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Great Gatsby 2 Essay Research Paper F

Great Gatsby 2 Essay, Research Paper F. Scott Fitzgerald is an author who is distinguished for his use of symbolism in his literature, like in the novel The Great Gatsby. He

Great Gatsby 2 Essay, Research Paper

F. Scott Fitzgerald is an author who is distinguished for his use of

symbolism in his literature, like in the novel The Great Gatsby. He

uses the image of Doctor T. J. Eckelburg’s eyes to symbolize a godlike

being. Fitzgerald uses the symbol of the two women in yellow at

Gatsby’s party to represent the values of the 1920’s. The food provided

at Gatsby’s party symbolically represents the members of 1920’s

society. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses Symbolism in the novel The Great

Gatsby as an accurate reflection of life in the American 1920’s. In

The Great Gatsby the symbol of T. J. Eckelburg’s eyes represent a godly

being watching over society. Fitzgerald incorporates the eyes into his

novel to represent a pair of all seeing, all knowing and judging eyes,

which are meant to intimidate. The character of George Wilson believes

that the eyes are the eyes of God.

“I spoke to her,” he muttered, after a long silence. “I told

her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to

the window- ” With an effort he got up and walked to the rear window

and leaned his face pressed against it, “-and I said ‘God knows what

you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but

you can’t fool God!’ ” Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock

that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had

just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night. “God sees

everything,” repeated Wilson. (p.167) Through Wilson’s beliefs

Fitzgerald explains that the eyes can see everything including Myrtle’s

infidelities. Myrtle is a typical person of the 1920’s. She has put her

own life and interests ahead of everyone else’s including her

husband’s. The eyes of God are frowning down on the 1920’s society.

But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which

drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of

Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and

gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. The look out of no face but,

instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a

non-existent nose…his eyes, dimmed a little by many painless days

under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.(p.27-28)

Through Fitzgerald’s wording in describing the image of Eckleburg’s

eyes the reader develops a mental image of an omnipotent being who is

constantly watching over the land. The reader discerns that the eyes

not only see everything but that they eyes are morbidly unhappy. The

use of the word ‘brood’ suggests that whatever the eyes are seeing has

made their owner disappointed. This is Fitzgerald’s way of indicating

that the people of the 1920’s are disgraceful and undignified because

of their selfishness. People of the 1920’s spent large sums of money on

themselves, and they would attend parties where they didn’t know the

host. This type of behaviour is why the 1920’s are known as a decadent

era. The eyes not only symbolize a god-like being but also Fitzgerald

himself and his negative views of 1920’s society. Fitzgerald’s negative

views of society are also portrayed through his depiction of certain

guests at Gatsby’s parties.

The symbol of the two women dressed identically in yellow at

Gatsby’s party depict the values of the people of the 20’s. The

two women in yellow meet Jordan and Nick at one of Gatsby’s

party and are entirely self involved.

“Do you come to these parties often?” inquired Jordan

of

the girl beside her.

“The last one was the one I met you at,” answered the

girl

in an alert, confident voice. She turned to her companion: “Wasn’t it

for you Lucille?” It was for Lucille too. “I like to come,” Lucille

said “I never care what I do, so I always have a good time. When I was

here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and

address- inside of a week I got a package from Croirier’s with a new

evening gown in it.”(p.47)

Lucille admits that her general attitude toward life is that she

doesn’t care what she does as long as she has a good time. Her entire

motivation in her life is to enjoy herself. When all she was asked

was if she came to the parties often she also felt the need to inform

the rest of the guests of her trivial anecdote. The reason that these

women are indicative of the generation is because of their

self-absorbed character and their egotistical nature.

“Gatsby. Somebody told me-” The two girls and Jordan

leaned together confidentially. “Somebody told me they

thought he killed a man once.” A thrill passed over all

of us. The three Mr. Mumbles bent

forward and listened eagerly.

“I don’t think it’s so much that,” argued Lucille

sceptically; “It’s more that he was a German spy during the war.” One

of the men nodded in confirmation. “Oh know it couldn’t be that

because he was in the American army during the war.”(p.48) The two

women are spreading vicious rumours about their host purely for the

sake of attention. They are so egotistical that they are willing to

tarnish the reputation of the man who has invited them into his house,

simply on the basis that they want to be the centre of everyone’s

attention. In Fitzgerald’s opinion, people of the 20’s were mainly made

up of this type of person.

The symbols of the food served at Gatsby’s party represent and

personify the people of the 20’s. Gatsby’s house frequently

receives crates of oranges which demonstrates the wasteful

character of people in the 1920’s.

Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived

from a fruiterer in New York-every Monday these same oranges and lemons

left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves.(p.45) This

incredible wastefulness is representative of people who lived in the

1920’s. They were wasteful to the extreme because they assumed that

they deserved to be wasteful and carefree. After so many years of being

unhappy from, among other things, World War I. During the war, they

were forced to ration everything, so the twenties was the time to gain

back their selfishness. Their personalities are also symbolised by the

colossal food buffet served at the party.

On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors

d’oeuvre,

spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and

pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold.(p.44) These symbols

all personify the people of the 20’s. The people garnished themselves

in glistening jewels and clothing just to impress the people that they

met. They are all spiced implying that they have made themselves into

something that they are not by spicing up their lives with fancy

clothing and costumes which hide who they really are. They design

themselves as they think they will be most accepted, and are bewitched

by the brightness and glow of popularity and richness. People of the

twenties wore costumes and this is part of what Fitzgerald is trying to

convey.

In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the literary

technique of symbolism to reflect what life in the 1920’s was

like, through Fitzgerald’s eyes. The image of Doctor T. J.

Eckelburg’s eyes is used to signify a disappointed godlike

being. Fitzgerald uses the the two women in yellow at Gatsby’s

party to as a symbol to represent the values of people in the

20’s. The food provided at Gatsby’s party is symbolic of

people who lived in the 20’s. Through Fitzgerald’s use of

symbolism to describe the costumed characters of the 20’s the

reader can learn to constantly, and consistently examine the

people that they surround themselves with. The novel also

teaches the lesson of being true to one’s self, since true

closure may only come one honesty is achieved. Fitzgerald is

not only a consequential author but an effective moral adviser

as well.

Bibliography

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Macmillan Publishing Company. New York.

1992.

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