The Great Gatsby, is about Jay Gatsby and his quest for his own American dream, the love of his life, Daisy. The story is narrated by Nick Carraway, a young man who moves in next door to Gatsby and becomes friends with him. The Great Gatsby has three main themes. These are materialism and wealth, the american dream and appearance and reality. Fitzgerald has used symbolism and theme along with other techniques to enhance these themes along with the readers enjoyment of the novel.
One symbol used by Fitzgerald is the green light. Green is the colour of hope, but also the colour of envy, and it first appears when Gatsby stares out across the bay towards a green light at the end of the dock. “a single green light, minute and far away”. Later the reader finds out that this light stands on Daisy Buchanan’s dock. In the context of the novel this green light represents Gatsby’s hope to meet Daisy again and a chance to win her back. “Gatsby believed in the green light”.
I think the green light is an effective symbol and it cleverly represents Gatsby’s longing for Daisy. Another clever symbol used in the Great Gatsby is that of the Valley of Ashes. It is first introduced in chapter two, the valley of ashes represents the moral and social decay that results from the uncontrolled search for wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with thought for nothing but their own pleasure. The valley of ashes also symbolizes the troubles of the poor, who live among the dirty ashes and lose their vitality as a result.
In the novel “The Great Gatsby” by Mr. Fitzgerald, the author used many characteristics of the character to enhance and unfold the mystery of the story. The two main opposite characters in the story are Gatsby and Tom. Both have different views of the world. Gatsby is always very polite and have a gentle smile; however these qualities would only made a person nice. What made him great ...
I think the Valley of Ashes is another effective use of symbolism and it helps to emphasise the theme of materialism and wealth as it represents the social decay between the rich and the poor. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the Valley of Ashes. “The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic -their retinas one yard high”. They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society’s morals, though the novel never makes this point explicitly.
They could also be a symbol of the conscience of American society itself. I think that the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg emphasise one of the main themes in the novel which is the decline of the American dream although they could also be said to represent the theme of materialism and wealth. F. Scott Fitzgerald has also used names as a major symbol in The Great Gatsby. The name Daisy is and example of this. A daisy is a tiny flower; it is small and extremely delicate. The colours of a daisy also suggest innocence; the daisy is white and gold, very angelic.
Myrtle’s name is also symbolic. A myrtle is a sturdy herb although it is still beautiful it is not delicate like a daisy. These two names reflect the women they have been given too and Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism is very effective in this case. Overall F. Scott Fitzgerald has used symbolism in his novel very effectively. The use of symbolism has helped my appreciation of the novel as it adds layers. The use of symbolism is also allowing Fitzgerald to comment on society through his novels. Symbolism has also helped to emphasise the main themes of the novel.