Colour symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby"

Essay by neshenHigh School, 11th grade July 2006

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A careful examination of the " The Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald reveals that his intention was to satirize the Corruption of society. Set in the core of America, Fitzgerald portrays a hedonistic society decaying in morals and consumed in materialism, he expresses this through the symbolism of colour and nature. Likewise, The critic, J.S Westbrook suggests the failure of American society are " symbolized by two patterns of revolves around the problem of seeing, the other around the idea of nature".

The ocular motifs are symbolized by colour. The three main colours that are symbolized are, white, yellow and blue, while the idea that nature communicates the immorality of society, is brought about by the symbolism of flowers and water. Westbrook proposes that the "world of Gatsby may be said to abound in colours, all of the brighter varieties, but the most brilliant of them attends ironically upon its unhappiest events".

The colour white traditionally symbolizes purity, and innocence, However, in accordance to Westbrook's suggestion, Fitzgerald ironically conveys the colour white as being tainted when it is used to describe Manhattan as rising in ' heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money'.

Additionally, the colour white underlines the illusive nature of wealthy people within this society. In which beneath the deceptive appearance of glamour, there is a dark side, as seen with Daisy Buchanan in then novel. Her name symbolizes a flower: its petals are white, but its inside is yellow. The yellow, impure core of the flower symbolises Daisy's immorality and recklessness, as she Kills an innocent person, but continues to live her life without guilt. Similarly Westbrook goes on to advocate that " the profusion of horticultural effects, becomes, at last, oppressive"

Yellow and blue is used upon the...