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The Great Gatsby By: F. Scott Fitzgerald

595 words - 3 pages

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, there are many symbols used. Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Symbolism plays a key role in this novel. Without symbolism this novel would have no real plot or theme. There are five main symbols that are used predominantly in The Great Gatsby: West Egg, East Egg, The Green Light, The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, and the Valley of Ashes. The first symbol that is used is West Egg. West Egg is a fictional area of Long Island. West Egg is home to people that are considered to be the "newly rich." These people have just been given their money and all of the sudden are rich. The people living in West Egg ...view middle of the document...

The third symbol is the infamous Green Light. The Green Light is located at the end of Daisy's dock in East Egg. Although it is barely visible from Gatsby's West Egg house, it plays a very important role in this novel. The Green Light most likely represents Gatsby's hopes and dreams for the future. At the beginning of the novel Gatsby associates the Green Light with Daisy as he reaches towards it. In a more general sense the Green Light is used to represent the American Dream. The American Dream being the admiration for America as a new Eden, optimism, and the independent/self-reliant person. There was also a rise in materialism. The fourth symbol that is used throughout this novel is the Valley of Ashes. The Valley of Ashes is located between West Egg and New York City. It is a void, empty, ashy, and dusty piece of land. The dumping of industrial ashes created it. It mainly represents the reality of modern life in the fact of moral and social decay. This decay was caused by the uncontrollable pursuit for wealth. It also represents the troubles of the poor like George Wilson. The final symbol that is predominately used in this novel is the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. These "eyes" are actually a billboard that is situated on a hill that is overlooking the Valley of Ashes. The "eyes" are often compared to being god-like. The billboard is faded like the eyes of god are no longer looking upon the area that has allowed materialism to spread. They could also represent the eyes of an absent god looking out over the wasteland of modern life. At the end of the book Nick believes that Gatsby's last moments were of him thinking about how he never achieved his dreams and about how his life wasn't complete.

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