Zoe BlackburnCraigAP LangDecember 3, 2017The Great Gatsby SymbolismSymbolism is the use of symbols to supply things with a representative meaning.
In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, uses colors, a broken clock, and weather to portray and connect different but similar ideas to one another. The use of symbols within the novel connect and relate to the rest of the book to represent the theme of the rise and fall of the American Dream. The color green in the novel The Great Gatsby symbolizes Jay Gatsby and the choices he makes throughout his lifetime and reveal the worshipped idea of the American Dream. The American Dream show the destructive lives the characters lead that show the theme. The green light at the end of the dock near Daisy’s house represents his wish of happiness with Daisy. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward–and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.
” (Fitzgerald 26). Gatsby tries to chase after his dream of getting Daisy back into his life, but he shouldn’t because she married Tom and started a family. She has moved on with her life and that should be a sign for Gatsby to move on as well. This leads to the symbolism of the clock which symbolizes the time which the characters can not get back. Fitzgerald shows loss of time by the word ‘time’ frequently throughout the novel. The loss of time is portrayed by a broken clock .
Gatsby’s relationship with time is most important because it shows the time between Gatsby and Daisy the last time they saw each other. “We haven’t met for for many years…. Five years next November” (Fitzgerald 92). This quote shows that they haven’t seen each other in many years.
When Daisy said it’s been many years this shows that she has moved on and forgotten about the past, compared to when Gatsby says an exact time shows that he never moved on completely and still held on to Daisy. He wants to erase five years of his life along with Daisy’s so he can start over with her. Gatsby’s told Nick that he can repeat the past. This is symbolic to Gatsby’s fate.
“Can’t repeat the past?…
Why of course you can!” (Fitzgerald 116). Gatsby cannot accept Daisy until she erases the last three years of her life by telling Tom that she never loved him to his face. Daisy can’t do this because she once did love Tom and as soon as she says she never loved Tom she would be Gatsby’s permanently. In the novel there are moments where the weather sets a mood.
Characters in the novel change their mood which correlates with the certain weather conditions. Heat symbolizes conflict and the tension between characters. When it is hot, issues rise “The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer.” (Fitzgerald 120). When Gatsby is confronted by Tom the weather is at its hottest. The heat represents the extremity of a situation. Another part of symbolism in weather is fall. Fall matches the mood of Jay Gatsby’s death.
“The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved slowly, tracing, like the leg of a compass, a thin red circle in the water.” (Fitzgerald 170). Dead leaves fall off trees in the season of fall which show a sign of an end.
Gatsby dies in autumn showing that he has reached the end of his life and will begin to fall. The hidden significance of the many symbolic elements in The Great Gatsby play a role in revealing the themes of the American Dream. The Great Gatsby shows the American dream, and the clash between love, wealth, social and moral destruction. The unique symbols used in The Great Gatsby connect the theme throughout the novel with the destructive characters trying to achieve the American Dream. This creates more internal and external damage along the way.