Danny Helou 1/25/18Color Me Crazy AP Comp.
Essential Question: How does Fitzgerald use colors to develop the central idea of the novelColor symbolism was a very popular element to apply into novels during the 1920’s. It was often used to develop the central idea of the novel, just like how the author of this novel did. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” there are many symbolic colors found throughout the novel that are used to develop the central idea which is the decline of the American Dream. The American Dream is regardless of race or who you are, you can succeed in anything you do. The symbolic colors consist of red, blue, yellow and grey.
In this novel red is associated with blood, it is used to represent danger and violence. One example from the novel is Nick’s book collection. His finance books are red and gold. These two are associated together to show that in order to obtain wealth and fame, it is often closely associated with blood and violence. The color blue in The Great Gatsby symbolizes loneliness. This color is used to show Gatsby’s true inner self, how he is lonely and sad. Also, the color yellow is used to symbolize wealth and Gatsby’s outer self.
In a way, Gatsby’s wealth is used to cover up or mask his inner self and feelings. In West Egg culture, yellow symbolizes wealth and nobility. Finally, the color grey is used to rule the whole novel. It is used to neutralize the plot. This is proved by the weather as usually it is cloudy and grey. Also, The Valley of Ashes is described as almost depressing, it is a grey place.
This color symbolizes corruption and moral decay. Although these four symbols convey a central idea successfully there are two colors that stand out the most, these two are green and white.The color green is used to symbolize Gatsby’s dreams and hopes, and if the light diminishes, so will he. The first time the green light is seen in this novel is at the end of chapter one. Gatsby was pulling his arms out in front of him toward the water. He spots the green light across the water on a dock.
Through Gatsby’s point of view, the green light represents Daisy which is his lifelong dream. The green light seems so close that if he tries his best, it can be his forever, symbolizing he can have Daisy. At the same time though it seems so far and that it is destined to be a failure and diminish from his sight. The second time the green light is seen is after Gatsby shows his true wealth to Daisy.
Daisy begins to cry after being covered in Gatsby’s “beautiful shirts”. Gatsby then proceeds and says to Daisy, “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock” (Fitzgerald, 92-93). At this point in the story, it seems as if Jay is realizing his true dream he is destined for but soon becomes lost in his thoughts. It seems as if the original green light had lost its major significance after this. The final time the green light is seen in this novel is at the end of the novel. Before Gatsby dies, the light stopped shining, which showed that his end was near.
Throughout the novel the green light was used to symbolize Gatsby’s true hopes and dreams. The green light was a very important aspect in this novel and shaped the way Gatsby was portrayed in this. It showed the Gatsby had a tight grip on the past and could not move on, as him and Daisy were in a relationship before. Jay Gatsby believed he could change the past for the good of the future but it just was not possible. As the green light began to fade, so did Gatsby and his dreams. This is how the author used color symbolism to develop the central idea.
In addition, the color white is used in this novel to develop the central idea. White in this novel symbolizes pure beauty, specifically Daisy’s beauty. This is set to be Daisy’s color in the novel.
For example, when Nick visits her she is wearing a white dress and also when Gatsby and Daisy first meet, she is wearing a white dress. Her name also represents a white flower, with a yellow center. Even throughout her house, there is white everywhere, as said on page 158,”“A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags.” (Fitzgerald, 158).The white represents her purity and beauty but the yellow represents “new” wealth. This type of wealth is different from the wealth in west egg. Gatsby lives in west egg, representing old wealth. The newly rich people usually reside in east egg, it is almost as if it is fake wealth in a way.
It seems as if Daisy is innocent and pure when they meet her for the first time. This is one of the main reasons why Gatsby is obsessed and in love with Daisy. This is how the color white is used to convey the central idea of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.
Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald uses a variety of symbols to develop the central idea but colors stand out the most to the reader. As stated in the introduction, color symbolism was very popular in literature during the 1920’s or the Jazz age. There are six main colors used to elaborate on a central idea and they consist of green, white, grey, red, blue and yellow.
Each have a specific meaning and impact the plot of the story in their own ways. This is how F. Scott Fitzgerald uses colors to develop the central idea in the novel.