Use of Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Essay

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Symbolism plays an important role in any novel of literary merit. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses symbols to portray events, feelings, personalities and time periods. Throughout the narrative, Fitzgerald uses strong contrasting symbols such as West Egg and East Egg. His superior use of other predominant symbols such as color and light are also evident throughout the novel. The story begins as the narrator, Nick Carraway, describes his arrival to West Egg. One can immediately spot "new-money Gatsby and no-money Nick on one side of the bay and old-money Buchanans on the other" (Tanner x). The superiority of East Egg to West Egg is instantly apparent and has much meaning. East Egg represents the high class, the…show more content…
Just as the American dream is examined, its failure is also addressed. By doing this, not only is another contrast created but a color, gray, is also introduced into the story. "The glittering palaces on Long Island Sound are set against the ash-heaps on the outskirts of New York" (Way 93). These gray ash-heaps are known as the Valley of Ashes. This valley signifies the death of the materialist dream. It demonstrates the fact that if people go through life with no values or morals, they leave great messes behind. An example of this occurs when Daisy hits Myrtle, kills her but does not care. This valley of "ash-gray men" where "occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along" (Fitzgerald 26), is used to symbolize not only the fall of the American dream but also the dullness of life in general. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald uses other symbolic colors, such as pink and white, as well. Pink is the color of dreamers. Thus, when Gatsby and Daisy are about to announce their love to Tom, Gatsby wears his pink suit. He is the "hopeful, hapless dreamer in the pink suit" (Tanner xxvi). As mentioned by Hack and Stockstill, pink is a mixture of red and white. Since red is the color of passion and love and that white symbolizes purity, this blend is an ideal middle ground for Gatsby. In the novel, Nick spots a superficial actress beneath a white-plum tree. This pure color symbolizes wealth, shallowness, innocence
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