowly recognize the reality: no object can replace his ideal that he has created for himself since the yearly age. This shows how no mater how much materialism is acquired by a person, it will never be enough and it will never quite match up to one's illusion, to one's dream.

The symbolism behind East Egg and West Egg plays an important role in Fitzgerald's expression of corruption. East represents the wealth and the sophistication as well as the recklessness and the corruption of the people. The West on the other hand represents the lower classes, which in their blindness try to attain wealth, in order to fit in with the high privileged classes, which are mercenary to begin with. Fitzgerald points out here that both the upper, more privileged classes and the lower classes are immoral and corrupt for each of them has reached a level where their lives are taken by the materialism of life.

As stated earlier, symbolism is important…