Color Symbolism in The Great Gatsby

Length: 3 Pages 811 Words

Authors often use color symbolism in their writing to show a deeper meaning. Often, these colors associate with a particular feeling of object. Fitzgerald is no different in his work, The Great Gatsby. It is discernible that Fitzgerald uses a multitude of color references in his writing. The ones most easily recognizable are the use of yellow, white and green. There are however, such colors as silver, blue and red that lack obvious recognition due to their vagueness in the text. Yellow is identifiable as money and white as purity, however, the full aspect of the meaning is lost. White is the first color the Fitzgerald symbolizes through his writing. A strong contrast between light and dark shows whites in accordance with other colors (Schneider 1). The white represents the purity of Gatsby’s dream that mingles with darkness in the form of such people as Tom and Daisy. The Valley of the Ashes shows this contrast. In a world that is so grand, the American Dream is left to wallow in the true nature of humanity (Schneider 4). In the first chapter, where Daisy and Jordan first appear, “They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the hou Continue...


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An example where this romantic side appears is in the first scene where Nick is observing Gatsby, who is staring up at the stars in a romantic sort of longing. In this specific example, white symbolizes the airiness and buoyancy, and the fact that everything is surreal (Schneider 2). Yellow is one of the primary colors shown throughout the novel, but one of the other more subtle colors is the use of blue. In accordance with the symbolism of white and goldyellow, Daisy is the most prominent character to which these colors apply. Silver is not a prominent color symbol in The Great Gatsby, however, there is one main scene in which it is an important symbol. There is one conclusive color that deserves explanation, and that is green. Again, the truth blinds Gatsby, which leads to his abatement in the end. Here Fitzgerald wants to underscore the irony between their visible appearance and their actual corruption. Silver is symbolizing both the dream and the reality, since as the color of the romantic stars and the moon represents the romantic hope and promise that govern Gatsby's life (Schneider 3). In the text there are many references to this such as, " Her voice is "like money"; she carries a "little gold pencil"; when she visits Gatsby there are "two rows of brass buttons on her dress (Schneider 3). Fitzgerald's use of color in The Great Gatsby is a pivotal part in obtaining the true corruption of the American Dream. When Nick sees Daisy and Jordan both lying on the couch a second time, they are "like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans (Fitzgerald 122). The blue epitomizes with the promise and dream that Gatsby has mistaken for reality (Schneider 5).