Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

Length: 3 Pages 874 Words

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 na Continue...


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The green light represents Gatsby's goals and dreams, and how he will do anything for Daisy. This symbol is part of his American Dream, and is the main goal of Gatsby's ultimate success which is to win back Daisy. The mist, which covers up Tom, little Pammy, and the house, is Gatsby's reassurance to keep time still, and block out what time has brought in between the two lovers. The scene starts with Gatsby entering Nick's house, finding himself standing there with his long lost love Daisy, whom Gatsby has not seen for about five years. Along with the eyes, a major theme of time is represented again and again throughout The Great Gatsby. Eckleberg, the clock, and the green light show a lot about the novel. The green light comes from Daisy's house, which Gatsby seems to obsess over. Gatsby is focused on one thing, and it is all to get the girl. "Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically (86). 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). Later when Gatsby and Daisy are over at his house, Gatsby tells Daisy, "If it wasn't for the mist we could see your home across the bay. In this scene, the clock represents how much Gatsby wants to go back in time to be with Daisy. He enters the house to meet Daisy and the rain outside is getting increasingly worse, which shows the tension in their reunion.