Essay, Research Paper: Great Gatsby

Literature: The Great Gatsby

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The Hidden Story in Green and White Color symbolism is really popular in novels
written during the 1920’s. One such example is Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The
Great Gatsby. There is much color symbolism in this novel, but there are two
main colors that stand out more than the others. The colors green and white
influence the story greatly. Green shows many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and
choices that Gatsby has throughout the story. White represents the stereotypical
façade that every character is hiding behind. The color green, as it is used in
the novel, symbolizes different choices the character, Gatsby, can make during
his life. The green element in this novel is taken from the green light at the
end of the dock near Daisy’s house. The color itself represents serenity, as
in everything is perfect. This warns Gatsby that he should not pursue his dream
for getting Daisy back, because his chance has passed and everything is as it
should be. This is shown with Nick’s insight, “…His dream must have seemed
so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was
already behind him… (Pg.189)” Another symbolization of the color green,
which contradicts the first, is the meaning “go.” As in a traffic light
signal, most people associate green with the word and action “go.” This can
be interpreted as meaning Gatsby should go for his dream without hesitation. It
implies that Gatsby and Daisy are meant to be together and nothing should stop
Gatsby from his destined happiness and love with Daisy. It inspires hope for
Gatsby that he is on the right path, heading towards the best years of his life.
He believes that things will soon be as they once were, only better. ““I’m
going to fix everything just the way they were before,” he said nodding
determinedly. “She’ll see.”(Pg. 117.)” The last symbolization the color
green has in this novel is an urge to strive ahead in life, to do better in life
and succeed. Gatsby changes his entire persona for a better, more sociable,
image and status. He is constantly striving to be a more successful figure in
society. Ever since he was a boy he put himself on a schedule with hopes for
becoming a highly respected, well-known person. “He knew he had a big future
in front of him. (Pg. 181),” his dad says about him. “Jimmy was bound to get
ahead. He always had some resolves like this…(Pg. 182).” White is the other
color symbolism interlaced into this novel. Where green only influenced one
character, white has a wider range of influence on the characters. This color
symbolizes one thing, a façade, but it appears in every character. For example,
Daisy is always seen wearing white, which gives her and innocent naive
appearance. It is as though she uses that as an excuse for when she does
something ridiculous or childish, making it seem like she does not know any
better. In reality, she knows exactly what she does but just doesn’t care. She
uses this little princess image and her money to hide her biased, snobbish, and
conceited view of herself and her lifestyle. “They were careless people, Tom
and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into
their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them
together…(Pg. 187-188).” Another character that hides behind the white
symbolic façade is Jordan Baker. She also wears white quite often. She acts as
though she is superior to everyone around her. Her posture, her attitude, and
even the things she says imply this arrogance. “She was extended full length
at her end of the divan, completely motionless and with her chin raised a little
as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she
saw me she me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it—indeed I
was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by
coming in. (Pg.13).” She portrays a bored and apathetic attitude about
everything, which is part of her “I am too good for you” appearance. In
reality, she just wants to be as respected and socially accepted as Gatsby. She
is not willing to take responsibility for her actions and uses her image as a
guard implying that she could not have possibly done anything immoral, much like
Daisy. However, “She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure
being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I suppose she had begun
dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep the cool
insolent smile turned towards the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard
jaunty body. (Pg. 63).” Color symbolism is not very noticeable, yet it can
tell a great deal about a story. In this case, the colors give the reader a look
at the character’s choices and the paths he or she could have chosen compared
to the ones the character chose, which adds dimension to the story. The green
the different choices Gatsby can make, whether it serves as a warning, an
inspiration, or an urge to get ahead. The white symbolizes a mask, or a façade.
It allows the characters to portray themselves as a whole other person and hide
who they really are. This puts a piece of reality into the story, as everyone
wears a white mask of some kind to hide his or her true self from the world. It
is the unsubtle clues given to the reader that are fascinating and allow a
person to relate to the characters.

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