Dove and peace, rose and love, they are simple yet symbolic. Every two years televisions around the world are graced with the images of five multicolored joined rings meant to represent the unity of the world in a celebration of the Olympic games. Although a circle is nothing more than a geometric shape to some, others take it to be a representation of endless love and friendship. People hold different things to be symbolic, but the inevitable truth is that everyone holds something to be representative of something else.
Symbolic representation is common amongst people and cultures around the world, however it is also used by authors in literature to change meanings or instill a different meaning in the mind of the reader. In the novel The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, symbolic representation is present in many forms. It is seen in the guests that attended Gatsby’s parties, his gigantic library, the general color scheme used in descriptions, the billboard, dust, and the setting of the entire story. Jay Gatsby’s guests at his party were symbolic in the novel by representing the entire ‘new money’; social class.
The guest’s big and sophisticated names were representative of their high social ranking, yet they also acted as shields to hide their insensitivity and shallowness. They managed to show up at every one of Gatsby’s lavish parties and take full advantage of everything he had to offer them. Their disrespectful and drunken behavior often led to the damaging of property, for which they cared nothing about. Their presence was for their own benefit to a high class, but it was of little importance to Gatsby at the time. When, however, Gatsby was truly in need of their company (while he was on his death bed), they could not seem to find his house.
Gatsby was so obsessed in his attempts to win the respect of others that he furnished an elaborate library. It was common for people in the 1920’s to appear sophisticated by owning huge libraries. In most cases these libraries contained cardboard cutouts of classic novels and not the real thing, it was only their appearance that satisfied others, but Gatsby was so intent on being respected that he purchased the real novels with little or no intention of reading them or ever using them to his academic benefit. The settings in the novel were also very symbolic about the people.
In the past when people were settling, they would head West took look for new opportunities and a chance for wealth, however that direction was reversed in The Great Gatsby, so people headed East instead of West, such as Nick who headed their to look for opportunity in the bond business. People’s class was also symbolized by the setting, If you were on the East Egg, you represented the sophisticated, high class, ‘old money’; people; If you lived in the West Egg, you represented the middle class, ‘new money’; people; and if you lived in the city, which was farther West, you symbolized the lower class people.
The scheme of colors used in The Great Gatsby are also symbolic. Green is the dominant color described, except in regards to Gatsby. Green is the color of old money, not new money, which Gatsby is. Gatsby’s lawns and gardens are ‘blue’;, indicating nobility but not money like the Buchanans. When Daisy runs over Myrtle Wilson, Gatsby’s car is mistaken for light green by the onlookers, indicating that her presence being of old money taints it.
The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleberg on the billboard that is passed while traveling to the city are symbolic of the all-knowing. It represents the idea that someone or something is always watching you, it is a God-like reference. The sign always looks down on Tom when he visits Wilson’s garage. It knows what Tom is doing, he can not hide from it. A symbolic reference is also made to dust. This is taken to represent the ash-heaps where Wilson’s garage is located. It represents despair and darkness.
One must pass through it before they are to reach their destination. In this case the characters had to go through it to reach the more pleasant life of the city. It acted as a barrier between two highly different, but equally beneficial locations. Despair is also a barrier between emotions, both good and depressing. Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is used to emphasize the time period and the problems that some of the characters face.
Flags are used in all countries around the world to represent their beliefs and values, but also their individuality form others. The American flag specifically is represented of the values its citizens. The fifty individual states come together as under a banner of freedom and liberty to represent one country with unified goals. Some countries are less fortunate and are represented under a flag of hatred and war. Symbolism is used to represent objects (and people) in our everyday lives in many forms such as on television and in cities.