The Great Gatsby is a story about a man named Nick Carraway who moves to Long Island for work and finds himself embroiled in the dark underworld of the super-rich, mainly because of Jay Gatsby, who is one of that super-rich. The story does not have a happy ending for all the characters involved, but many readers find The Great Gatsby to be a beautiful novel regardless. The Themes of The Great Gatsby are all over the place, yet there is one constant thread throughout the story: color. “I wanted to say something about The Great Gatsby—something people don’t usually say.
Most critics fall into one of two groups: those who greatly admire it, and those who greatly dislike it. The thing that astonishes me is that this book has survived its enormous initial success intact. ” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, Author’s Note to The Great Gatsby The imagery in The Great Gatsby comes not so much from colors themselves but rather colors as symbols. Everyone recognizes the classic image of The Great American Dream depicted in The Great Gatsby, so well that it’s used as an analogy for many things outside of The Great Gatsby itself.
The American Dream, The One-Percenters, The Roaring Twenties—all these are well-illustrated by the imagery in The Great Gatsby, which does not come from colors themselves but rather what they represent (or at least what Fitzgerald wanted to represent). For starters, there is no doubt about it: The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg are the eyes of The American Dream itself. Even if one chooses to ignore everything else about Dr. T. J. Eckleburg (each time I see his glasses with no lenses I think “What the hell is The Great Gatsby supposed to be about?
The junkyard? “), The enormous eyes looking out on The Valley of Ashes would still represent The American Dream, because they are eyes that see everything and judge nothing. Eyes like these cannot exist without The American Dream existing alongside them, meaning that whenever Fitzgerald mentions The Valley of Ashes he also implies The Conjured Image of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes watching over it all—a symbol for The Great Gatsby itself if there ever was one.
Another symbolism in The Great Gatsby deals with different types of hats: straw hats, green ones, yellow ones. It’s obvious enough that a hat separates a man from his surroundings, but The Great Gatsby goes much further than that. The green hat refers to The American Dream, as The Great Gatsby explicitly states and it’s obvious enough from the imagery ( The green light, for example, is itself a symbol of The American Dream). The straw hats represent common folk who have not yet been touched by The Great Gatsby—that which they aspire to but have not yet achieved.
The yellow hat represents those lucky few who achieve their dreams and find The American Dream within their reach—a dream many people keep pursuing throughout The Great Gatsby even long after they achieve it. It is clear that F. Scott Fitzgerald had a unique way of telling a story, though there were other factors involved in his writing The Great Gatsby rather than just his talent as a writer, for it required him to be The Great American Dream embodied so he could write The Great American Novel.
The green light at the end of The Dock is far more brilliant and fitting symbolism than many people realize. The green light represents The One-Percenters and Gatsby himself: those who achieve their dreams and live by them. The common folk long to reach the green light as they swim towards it in that never-ending river that is The American Dream, yet they work tirelessly against the current, whereas those lucky few reach the green light effortlessly—they do not even have to try.
Perhaps one day everyone will be able to live like The One-Percenters (to dream The American Dream), but The Great Gatsby represents the harsh reality that The Great American Dream is not for everyone. The green light is an unattainable goal to most people, much like The Great Gatsby itself. The Imagery in The American Novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald comes mostly from what colors represent rather than the colors themselves, as each person will interpret his or her own symbolism of colors differently.
Dr. T. J Eckleburg’s eyes and different hats are just a few examples of color imagery in The Great Gatsby—there are many more such as pink suits and yellow cars, some obvious and others more obscure. It does not matter all these various symbols mean: The Great Gatsby The American Novel The Green Light The Valley of Ashes The Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg The Different Hats The Different Suits The Yellow Cars The Pink Suits The American Dream The Conjured Image, for they all work together in unison to create the story that is The Great Gatsby—a classic novel that will never die out because it is so deeply entrenched into our modern culture.
The constant use of colors symbolizes the corruption and deterioration of morals that The Great Gatsby portrays. The first instance where F. Scott Fitzgerald uses imagery of colors is when Gatsby’s house at West Egg is described as a white palace, referencing The Great White Way, an avenue in New York City known for its bright lights. The reference to The Great White Way suggests how energized and full of life Gatsby’s house should be because it is constantly filled with people constantly going in and out.
However, it also brings a sense of falseness because The Great White way has been commercialized by advertisements which are present on most buildings along the street. Here Fitzgerald couples together both energized as well as fake imagery to create a misleading notion about Gatsby’s house. The use of white palace along with The Great White Way suggests how grand and attractive Gatsby’s house should be, yet the two convey false imagery because The Great White way has been commercialized and is no longer its original energetic and bright self.
Fitzgerald uses this same technique when describing Daisy’s face as “white as a magnolia petal” in The Great Gatsby. The color white shows cleanliness which implies the moral standard of the Buchanans being top class. By saying it is “as white as a magnolia petal,” Fitzgerald brings life into an otherwise regular description by using sensory words like “white” and “magnolia petal. ” The reference to The Great White Way once again brings out the false imagery of Daisy because The Great White way has been commercialized.
The name magnolia also suggests refinement, so Fitzgerald couples together with white to create a misleading idea about the Buchanans in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses colors symbolism in The Great Gatsby with yellow that suggests loss of moral standards. Nick Carraway is introduced when he goes home after getting drunk at Gatsby’s party one night with two women who are described as “unfortunate looking-girls in cheap bright dresses. The girls are described as having gold hair which says a lot about them as “gold hair” is associated with prostitutes.
The notion of their being gold implies that they are not worth much and therefore very cheap. The women have “hard, predatory faces” which suggests that they are heartless and will stop at nothing until they get what they want, also displaying a lack of moral standards. The imagery here sets the tone for the book because it foreshadows what Gatsby’s world is like where immoral people seem to take over everything good.