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Great Gatsby Symbolism Essay

Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

❶The tough world of money where the rich could do whatever they wanted to do, while the poor had no other choice but to endure is an undeniable opposite to the values that have been hypocritically praised in the s America. Symbolism and American Dream.

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Doubtless, it is associated with the middle class, with the average population, leading a dull and uninteresting life, left out of the entertainments and sparkling luxury of the Jazz Era. Grey is the color of mediocrity, and so, by depicting the valley where common people live and toil in grey colors, Fitzgerald emphasizes the idea of a contemptuous attitude of the upper class to the lower one.

A previously described contrast of the upper and lower classes is not the only one in The Great Gatsby. West Egg and East Egg, situated opposite each other, show the gap between the American aristocracy and newly rich entrepreneurs. However, by drawing a special attention to the similar shape and size of the islands, Fitzgerald seems to emphasize the idea, that in fact, the difference can hardly be seen from a distance. Another important symbol is the symbol of time. Interestingly, while talking to Daisy for the first time in many years, Gatsby is leaning on a defunct clock, which strengthens the idea of the futility of his aspirations and hopes.

The symbol of defunct clock vividly shows the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. With a number of subtle hints, Fitzgerald reveals how this ideal turned into the everlasting pursuit of materialistic values. Interestingly, money seems to draw people together or tear them apart, depending on circumstances. A number of tiny details depicting the importance of money and the carelessness in the s society are found in the description of the cocktail parties, expensive evening dresses and jewelry, tremendously ornate houses and new cars.

On the one hand, these things are shown as the attributes of an American dream; though, on the other one, Fitzgerald seems to mock the extravagance of the unnecessary things that do not bring real happiness. Here Daisy and Tom are shown as the vivid examples of the corruptive influence of money and of the destruction it brings upon others. The tough world of money where the rich could do whatever they wanted to do, while the poor had no other choice but to endure is an undeniable opposite to the values that have been hypocritically praised in the s America.

The climax of the story, when Gatsby, originally coming from the lower classes dies for the thing Daisy had done is seen as one more example of the inconsistency of the American dream, and another example of the carelessness of the upper aristocracy. To sum it up, one should say that though Fitzgerald implies a great number of symbols in The Great Gatsby, the true meaning of them is not in the foreground.

Loved this essay about The Great Gatsby? Feel free to use it as an example and as an inspiration source! The Great Gatsby Essay Example: Symbolism and American Dream. Academic level Undergraduate Bachelor Professional. Fitzgerald uses Daisy to highlight the moral corruption of characters. However we soon realise that Daisy is far from pure and innocent. We learn then that money is the most important thing to Daisy.

This symbolises the moral corruption of Daisy. Daisies are also fragile flowers, and similarly Daisy is a fragile person who is unable to make her mind up.

For me this is a symbol that helped me understand the moral corruption of the novel. The Valley of Ashes is a symbolic place used in the book.

The Valley Of Ashes represents the moral and social decay produced by the pursuit of wealth without thought for others. God is believed to watch over everyone and be all seeing, similar to T.

They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society and seeing the moral wasteland that as previously stated the Valley Of Ashes symbolises. It is George Wilson that highlights this symbolism. It is also key that colour is once again brought into this symbol. The rims of his glasses are yellow, which symbolises that although he sees corruptness he also sees it through the eyes of someone who is also corrupt.

This reinforced the idea that corrupt characters wrongly judge others for being corrupt. Personally this was my favourite symbol in the novel because it was the easiest to understand. East and West Egg are two fictional villages on Long Island created by Fitzgerald as the setting for the novel.

Daisy and Tom are typical East Egg residents, old money and careless about others. Colour again is associated with the eggs. In Great Gatsby, the green light, Dr. Ultimately, under the peer glance of Dr. All these connotations altogether form a persistent vision of the person trying to find his her way to the legendary American Dream — the journey filled with sorrows and disappointments, and the journey that could potentially lead to irreversible failure or eternal happiness.

Fitzgerald is very attentive and scrupulous in the way he uses his own symbols in his work. Nevertheless, it is difficult to reject the feeling that the green light is something more than obscure idea of the American dream. The green light is not only the search for the American dream. It is also a natural human search for a new identity — the identity that would fit into the new economic environment and that would satisfy the natural human strivings to better life.

The green light is multifaceted; that is why researchers and readers risk making it too simple. Rather, it is more appropriate to see the green light as a flexible literary instrument, which Fitzgerald uses for different purposes. Everyone has something to hide, and everyone has something to strive for, and our dreams are always only a matter of time and the efforts we apply to achieve them.

The symbolism of the Valley stems from the symbolism of ashes as such — the symbol of something that has forever been lost and does not give us a chance for revival. In Great Gatsby, the valley of Ashes is simultaneously the symbol of moral decay, and the inevitability of the tragedy.

When Fitzgerald refers to the Valley as a fantastic farms where ashes take forms of houses and chimneys, does he imply that the symbol of ashes is the symbol of irreversibility of everything in our lives? Moreover, does that mean that ashes change our attitudes to life and impact all areas of our daily activity?


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A symbol is an object, character, figure or colour that is used to represent an abstract idea or concept. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses many symbols throughout the novel to highlight key ideas, some are more obvious than others but all are effective.

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Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Symbolism in The Great Gatsby - Symbolism in The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby tells of a man's attempt to regain his long lost love and the happiness he once had in .

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The distinctive symbols used in The Great Gatsby connect the ongoing themes of the s throughout the novel with the social and morally destructive characters trying to achieve the American Dream, creating more internal and external damage along the way. Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, a novel written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald in , nowadays is rightly seen as the classics of the American literature. On the face of it, the plot seems to be a usual story of broken hopes and expectations.

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The symbolism of the Valley stems from the symbolism of ashes as such – the symbol of something that has forever been lost and does not give us a chance for revival. In . Symbolism in “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald Example of a Symbolism essay on The Great Gatsby about: Scott Fitzgerald / The Great Gatsby / symbol / the Green Light / the Valley of Ashes.