Great Gatsby Color Symbolism Essay, Research Paper
Could the color of her clothing tell me about the type of personality that she has? At first, one may think that this is a stereotype, however at times it can be true. A person wearing a neon green shirt and purple pleather pants is probably more likely to be outgoing than someone wearing jeans and a white polo. In literature, colors are often purposefully chosen for different characters to represent the character s personalities. In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the colors green, yellow/gold, and gray are used to represent the attributes of the colored person or place.
Apparently, green is the most prominently used color in the novel. The reason for this may be that green is the color used to describe the main character of the novel, Jay Gatsby. One of the possible meanings of green in this story is envy. Gatsby can be seen as an envious man for a few reasons. For one, he is extremely envious of Tom Buchanan because of the fact that he has the one thing he can t buy, Daisy. Also, Gatsby is extremely envious of the people that he invites to his house. He knows that he is not old money like the people he invites to his parties. This makes him a man of who, is Green with envy.
In like manner, green is also used to symbolize money. In the story, money controls the life of the people in the story. Gatsby feels that he needs green money to live and to impress Daisy. Symbols of Gatsby s money included his large green lawn and the green ivy growing up his house. Also, in his car, it depicts the passengers sitting in a sort of green leather conservatory. All of these symbols depict Gatsby s money.
In contrast to green, yellow and gold are used to be an example of old money, unlike green that is used to depict the new money of gold. Tom could be seen as a gold person for he has old money. As green and gold contrast, so do Gatsby and Tom. A quotation of new money gold is Jordan s slender golden arm resting on mine Gatsby desperately buys .. a yellow car, in which he will attempt to be of old money, even though everyone knows that Gatsby is not of old money. Gold and green are as much a contrast of new and old, but they do have a distant connection just as a new and an old car have the same connection. They may look different, but deep down, the two can be seen as the same item. Fitzgerald describes the Valley of Ashes as
“…a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys…and ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud….”(23)
It is also noted that, “occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along….”(23)
The people who live in this gray city are hopeless and poor. The gray surroundings symbolize the poor rode ahead that is existent without any life of color to come. The gray symbolizes a loss of hope. When the book describes Wilson with “an ashen dust veiled [Wilson’s] suit and his pale hair….”(26) This shows that there is no hope for George Wilson. Also, gray can symbolize death. The gray valley of ashes ties in very well with this concept when Myrtle dies in the ugly, hopeless town.
In summary, color plays an important role on the content which is written in a novel. In The Great Gatsby, color is used as most of the symbolism in the book. Without color, the book would be without interest or meaning. If one thinks of no color in the book, what would the story symbolize? How could it be analyzed? Could people even have interest in it? Color is an important part of literature which is used often and will always be an element of a good novel.