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Color Essay Great Gatsby

Character Color Analysis”The Great Gatsby”, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is discusses social classes, and focuses on the theme of a fading social order. This theme is shown in the relationships between the characters and undoubtedly in the characters themselves. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald not only uses color symbolism to set the scenes and events, but he also uses it to present, describe, and shape every single character. Gatsby is one of these characters; his choices, decisions, ideas, and beliefs are represented by symbolism and colors yellow, green, and white.

First, yellow stands out as the color that represents new money and wealth acquired. “…I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder.”(Pg. 77). Fitzgerald uses gold, a vivid representation of yellow, to symbolize the wealth gained by Gatsby and the immense desire for him to get even more and to show it off to the entire society. In the light of the following events, it is easy to see how Gatsby is blinded by his love for Daisy and therefore money. He buys a large yellow Rolls Royce to show off his new money. The band at his party plays “yellow cocktail music” to show his fulsome way of living and life. Yellow, as in Egypt and Burma, also symbolizes Gatsby’s mourning about showing and telling his past; the yellow shirt he wears while he is lying to Nick about his past is a vivid example of this symbolism.

Second, Fitzgerald uses the color green to symbolize greed, hope, and jealousy. The new money and wealth gained by Gatsby is nothing compared to the old money that Tom Buchanan has always had. “In the sunlight his time was green.”(Pg. 117). Green represents the envy that Gatsby feels for Tom and for the fact that Daisy is with him just because of his wealth. Gatsby’s hopeless love and envy for daisy is represented by this color. The bright light that this color gives shows the hope Gatsby had for being with daisy. The green light of Daisy’s dock shows how much he hopes and desires a chance to live his future with the love of his life.

Third, Fitzgerald uses the color white to symbolize purity and a mask covering dishonesty. This purity is shown in Gatsby’s hopeless desire to gain Daisy’s love, as she was the white lady of his dreams presented to him for the first time in a shiny white dress. This white dress shows Gatsby’s view over her as pure worn by her shows how much her corruption was being masked or at least tried to be masked. “His Heart beat faster when Daisy’s white face came up to his own.”(Pg. 107). She also uses white powder on her face and at one point she starts talking about her “white girlhood” and how she was so pure and naïve. Gatsby’s dream was getting destroyed piece by piece by this white veil of corruption and materialism. Gatsby’s white dreams were nothing but an entangled chaos brought by Daisy’s materialistic ideas. After all, Gatsby’s true love turns out to be a black witch masked by a white veil of purity.

In final consideration, Fitzgerald builds and shapes a world of colors around the characters of the story, creating not only their different looks and behaviors, but also elaborating their personalities and sentiments. These colors connect the reader to the novel by making him see and feel the actual events and emotions a character has and not only an imaginative image. Gatsby’s example, which is full of lines rich of color imagery, makes the reader feel what he feels; sense what he senses; and try to be what he is. Gatsby’s figure is greatly shaped by this color imagery, validating and supporting the title of the book, colors show how great The Great Gatsby was.

gatcolor Great Gatsby Essays: Importance of Color

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Importance of Color in The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald


            In literature, colors are often purposefully chosen for different characters to represent the character’s personalities. In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the colors green, yellow/gold, and gray are used to represent the attributes of the colored person or place.

            Apparently, green is the most prominently used color in the novel. The reason for this may be that green is the color used to describe the main character of the novel, Jay Gatsby. One of the possible meanings of green in this story is envy. Gatsby can be seen as an envious man for a few reasons. For one, he is extremely envious of Tom Buchanan because of the fact that he has the one thing he can’t buy, Daisy. Also, Gatsby is extremely envious of the people that he invites to his house. He knows that he is not old money like the people he invites to his parties. This makes him a man of who, is “Green with envy.”

            In like manner, green is also used to symbolize money. In the story, money controls the life of the people in the story. Gatsby feels that he needs green money to live and to impress Daisy. Symbols of Gatsby’s money included his large green lawn and the green ivy growing up his house. Also, in his car, it depicts the passengers sitting “in a sort of green leather conservatory.” All of these symbols depict Gatsby’s money.

            In contrast to green, yellow and gold are used to be an example of old money, unlike green that is used to depict the new money of gold. Tom could be seen as a gold person for he has old money. As green and gold contrast, so do Gatsby and Tom. A quotation of new money gold is “… Jordan’s slender golden arm resting on mine…” Gatsby desperately buys “….. a yellow car,” in which he will attempt to be of old money, even though everyone knows that Gatsby is not of old money. Gold and green are as much a contrast of new and old, but they do have a distant connection just as a new and an old car have the same connection. They may look different, but deep down, the two can be seen as the same item.  Fitzgerald describes the Valley of Ashes as

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 "...a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys...and ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud...."(23)

 It is also noted that, "occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along...."(23)

 The people who live in this gray city are hopeless and poor. The gray surroundings symbolize the poor rode ahead that is existent without any life of color to come. The gray symbolizes a loss of hope. When the book describes Wilson with "an ashen dust veiled [Wilson's] suit and his pale hair...."(26) This shows that there is no hope for George Wilson. Also, gray can symbolize death. The gray valley of ashes ties in very well with this concept when Myrtle dies in the ugly, hopeless town.

            In summary, color plays an important role in a novel. In The Great Gatsby, color is used as most of the symbolism in the book. Without color, the book would be without interest or meaning. If one thinks of no color in the book, what would the story symbolize? How could it be analyzed? Could people even have interest in it? Color is an important part of literature which is used often and will always be an element of a good novel.