The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Good Essays

Symbols such as the green light are significant throughout the novel because it represents society’s want and the appearing infeasibility of achieving the American Dream, and the corruption behind it. When Gatsby is first seen in the novel, Fitzgerald describes him: “— he stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him I could’ve sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald 20-21). Gatsby’s ultimate unhappiness is explored by his throwing his arms out towards the green light, which is at the end of Daisy’s dock, as a cry for help from Daisy. Gatsby is …show more content…

Gatsby believes that by recreating his past he will be closer and closer to that light and to his happy ending with Daisy, but the light still moves more distant. The light acts as Gatsby’s motivation for success but in all reality it is the reason for his ultimate downfall. The green light may seem as a symbol for the American Dream and the ultimate goal of happiness, but in reality it just shows how society is constantly reaching and reaching for this “goal” but it never really happens. Gatsby constantly reaches his hands out towards the light but the light moves farther and farther away from him. But in the end the green light is too far away and fails him, his American Dream is over. When Fitzgerald writes how the green light “eluded us then”, it means the green light leaves a hazy future, one where nobody really knows how he or she will end up. The American Dream can be symbolized this way as well because if everyone did what Gatsby did to achieve the American Dream, society would be full of selfish people with one goal, money to achieve happiness. The Valley of Ashes symbolizes the upper class’s overuse of their money and materialistic possessions to show the selfishness and the corruption of the American Dream. When the valley is first introduced it is described as: “This is a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and,

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