What Is The Color Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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With the beginning of the 20th century, great changes arrived in all spheres of human activity due to the growing needs of the society. Like everything else, literature had to offer new literary frames that will meet the requirements of the readership. One of the pioneers that had the courage to try something different and unique was the American novelist Francis Scott Fitzgerald, who became a cultural icon because of his success to embody the era he in which he lived inside of his works. Through the analysis of some key symbols in ‘The Great Gatsby’ we will see how for example colors do not always have positive connotations or how some elements, minor and irrelevant to the one group of characters, have great importance to the other. The symbols…show more content…
The colors of white, yellow, and green are the most eminent, easily distinguishable from the rest, and representing purity, death, and hope” (Yaffe 1). Firstly, white color will be discussed as it is “one of the main symbolic colors in The Great Gatsby, representing purity, innocence, and honesty” (Yaffe 1). At the beginning of the novel Nick Carraway visited his cousin Daisy Buchanan and both she and her friend Jordan Baker wore white dresses. Although they were only sitting on a sofa, Nick was overwhelmed by their beauty, especially by the looks of Jordan Baker, whom he did not know until then, and said: “I was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in” (Fitzgerald 9). Nick Carraway himself wore white attire on different occasions throughout the novel, like at the first party at Gatsby’s mansion trying to make an impression and at the time he was still not corrupted by this extravagant way of life. Although at first sight everything that is white seems innocent and beautiful, the symbol of this…show more content…
The second color mentioned is yellow, as Yaffe describes it, “the color of depravity” (1). This symbolic color is seen only in the valley of ashes, more specifically, the glasses on the advertisement of T.J. Eckleburg and George Wilson’s yellow brick home. A statement that yellow is the color of death is supported by Myrtle Wilson’s death. “Myrtle Wilson was killed by Gatsby 's yellow Rolls Royce in front of her yellow brick house under the yellow glasses of T.J. Eckleburg” (Yaffe 2). After these colors symbolizing negativity comes the “vibrant and mysterious color of green, seen mostly in the beginning and end of the novel” (Yaffe 2). This color is connected only with the character of Jay Gatsby who, as Nick described, “stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward - and distinguishing nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald 20). The green light, the contemporary signal which peremptorily summons the traveler on his way, serves well as the symbol for man in hurried pursuit of a beckoning
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