Gatsby Color Essay, Research Paper
F. Scott Fitzgerald s use of symbolism and colors in The Great Gatsby is prominent in every chapter of his novel. To fully understand the meaning of his color use, a reader must recognize the situations in which these colors are used.
The color green is traditionally associated with spring, hope, and youth. One possible meaning of the color green is envy. Gatsby can be seen as an envious, jealous character. He once had the love of his life, Daisy, but now she is married to another man. He spends all of his time and effort in an attempt to win back Daisy. It is also probable that Fitzgerald uses green to symbolize money and it s power in society. Money rules the lives of the people in the story. Gatsby needs money to live the life that he does. Gatsby also feels he needs the money to win back Daisy s love. The color green can both symbolize envy and money; however, the most reasonable meaning would have to be one of future hope, especially in Gatsby s case. The use of a green light at the end of a landing stage to signal a romantic reunion, is intriguingly similar to the green light at the end of Daisy’s Buchanan’ s dock, which becomes a key image in The Great Gatsby. The initial appearance of the green light occurs when Nick sees Gatsby for the first time, standing in front of his mansion and stretching out his arms to “…a single green light, minute and far away that might have been the end of a dock.” The light becomes, for Gatsby, the symbol of a reunion with Daisy. This reunion seems justifiable, yet it is so far away from coming true.
Gold and yellow are colors that symbolize old wealth. The colors green and gold contrast in a significant way. In old times people used gold as a means for exchange,
but as a national currency was established green money replaced the gold and gold no longer even backed the dollar. So, gold represents the old money and green represents the new. In the same way, gold symbolizes Daisy and Tom s old money and green symbolizes Gatsby s new money. One might say that Gatsby is “green.” To contrast this Tom is gold. In the same way that green and gold contrast so do Gatsby and Tom. Jordan and Daisy are also represented by gold. “…Jordan s slender golden arm resting in mine…” “…high in the white palace the king s daughter, the golden girl…” The golden girl is, of course, Daisy.
Daisy’s character is enhanced by Fitzgerald’s use of the color white to indicate Daisy’s freshness and innocence. He notes the “gleaming white house”, the “airy, white rooms,” and Daisy lounging in a white dress. Daisy also talks of her “white girlhood.” Fitzgerald evokes two meanings of white: one is the traditional meaning of purity; the second is the empowerment of whiteness. Daisy, as she is initially presented, represents both privilege and purity–a kind of princess figure. The use of white helps to characterize her as the “enchanted princess” who becomes incarnate as Gatsby’ s dream. However, the different shades of white indicate that Daisy may not be an embodiment of purity and that privilege may have a corrupting effect, at least when it is used to veil or whitewash misdeeds. An egg is white is white (pure and innocent) on the outside, but yellow (corrupt) on the inside. This example corresponds precisely to the presentation of Daisy’s character through color symbolism. Because of the number of times it is mentioned throughout the text, white proves to be a color that is vital to the novel. From Fitzgerald’s use of the color white in these various scenarios, the color could be interpreted as: beauty, cleanliness, wealth, innocence, virginity, and also laziness.
In Conclusion, F. Scott Fitzgerald s uses of colors throughout The Great Gatsby prove to be of importance to the development of the theme and to the development and characteristics of the characters in the novel. These colors give us a great understanding of the characters and their lives.