Color Symbolism in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Essay by kerbop13High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2003

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The Jazz era of the 1920's introduced many new innovations to literature, including the use of color symbolism. Upon seeing a certain color, the mind is triggered into connecting the color with a specific emotion or meaning. Through the effective use of the colors green, white, and gray in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates how colors are able to symbolize and enhance characterization and setting. Because the author is able to evoke emotions by incorporating color, Fitzgerald takes advantage of the ability to connect his character's persona with the reader under discreet terms. By not only examining the character's actions and the setting's disposition, but also the color that portrays them the reader can better interpret the personality of the character and mood of the novel.

Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald uses the color gray to represent hopelessness and unimportance. While describing George Wilson, he states, "Mingling immediately with the cement color on the walls.

A white ashen dust veiled his dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in its vicinity - except his wife, who moved closer to Tom (Fitzgerald, 28)." Although the veil of gray hopelessness surrounds Wilson, Myrtle is sheltered from the ugly gray by moving closer to Tom. Because Tom is of higher social status, Myrtle naïvely believes that Tom will essentially pull her from the realms of her gray existence in the Valley of Ashes. Myrtle Wilson, and her husband George Wilson, reside in the Valley of Ashes, home of the lowest social class. Therefore, Myrtle is desperately trying to evade the gray atmosphere that expresses the hopelessness of the people felt in the Valley of Ashes. However, Myrtle eventually succumbs to the gray life she was trying to avoid when she dies in the gray atmosphere in the Valley...