Charles de Agustin
May 10, 2014
The Great Gatsby Essay
When identifying American literary classics, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is consistently one of the first to be named. Jay Gatsby is a young billionaire living in Long Island whose lone goal in life is to marry Daisy Buchanan, an ex-lover of his. Nick Carraway, the narrator and Gatsby's neighbor in West Egg, strives to help Gatsby with his ultimately unattainable dream, but to no avail. What might seem to be a rather simple plot is spiced up with Fitzgerald's blissful and unique style, which is often the reason for the book's wide celebration. More specifically, symbolism is incessant throughout: Fitzgerald uses colors as symbols in order to enhance the reader's deeper understanding of the story and characters.
Arguably the most prominent colors used as symbols in the novel are gold and yellow.
Among many other things, gold is a universal symbol of wealth and success (Parker). Affluence is constantly present in The Great Gatsby, an obvious example being Gatsby's parties: buffet tables are stuffed with "turkeys bewitched to a dark gold" (Fitzgerald, 40) and other meals of that caliber. Gold does not only stand for material worth, but also character. Jordan Baker is regularly associated with gold, being the golden girl of golf and Nick describing an encounter with her as having "(her) slender golden arm resting in mine" (Fitzgerald, 43). All this gold clearly describes Jordan on the surface as being well-off and successful; however, there must be more substance to her. This is where the symbolism of yellow becomes applicable. While yellow is usually associated with positivity and intellect (Parker), it is important to interpret its meaning relative to the presence of gold in the novel. This results in...