“A symbol, in the broad sense, is an image, an incident, or an item in a work that takes on a significance other than its evident objective meaning” (Lathbury 171). Symbolism assists a reader in understanding the true meaning of an object or event. It makes it easier for the author to create a tone that is easy to understand. Color is the clearest form of symbolism. Specific colors represent specific emotions or feelings. For example, red would show anger or violence whereas yellow would represent happiness. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, color symbolized joy, hopefulness and wealth that overshadows the ardships of life.
First, yellow symbolized the joyful moments in a depressing world. Yellow signifies joy and happiness. “Yellow helps energize people and relieves depression” (Color Symbolism and Culture). Fitzgerald used this color to describe many of the characteristics of Gatsby’s parties. “The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music and the opera of voices pitches a key higher” (Fitzgerald 40). Describing the music as “yellow” showed that the band was playing upbeat music.
It was a party and everyone there was dancing and having a good ime. He then talked about the people who attended the party. “A pair of stage ‘twins’-who turned out to be the girls in yellow -did a baby act in costume and champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger bowls” (Fitzgerald 46). The twins were there to entertain everyone else and they energized the partygoers which is what yellow is supposed to do. The parties were there to uplift the people and give them a break. It is very fitting that the attributes of the party were described as yellow since it is such a happy color.
The yellow in the parties showed the joy that the people at the party had for the time being nstead of having to worry about their normal lives. There was also yellow in the interesting aspects of the city and traveling to the city. “Yet high over the city outline of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering” (Fitzgerald 35). The city was interesting and exciting but there were many parts of it that were so secret.
Nick said that the windows hold secrets that the people below do not know about. Some of those lights could’ve been like Tom’s situation and they could be cheating on their wife but only the eople in that room would’ve known about it. “Viewed from ‘without,’ the windows glow with all the beauty and potency of the Dream; but ‘within’ the apartment, Nick observes only greed, irresponsibility, conspicuous waste; not of enchantment” (Schneider 249). The yellow, in this case, was just a cover up of happiness that overshadowed the negative things going on in reality.
The spectacles of the T. J. Eckleberg were the last thing about the city that was covering up the true meaning. “They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent ose” (Fitzgerald 23). The spectacles were the happiness that God could’ve let people see but they have free will and chose to do the wrong thing. Nick’s group of people drank and smoked while they were in the city and it was all bad. The yellow in this represented the happiness they had knowing it was wrong. Second, green represented Gatsby’s journey into wealth.
Family, money, and harmony are all shown by the color green. Gatsby did not come from a wealthy family and earned his money on his own. He gave his life story and it included “It was James Gatz who had been loafing along the beach that afternoon in a torn reen jersey and a pair of canvas pants” (Fitzgerald 98). The torn green jersey meant that he was far from being rich, but it foreshadowed his rise to wealth in the future. Gatsby eventually became rich with money, but his real journey to wealth would end with him finally getting the love of his life, Daisy.
Fitzgerald used the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock as a symbol of an “orgiastic future,’ the limitless promise of the dream Gatsby pursues to its inevitably tragic end” (Schneider 246). Gatsby wanted nothing else and would do anything to get Daisy’s attention. The green light was symbolic of the prosperous life with Daisy that he wanted so badly. “Being green, the light summons Gatsby and his fellow Americans to Go Ahead-to ‘run faster, stretch our our arms farther.. ” (Schneider 254). as basically Gatsby focused on the light so much and the green just telling Gatsby to continue with his dreams.
The light reminded him of his dream of getting Daisy back every single day. The green light represented the prosperity that Gatsby yearned for but could never quite reach. Third, blue stood for power and knowledge. An example of this is the T. J. Eckleberg sign and it’s blue eyes. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high” (Fitzgerald 23). This sign was a symbolism of God and Him watching over everything that happened in the city and in the Valley of Ashes. The blue stood for the truth and deceit that the sign sees.
God knows all that will happen and he sees what happens. “It may be a sign of the indifference of the universe, if the sign is like the eyes of god, as Edmund Wilson has proposed” (Lathbury 171). Nothing could ever escape the eyes of God. “It is clear that Fitzgerald wants us to view T. J. Eckleberg as a symbol of the orruption of spirit in the wasteland” (Schneider 249). Many bad acts were done in this area and “God” saw all of it and frowned upon it. The blue represented the power that God has over humans to be moral. Likewise, integrity was also shown with blue.
The romantic blue is obviously associated with the promise, the dream, that Gatsby has mistaken for reality” (Schneider 250). His integrity was blindsided by his wealth and dream to be with Daisy. Gatsby had his blue gardens which represented his integrity. “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the hampagne and the stars” (Fitzgerald 39). It was never very constant and he did not have strong moral principles. The blue showed that Gatsby would never be very honest and sincere because of the thought of his dream.
Fourth, “pink symbolizes love romance, caring, tenderness, and acceptance” (Color Symbolism and Culture). Gatsby devoted himself completely to having Daisy in his life. He waited for her till the very last moment of his life. “His gorgeous pink rag of a suit made a bright spot of color against the white steps” (Fitzgerald 149). He was wearing pink when he died which meant that he loved her ill his very last breath. “Gatsby remains incorruptible, but his house and his clothes reveal the sordidness of the reality” (Schneider 253).
He died wanting Daisy all to himself. He did not care about what happened to anyone else as long as he was with her. The pink suit showed that his love eventually led to his death because he didn’t care about anything else. Next, Gatsby cared for Daisy more than anything. “I looked at the house: there were two or three bright windows downstairs and the pink glow from Daisy’s room on the second floor” (Fitzgerald 144). He went back to make sure she was okay after the ccident because he did not want anything to happen to her. Pink symbolizes calm” (Color Symbolism and Culture).
It was a peaceful moment right after all of the garbage that happened during the day. The small moment of Gatsby staring at the pink glow of her room showed how much he truly loved and cared for Daisy. The pink of the windows showed that she was okay and represented Gatsby’s constant love for her. It showed that his love clouded his mind and made him careless of anything else. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, color symbolized joy, hopefulness and wealth that overshadows the hardships of ife.
Yellow represented the joy that blinds the characters from the bad things that they were doing, but also showed that you can find joy during depressing times. Green show journey to find Daisy and money. He changed a lot throughout his life and the green showed where he was headed. Blue stood Gatsby’s for power and integrity, both of which Gatsby did not have. Pink stood for the love and acceptance that Gatsby wanted so badly. In the words of Antoni Gaudi, “color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic. “