The Great Gatsby Symbolism Analysis

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Harold Bloom, the author of Modern Critical Interpretations of the Great Gatsby, said “Never has symbolism played such a crucial part in the very foundation of a novel as it does in Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby”. According to “Studies in in Literature and Language” of CSC Canada, symbolism emphasises the expression of subjective spirit and personal inner world. Through the symbolism in a work, readers can get an insight into the writer’s inner world and broaden implications. In this novel, Fitzgerald uses symbolism such as the valley of the ashes, the green light, and the use of colours to portray the many themes presented in the novel.

The valley of the ashes -- the area between the West and East Egg -- represents absolute poverty and hopelessness. Fitzgerald first introduces “The desolate area of land” (35) in chapter two, where “ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and...translucent effort of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. (35)” Unlike the extravagant West and East egg, the valley of the ashes presents a dark tone to the novel. All the events that occur in the valley of the ashes appears to be morally unsettling because of the dark and grey connotation. The colour grey -- the colour for dreariness -- describes this valley, a place of no hope and future. It symbolises the lack of life, colour, and spirit. Furthermore, the poverty-stricken characters, such as Myrtle and Wilson, want to leave the valley of the

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