The Great Gatsby Symbolism Essay

The Great Gatsby is a novel that was written by the author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald was a novelist from The United States, he also wrote short stories, and he was a screenwriter as well. during his lifetime he had a total of four novels and one hundred and sixty-four short stories. The researcher will be speaking on one of his most popular novels, “The Great Gatsby”. It is a tragic novel that is set in the 1920’s of America. The author uses a lot of symbols to suggest the life that Gatsby was living. Take for examples the “Green light” he uses this to represent the hopes, wealth and success of Gatsby, he uses Dr. T J Eckleburg’s eyes to signify the eyes of the lord, and the Valley of ashes signifies the effects of capitalism. We also notice that a symbol of time was also repeated throughout the novel as well.

Nick Carraway is the individual who narrates the movie and the turn of events that Mr. Gatsby encountered, through his own as he moved next door to the Gatsby Mansion. Nick finally meets the infamous man, and they discuss about his past lover, which turn out to be nick’s cousin who is called “Daisy Buchanan”, who was then married to Tom Buchanan. After a series of events unfold, we came to a realization that he has been having an affair on daisy, and she has no idea about it. Gatsby told daisy in NYC the feelings he has for her, however daisy tells him that she’s in love with Tom. This led onto the tragic death of Tom’s Mistress “Myrtle Wilson “, she got into a car accident by Daisy. Gatsby takes the blame for all of this, so this resulted in the death of him by Myrtle Husband. The green light symbolizes the hopes and dreams of Gatsby, this is made clear through the novel, the color green is also used to show the rest of the life of Gatsby.

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The color green is referred throughout the novel. In chapter one it is shown that an individual was shown reaching out towards a light, which was green. This light was at the end of daisy’s dock. And I quote “he stretched his arm towards the dark water…and…a singles green light” (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925). This suggested that Gatsby is stretching out his arm towards his goal, going deeper into the novel we realized that his goal was daisy. It also indicates how long he has been holding on to his goal on dreaming to be with his one true love as well. The green light is also a indication of an envious character. In chapter seven Daisy’s says and I quote “can’t say that I never loved Tom” (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925). This made Gatsby realize that Daisy might not be in love with him anymore, and this causes him to try to compete with her husband, this shows that Gatsby will never be satisfied if Daisy is with another man.

Doctor T J Eckleburg’s Eye in the novel symbolizes the lord to some of the characters. The eyes watch over the Valley of Ashes and it is also watching over Myrtle when she gets killed. “We walked back a hundred yards along the road under the doctor Eckleburg’s persistent stare”. (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925). This is symbolizing judgment and Nick feels judged when he is taken to go visit Mistress Myrtle, and the fact that George doesn’t know about the affair between her and tom makes Gatsby feel much worse. George stated and I quote “she might fool me, but she couldn’t fool god” (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925), after his with was killed by the hands-off Daisy. This quote means that even though he had not had the slightest idea about what was going on god knew.

The Valley of Ashes symbolizes Capitalism. In order to get to NYC, the residents of the West and East would have to travel though a lot of filth and degradation, that is the Valley of Ashes. “the grey land and the spasms of break dust which drifts endlessly”. (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925). This shows us how empty and gloomy it was. It also shows the people on the way to the party, that the world isn’t quite as perfect as they think it might be. Another quote that stated, “when he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes”. (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925). This shows us that George was happy to see both Nick and Tom. The two of them have business together and is shows a theme of recurring hope. It also shows that George has no clue that Tom and his wife is having an Affair.

Moving forward into the novel there is a specific theme that has been recurring, even into the movie as well. That theme is “Time”. This theme also is a representation of Gatsby wanting to go back to the past. Mr. Gatsby was over at his friends Nick place when he accidentally knocked Nick’s clock of the fireplace. The clock also symbolizes the fact that, that Gatsby attempts of reliving the past with daisy has failed. One of the quotes states “You can’t repeat the past…..can’t you repeat the past? Why of course you can old sport”. (Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925). This shows us how obsessed Gatsby is with daisy about the past. He really wants to get back with her again.

To conclude, I realized that the way that the author wrote the novel, his great use of the symbols, showed the entire events of Gatsby Life. The Green light represents Gatsby hopes and dreams of being with his one true love one more time. This lover was Daisy. But we can see that this is not going to happen because she is happy with her Now Husband Tom. Dr Eckleburg eyes shows us a representation of god seeing all, which casts verdict over the characters during the time of the affair. The Valley of Ashes, as stated previously represents capitalism effects, it makes a great job at displaying to the main characters that everything the see in life is not that perfect, and this is a big flaw of their greed. And lastly the symbol of time shows us the hopes of Gatsby returning to his past, when he was with Daisy. These symbols show us a great representation of “The Great Gatsby” as it conveys a meaning to his actins in life.


  2. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1925

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