The Significance Of Color In The Great Gatsby

567 words - 3 pages

In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald used the colors green, white, and yellow for symbolism-representing money, innocence, and corruption respectively. The use of symbolic color occurs throughout the novel, helping give a better understanding and description of characterization and setting.In literature, green is often used to symbolize money, envy, and in Gatsby, Jay Gatsby's love for Daisy Buchanan. Fitzgerald most often used green to represent old money. This is a factor in Jay Gatsby's envy of Tom Buchanan's possessions, especially Daisy, and the people of old money who come to his parties. Green is used to represent this envy. Fitzgerald also used green to symbolize Gatsby's love for Daisy. He attained wealth for ...view middle of the document...

When Daisy and Jordan are introduced to Nick, they are both wearing white, though their true corruption is revealed time and again throughout the novel. Fitzgerald used different shades of white to veil Daisy's corruption, such as the white powder she uses on her face. Daisy refers to her "white girlhood", a time when she was untouched by men and knew little of the real world. Corruption is also symbolized by white in Nick's dream: "four men dressed in suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress. Her hand, which dangles over the edge, sparkles cold with jewels. Gravely, the men turn at house-the wrong house. But no one knows the woman's name, and no one cares."Yellow stands out as a symbol of corruption and decay. It is also used as a symbol of new money, whereas green symbolizes old money. For example, Gatsby desperately buys a large yellow car to show off his recently acquired wealth, and the orchestra at his parties, which he holds to exhibit his lavish way of living, plays "yellow cocktail music." Yellow represents corruption and lies, as well. When Gatsby lies about his past to Nick, he is wearing a "caramel-colored suit," symbolizing his deceit. Gatsby's yellow "death car" is a symbol of Gatsby's blind love for Daisy and Daisy's corruption and deception of Gatsby.The use of colors in literature to symbolize characters, moods, and settings is seen often in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Green, the most dominant color, representing money, love, and envy, white, a symbol of innocence and a veil over corruption, and yellow, symbolizing new money, corruption, and deceit, play a large role in setting the mood and aiding understanding of the novel.

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