Many symbols are incorporated throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece The Great Gatsby. As the story begins, these symbols are slowly introduced and start to show meaning as the story progresses. The characters Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Pam, Tom, Jordan, Myrtle, and Wilson all give these symbols meaning by instilling them throughout the novel. In The Great Gatsby, three main symbols are introduced, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg, the clock, and the green light on Daisy’s dock which all have very different meanings and are incorporated throughout the story.
The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg are a pair of fading eyes painted on an old billboard, looking over the Valley of Ashes. These eyes are said to be god’s eyes by Mr. Wilson, who claims, “God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you cant fool God!” (160) as Wilson stares out the window at the pale eyes of Eckleberg on the ratty billboard. They seem to be looking over the wasteland, comparing the land to American society. Wilson suggests that the eyes and god are connected, though this only comes to mind through his grief- stricken thoughts.
The eyes, being very insignificant to the story, show the unsettling nature of their image, and show the meaninglessness of the world and the way people portray things. Mr. Wilson has a mere vision of the eyes as god, however they are irrelevant to the story. This shows how people have a mental process in which they insert meaning into very meaningless objects due to state of mind. Though Michaelis assures Wilson that it is an advertisement, Wilson still “stood there a long time, his face in the window pane, nodding into twilight” (160).
Along with the eyes, a major theme of time is represented again and again throughout The Great Gatsby. While this theme is represented with many symbols, the major symbol is the clock. The scene starts with Gatsby entering Nick’s ...