Symbolism is the act of using symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense. Symbolism can be found in many forms, with art being one of the most common carriers of symbolism. This article will go over some examples of symbolism found in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. One of the more prevalent examples of symbolism in The Great Gatsby comes from the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, which are found on an old billboard off a highway in the Valley of Ashes, near where George and Nick Carraway live.
On this billboard there are two eyes looking out over a valley that are meant to be the eyes of God watching over his creation. The text between these two eyes reads ” OYGB ,” which is widely believed to represent “Oh, yes! God bess you! ” However, many still think this is merely coincidental or irrelevant among other possible meanings for this letter combination, so it cannot be known for certain what F. Scott Fitzgerald intended with his use of symbolism and symbolism-laden text. The Valley of Ashes is a symbol for the moral decay and decline of American society after World War 1.
It represents this decline because ashes signify death and destruction, and the valley where it resides represents a low point between wealthy West Egg (where many of the novel’s characters reside) and poor East Egg (which was not as greatly affected by The Great War). This also relates to themes of duality, such as good vs. evil, having the ashes at one end representing evil while those on the other side living in wealth represent good.
However, just as it is difficult to know F. Scott Fitzgerald’s intentions with Dr. TJC’s billboard eyes mentioned earlier, it is similarly difficult to firmly conclude if F. Scott Fitzgerald intended for the Valley of Ashes to represent an exact duality between good and evil. Another example comes from The Great Gatsby’s opening scene, where a car crashes into a telephone pole that is next to a billboard advertising soap. This is seen as a metaphor for careless actions leading to consequences, which is relevant throughout the book’s plotline as well as an allusion to larger social issues such as substance abuse and adultery.
F. Scott Fitzgerald uses this imagery because it does not have much significance beyond being physically present – it represents reckless behavior without having any connections with other elements in the novel, making its symbolism easy to absorb by readers even if they do not actively seek deeper meaning in it. Symbolism like this is used frequently in The Great Gatsby, and is perhaps even one of the most important elements readers can note when reading the book. Symbolism like this gives the reader insight into what F. Scott Fitzgerald was thinking and helps them better understand his opinions and reasoning for writing such a novel.
Symbolism is prominent in this novel. Symbolism is used to represent ideas, objects or concepts that are meant to speak volumes through their meaning. Symbolism can also be an important literary tool that authors use to help develop the theme of the story and to create the mood. The Great Gatsby Symbolism begins with The Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg which were large blue billboard eyes painted on a structure above an abandoned automobile company owned by George Wilson who was also blind in one eye.
The eyes symbolized moral responsibility because they watched over all of those who lived around them but no one cared enough to correct what was happening below their watchful gaze. Symbolically, the eyes had a distinct purpose throughout the novel; it was to watch out for those who had no one else to watch out for them. Therefore, the eyes were symbolic of God watching over the citizens because he held all responsibility.
The Symbolism in The Great Gatsby continues with symbolism surrounding Jay Gatsby’s house which is located on West Egg which symbolized wealth and power to others, but it also represented isolation because there was a great distance between his house and any other homes surrounding him. Symbolically, the wide expanse around Jay’s home represented how high society saw him as just an ordinary person even though he felt very much apart of that social status.
Symbolism continued when Nick attended Tom Buchanan’s party at his home along the bayfront known as East Egg which represented wealth and power because of the fact that people flocked to it and local society identified their appearance as important. Symbolically, East Egg was symbolic of American Society’s blindness towards those poor souls who lived around them and they only noticed their presence when things happened right before their eyes.
The final Symbolism in The Great Gatsby occurs with Jay’s funeral attended by the most rich prominent members of Brooklyn Society where Jay died at during his drive home from New York City along Long Island Sound after his confrontation with George Wilson over Myrtle Wilson’s death. Symbolically, this represented how men like Jay felt apart of something bigger than themselves but in actuality were isolated from everyone including God whom they believed held all responsibility.
Symbolism of Symbolism in The Great Gatsby ends with the symbolism surrounding George Wilson’s living quarters which was only an upstairs room in his father’s home where he lived with his wife Myrtle and his son. Symbolically, it represented how men like Jay felt apart of something bigger than themselves but in actuality were isolated from everyone including Daisy Fitzerald whom they believed held all responsibility.
Symbolism in The Great Gatsby ended when Tom Buchanan shot George because he mistakenly thought that it was him who hit Myrtle Wilson when she ran out into the road to avoid stepping on her broken necklace. Symbolically, this represents how American Society saw nothing wrong with their way of life even though things around them kept happening which caused them to be blind to their surroundings.
Symbolism of Symbolism in The Great Gatsby ends with how Myrtle Wilson died because she was hit by Tom Buchanan driving along the bayfront at an extreme speed which represented American Society’s blindness towards those poor souls who lived around them and they only noticed their presence when things happened right before their eyes. Symbolically, this represents God whom Americans thought held responsibility for what went on around them but his responsibility was to listen to each individual person’s prayer because he could not control every single event that occurred within everyone’s lives.