Book Reports / Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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Autor:  anton  14 November 2010
Tags:  Symbolism,  Gatsby
Words: 763   |   Pages: 4
Views: 429

Symbolism is really popular in novels written during the 1920's. One such example is F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. There is a lot of symbolism in this novel, but there are three main examples that stand out more than the others. The color green, the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, and East and West Egg, influence the story greatly. These examples of symbolism show many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and choices that the characters have throughout the story.

The color green, as it is used in the novel, symbolizes different choices the character Jay Gatsby can make during his life. The green aspect in this novel is taken from the green light at the end of the dock close to Daisy's house. The color itself signifies stillness, symbolizing that everything is wonderful. This informs Gatsby that he should not chase his dream for getting Daisy back, because his chance has passed and everything is as it should be. This is exposed with Nick's thought, "...His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him... (Pg.189)"

In this novel there seems to be no fear of consequence, of judgment. In this case, who is judging? That is what the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are for. These eyes are from a billboard that appears over Wilson's garage. The eyes are always mentioned whenever Nick is there. They look over the situation, neutrally, but offer judgment on the characters and their actions. They are placed near Wilson's garage because that is where some of the most egotistical acts take place: Myrtle's death, Tom's affair. All of these crimes go unpunished. So the eyes look on and remind the characters of the guilt that they fail to remember to have for what they have done.

"The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose."

This is a quote from Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story, and the tone of Jay Gatsby. Dr. Eckelburg is established at this point. He takes on a reflection of a human form, which is characterized many times throughout the novel, and that of a Godlike figure.

One of the most important themes in the novel is class and social status. It is an obstacle for almost every character. East and West Egg signify a symbol of the novel’s extreme materialism in every character. Tom and Daisy live on the East which is far more sophisticated and well bred. Nick and Gatsby are on the West, which is for people who don't have any definite reputation, even if they have money. The green light shines from the East Egg inviting Gatsby towards what he has always sought after. And Daisy, the woman that Gatsby has always wanted but never gets, lives on East Egg. The obstacle that the water creates between these worlds in symbolic of the obstruction that keeps these people apart from one another and from much of what they want.

"She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless and with her chin raised a little as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me she me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it-indeed I was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in. (Pg.13)."

Daisy exposes a bored and listless attitude about everything, which is part of her "I am too good for you" appearance. In reality, she just wants to be as respected and socially accepted as Gatsby. She is not willing to take responsibility for her actions, and uses her image as a safeguard meaning that she could not have possibly done anything immoral, much like Jordan Baker.

Symbolism is not always obvious, but it can tell a huge deal about a story. This puts a piece of reality into the story, as everyone wears a white mask of some kind to hide his or her true self from the world. There is a lot of symbolism in this novel, but there are three main examples that stand out more than the others. The color green, the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, and East and West Egg, influence the story greatly. These examples of symbolism show many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and choices that the characters have throughout the story.



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