Skip Nav

The Great Gatsby Essay Example: Symbolism and American Dream

Roadmap to This Article

❶With a number of subtle hints, Fitzgerald reveals how this ideal turned into the everlasting pursuit of materialistic values. Ask Questions Suggest Resources Upload.

Works Cited

Choose Your Test
Popular Topics
Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? Anna Wulick May 8, 8: Roadmap to This Article What are symbols and why do authors use them? How do you find symbols in a work of fiction? What Is a Symbol? Why Do Authors Use Symbols? Symbols Are Everywhere First, you have to realize that almost anything can be a symbol.

Sometimes it's also a shorthand, evocative way of representing a particular set of people or their ideas. More globally, it stands for the vulgar approximation of the upper class that the East Egg crowd scorns and mocks. This is probably the most common type of symbol - a thing that carries meaning over and above its inherent thing-ness.

Think, for instance, of the ridiculously expensive pearl necklace Tom gives Daisy before their wedding. He means it to be symbolic of his love for her, but it is also clearly a symbol of the way he uses his wealth to control other people something he will later do with Myrtle. More globally, it symbolizes the rich using their money to get their way. Sometimes, a character's actions, gestures, ways of speaking, or behaviors are themselves symbolic, representing an idea about that character alone, or about a group of similar people.

One of Gatsby's most defining characteristics is his striving drive to attain Daisy's love and a position in the upper class - basically, a life that's just out of reach. His habitual gesture of reaching for the ungraspable symbolizes this trait.

Infrequently, a character can also function as a symbol of a greater idea. This is literary device is hard to pull off, because making a person into a symbol tends to take away at least some of their individuality and personhood.

This is exactly what happens in The Great Gatsby , where Daisy is at once herself lover to Gatsby, cousin to Nick, wife to Tom, mother to Pammy , and also a symbol of the American Dream and its flaws. Universally Meaningful Symbols Some symbols are culturally universal. Here are some examples: Most civilizations imbue colors with meaning, although that meaning is by no means always the same either from one culture to another, or even within the same culture.

For instance, think about the way we perceive the color red. The moon, the sun, stars - these are all potential symbols. They don't play as prominent a role in The Great Gatsby as they do in some other books, but you can still find a lot of significance in the way the moon tends to illuminate the truth.

If it's naturally-occurring, and if it intersects with the characters in any way, chances are it can be read as a symbol of something. Weather, in particular, plays a key function in this novel, especially when in extreme situations, like when Gatsby and Daisy's reunio n is almost ruined by a downpour, or when the tense confrontation in the Plaza Hotel is made even more excruciating by the unrelenting heat.

In each case, the weather can be interpreted as a symbol for the characters' emotions. Whenever a book pays a lot of attention to hands, eyes, lips, or any other part of the body, there are bound to be layers of meaning behind it. In this novel, bodies are very important symbols of how characters are perceived. Pay close attention to places or objects that are described at length, especially if the novel comes back to them multiple times, or if their description has a key element that slips its boundaries and starts being applied to other things.

For example, in The Great Gatsby , the valley of ashes is a strange, dusty, gray place that is never referred to by its real place name Queens , or some made-up town name like West Egg and East Egg , but is instead given this Biblically-inflected nickname. Anything that is either completely out of place in its surroundings, or is creepy, confusing, mysterious, or discomfiting in some way is probably a symbol. For example, the billboard with the eyes of Doctor T.

Eckleburg clearly unnerves everyone who looks at it. Anything that one of the main characters is fixated on is probably a symbol. Academic level Undergraduate Bachelor Professional. Deadline 6 hours 3 hours 12 hours 24 hours 2 days 3 days 6 days 10 days 14 days. Regardless of the turnaround time or field of study, you can be sure we have qualified personnel to handle the assignment for you.

Our writers are knowledgeable in virtually all subject areas and will process your assignment as fast as possible to beat the deadlines. We have an exceptional team of proficient writers with a vast experience in writing quality academic essays. Therefore, we will deliver academic essays of amazing quality not available anywhere else.

You can bet on that! You will not find competent and certified essay writers like the ones on our spectacular team. We are your best bet for having a professionally written essay that will get you the best grades in no time.

Let us process your essay and you will see only amazing results with us. With us, originality and uniqueness are paramount factors to success.

We can never compromise on that. You can bet that we double check our essays so you know you will receive original work every time. We have many competent and certified writers available to process your essay and you can chat with them online to find the best one to work with.

We have many certified writers who are ready to happily process your essay even with a 4-hour deadline. Our team of writing experts is available on call and can churn out an outstanding essay for you on short notice without compromising on quality. Our essay writing service is tailored to fit your budget. We have only affordable prices for you, and we offer a quality service. Find out how much your paper will cost.

Choose your Deadline date 3hr 6hr 12hr 24hr 2d 3d 6d 10d 14d. How to Conclude an Essay. It is my understanding that East and West Egg are no exception to this, appearing to be perfect from the outside. Therefore the eggs helped my understanding of the novel. An artificial light that flashes to make incoming boats aware of the dock, it is key in understanding the novel.

The green light gave Gatsby something to reach for. He purposely chose his home so as to have the green light within reaching distance.

Finally the seasonal setting of the novel can also be interpreted as symbolic. The novel is set in the summer of The summer in New York is known to be hot, heavy and humid. This is reflected as the novel reaches its climax. When the main characters take their trip to New York it is on one of the hottest days of the summer.

I found the symbol of the summer to be helpful in understanding how the novel would pan out. Scott Fitzgerald worked wonders with the symbolic aspect of the novel. He used every option to create symbols that help the reader to gain a stronger understanding of his novel and the ideas behind it.

From colours to characters and places to seasonal settings I thoroughly enjoyed the way the symbols worked with the novel. We would love to hear your feedback, comments, ideas or anything else you'd like to say.

Are you a teacher? Forum Your notes Our Maths Course. Ask Questions Suggest Resources Upload.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Symbolism in The Great Gatsby - Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Symbolism is what makes a story complete. And it is used through "The Great Gatsby." Virtually anything in the novel can be taken as a symbol, from the weather, to the colors of clothing the characters wear.

Privacy FAQs

Symbols play a huge role in the Great Gatsby. They add to the understanding we take from the novel. They add to the understanding we take from the novel. A symbol is an object, character, figure or colour that is used to represent an abstract idea or concept.

About Our Ads

The colors in The Great Gatsby reveal the worshipped idea of the American Dream and present thematic elements within the characters and the destructive lives they lead. Within the novel, the color symbolism reveals more details about the personality of the characters and the . Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Essay Words | 3 Pages. The Great Gatsby Symbols Throughout the book the Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are many examples of very simple things that have a deeper meaning or represent more than meets the eye.

Cookie Info

Essay about The Great Gatsby Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Symbols are always used in novels to help readers understand the story in-depth. In Francis Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, symbols are widely used for Jay Gatsby and George Wilson's character development. Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, a novel written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald in , nowadays is rightly seen as the classics of the American literature. On the face of it, the plot seems to be a usual story of broken hopes and expectations.