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

Essay by usernamoHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" there are many patterns of symbolism carried throughout the novel. Amidst the childish love story between Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby--the lovers who could never be--there is a far deeper meaning brought to it. For instance, a billboard could just be a billboard, but the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are deeper, as for the simple green light of in the distance, more than just a nautical beacon. These things make the story even deeper than face value, and honestly much more poignant.

The green light on the end of Daisy's dock is introduced when Gatsby reaches, "trembling", out toward it across the sea. It, more transparently, represents Gatsby dreams and hopes, as he reaches toward the "minute" light, but it also has other, more subtle, associations such as money--"green"--and notably also, the color green represents jealousy and undoubtedly Gatsby withheld some jealousy of Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan; the light also though seems to symbolize the impossibility of Gatsby winning back Daisy, being far away in the distance and out of reach.

"His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him..." Despite how close he may have gotten to Daisy's green light, it was always just out of reach for him.

In addition, the eyes of the T.J. Eckleburg billboard and their placement in the 'valley of ashes' suggests a sense of judgment (they are constantly being watched) such as when Mr. Wilson is looking outside into Eckleburg's eyes remembering saying to his wife, "God knows what you've been doing...You may fool me, but you can't fool God." He seems to clearly define the significance of the billboard when he cries, "God sees everything!" while...