The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
‘The Great Gatsby’ is a novel written by Scott Fitzgerald about a young man named Nick Carraway. It was based in the 1920s and features the life of Carraway from the time he moved from Minnesota to New York to get knowledge of business in bonds. The author uses elements of imagery in different parts of the book to bring out the story of Nick in a clear and vivid manner. The main rationale of this paper is to discuss the use of symbolism in The Great Gatsby quoting sections of the book that show the use of symbolism and what they mean in the novel. The main examples of symbolism in that the paper will discuss are; the Valley of Ashes, The Green Light and The Eyes of Doctor of T.J. Eckleburg.
The Valley of Ashes is also another example of the use of symbolism in the novel. The valley of ashes is located between West Egg, where Nick and Gatsby lived, and New York City. It consisted of a long stretch of deserted land that was created as a result of industries dumping ashes. This gets the reader thinking of the valley of ashes as one vast, grey reality check in life. This is in comparison with Gatsby’s colorful and lavish parties, with champagne and live music. The land of ash-men and smokestacks thus comes across as a wakeup call and a reminder to the real situation of life. The valley of ashes also represents social and moral decay that ensued from the wanton quest for wealth, as the rich people in the society only thought about making more money and did not think about the effects of their actions in the poor.
The green light located at Daisy’s East Egg dock is also another symbol used in the novel. The light was barely visible from Gatsby’s lawn on West Egg. The light represents the hopes and dreams that Gatsby had for the future. Gatsby associated the light with Daisy, and he tried reaching towards it in the darkness, and used it as a guiding light to guide him towards achieving the American dream.
According to the author, the eyes of Doctor Eckleburg were two shining and arrogant eyes which established dominance over his face and gave him an aggressive appearance. The pair of eyes wearing spectacles above the valley of ashes could characterize God, looking down upon America and judging the vices that people in the American society were committing. The connection between God and Dr. Eckleburg’s eyes is shown by George Wilson’s mind that was stricken by grief. In addition, the eyes also represent the indispensable lack of meaning of the world, as well as, the randomness of the mental process through which people invest in objects with great meaning. This is shown through Nick’s imaginations of Gatsby’s last thoughts as a contemplation of the emptiness of dream and symbols in life.
The author uses symbolism in the novel to paint an abstract picture of some aspects of the characters and location, as well as, other aspects in life to give the reader a deeper insight of the moral lesson behind the story. His use of symbolism is quite effective because the reader gets to understand some aspects about the characters that would otherwise be difficult to tell.