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Color Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

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KaSandra S. Black™


American Literature, Per. 7/8

March 16th, 2010

Color Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

Throughout history many authors use the symbolism of colors to represent other objects. Those colors are also intended for a greater meaning and usually are reiterated through out the entire story. In the story of The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald uses lavender, yellow, green and white to denote the feelings, actions, and existence of the characters. In this story, a man named Jay Gatsby spends a great portion of his adult life trying, to get the girl who he fell in love with five years ago, back into his life, and be his wife.

White is frequently known as truthfulness and the color of purity. In the beginning of the novel, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker are described as wearing white and portrayed as innocent before we find out their true personality. Nick Carraway, the narrator, wears a lot of white of white throughout the story, and even says "I am one of the few honest people that I have ever I known" in Chapter three. Jay Gatsby also has a lot of white in his wardrobe and in Daisy's past she wore a white dress and drove a white roadster. The author introduces most of the characters as wearing white and this signifies them as being originally innocent, or good sincere people. We later find out that for the most part this is not true.

Gatsby's dreams of being successful and his wealth were symbolized through the repeated use of the color green. In the story, we learn that Gatsby's large luxurious home is covered in green ivy and has a enormous green lawn in front of it. Gastby lives lavishly in hopes that he will achieve his goal of rekindling the fire between himself and Daisy. This idea also brings us to the "The Green Light",that he was staring into and reaching towards in Chapter one, at the other end of the dock,that we later find out is coming from Daisy's house. As Gatsby gazes into "The Green Light", his hopes for his relationship and future with Daisy grow. This proves that the color green truly does represent dreams.

Yellow almost always symbolizes wealth and the over the top fancy lives the rich live. Also throughout the story we see that this color represents the nonchalant attitudes the wealthy have even thought they are considered to be "high class". For instance, in Chapter seven, after Daisy carelessly runs Gatsby's yellow car over Myrtle Wilson, she just moves on with her life and acts as if it was no big deal. She believes that it is o.k. to do so because of her husbands, Tom Buchanan, wealth allows her to. Another



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