Great Gatsby Symbolism Essays

Symbols and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Essay

1207 Words5 Pages

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has more relevance in today’s society than it did when it was written. With the recent societal trend that emphasizes lack of morals and material wealth over a meaningful existence, Fitzgerald’s message really hits home. Which is more important - money or love? Social status or being true to oneself? Fitzgerald uses metaphor and symbols to great effect in order to illustrate what can happen when the pursuit of happiness becomes warped (by American ideals) into the pursuit of money.

One of the major symbols in the novel is the color green. Green represents the hopes and dreams of people striving to accomplish the American dream of wealth and glory.…show more content…

The valley of ashes represents the byproduct of a nation obsessed with money. It is filled with the gray industrial ashes of the factories that helped to catapult dreamers to the top of the world. It also symbolizes the lower class. The people living in the towns nearby are described as gray and solemn. They are washed up because they were unable to accomplish their goals and fulfill the American dream. Wilson, for example, is described as someone with "an ashen, dust veiled suit" and "pale hair." The ash heap is described as a place "where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills." As those ashes pile up, they bury the hopes of people seeking the American dream.

The towns of East and West Egg are also symbolic. The people of East Egg represent those who already have wealth from inheritance. The people of West Egg represent those people who have gained their wealth through hard work and business. Gatsby has lots of money but he will always be "subtly incompatible" with the affluent society of East Egg. East Egg also represents old money and the east coast, whereas West Egg represents new money and the west coast. Throughout the novel, characters openly rebuke the west. For example, early in the novel Nick says, "Oh, I'll stay in the East, don't you worry."

The weather is another symbol that is used primarily for the purpose of setting the general mood of the book. Moments of death

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Symbolism in "The Great Gatsby" Essays

790 Words4 Pages


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is bursting with symbols and motifs. Looking deeper into these symbols will uncover the abstract and intangible themes and messages portrayed throughout the novel. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock as well as T.J Eckleburg’s eyes overlooking the Valley of Ashes and the discrepancy between not only the characters of East and West Egg but the social class and standard of living they abide by. By uncovering all of these symbols and exposing them in their true light, a better understanding of the messages F. Scott Fitzgerald is revealing can be obtained. The confusion within the Great Gatsby can deciphered and straightened out. The green light represents everything to…show more content…

He even threw extravagant parties, inviting anybody from anywhere to gain the feeling of acceptance and popularity. The green light is symbolic of Gatsby’s dream, unattainable yet perpetual, that can be found inside everyone. The Valley of Ashes in it of itself is a separate world from the two Eggs. Described as bleak, grotesque and desolate, it serves as a reality check, that there are people out there less fortunate than the characters form East and West Egg. This is where George and Myrtle Wilson reside and it is also the resting place of the eyes of T.J Eckleburg. In chapter seven, T.J Eckleburg, a pair of eyes on a billboard ad, is described as “watchful vigil” which clearly attaches him with a religious meaning. The religious meaning being the eyes of God, especially pertaining to George Wilson. Each character in The Great Gatsby is guided by their personal ethic and, yet Nick has the final word and his judgment is superior. Since the events are through his eyes there is no objectivity. Although George Wilson invokes God by saying, “God sees everything” and “you can’t fool God” and indicts each character in the novel through the eyes of T.J Eckleburg. Nick is the only other character that besides George to recognize him this. His eyes are also a reminder of guilt, overseeing Tom’s affairs and Myrtle’s death which in turn leads to Gatsby’s death. Besides just the Valley of Ashes, the difference of West Egg and East Egg plays an important role in

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