Color, in symbolism, represents a variety of ideas that range from innocence to adultery. An author can change the tone of the story just by the color he chooses for a particular object. Color can also serve as foreshadowing devices that allow the reader to take a peek into the inevitable. F. Scott Fitzgerald s symbolism through color in The Great Gatsby depicts an underlying meaning and each color remains contingent with a character in the novel. Yellow, according to Evans, symbolizes “. . .jealousy, inconsistency, adultery, perfidy” (1194). Myrtle seems to stand out as the spokesperson for yellow, since it ironically appears in scenes where the story line involves her character. . Yellow and Myrtle fit together like two adjoining puzzle pieces. Fitzgerald chooses to pair them together because of yellow s symbolic meaning and because of Myrtle s illustrious affair with Tom Buchanan. Yellow could also serve as a caution signal that all the characters come to ignore, which then leads to their utter destruction. However, yellow appears when Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway arrive at George Wilson s garage, where Nick will meet Myrtle Wilson, Tom s mistress. “The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick. . . ” (Fitzgerald 24). Fitzgerald proves that only jealousy can come of the relationship between Tom and Myrtle by allowing the building where George and Myrtle live. Fitzgerald uses the yellow building to serve as a caution signal to Tom, which he ignores. Another scene that flourishes with yellow and involves Myrtle emerges when Daisy strikes Myrtle down in Gatsby s car. “He says he knows the car that did it. . . . It was a yellow car” (Fitzgerald 141). Ironically, the yellow car, which Daisy drives, strikes Myrtle and kills her instantly. This indirectly causes the deaths of Gatsby and George Wilson. Fitzgerald chooses yellow, and not white, silver, or red, because the other colors meanings can not compare to the meaning of yellow. Yellow presents an underlying meaning in the novel, however it is not the only color that accomplishes this task.When a person thinks of white, wedding, brides, and innocence come to mind. Fitzgerald pairs Daisy with color white throughout the novel. First off, the color has multinodous amount of meanings such as, “peace, purity, faith, light, and joy” (Olderr 149). Daisy s character represents many of these meanings. First, she represents faith for Gatsby, in that, he holds his faith of love for her. Daisy serves as the light in Gatsby s lonely, friendless world. However, to truly understand the relationship between Daisy and the color white, one must analyze what daisy, the flower represents. A daisy is a flower with white flowers and a yellow center. Fitzgerald chose Daisy as the name for Gatsby s mistress because on the outside, Daisy appears to be innocent and pure, but on the inside, one can only find jealousy and hatred. In addition, according to Olderr, a daisy in symbolism, mean “innocence, virginity, adoration, the silence of death, and hope”. Fitzgerald chooses to portray Daisy this way, by associating her with the color white, because it provides more of a shock when the reader discovers that Daisy kills Myrtle. The white portrays the innocence in Daisy, and as the story proceeds, little by little, she loses bits and pieces of it until right up at that moment when she proceeds to kill Myrtle. Fitzgerald carefully and craftily chooses Daisy s name since it paints an accurate picture of her true personality. Another scene where white pours out of the pages, happens when Fitzgerald describes Daisy s lavish life. ” She dressed in white, and had a little white roadster” (Fitzgerald 75). The fact that she dresses in white and drives a little white roadster makes her seem like an angel. The whole white motif, which plays throughout the novel gives a false characterization on Daisy s part. It makes her appear to have angelic qualities, which remains far from the truth. The use of this color also characterizes Daisy as the “unattainable princess”.
Green exemplifies a numerous amount of objects throughout The Great Gatsby. Green stands for “fertility, life, growth, rebirth, and immortality. . .” (Olderr59). Green also stands for hope in symbolism. Fitzgerald knows this, and decides that by using a green to represent Gatsby s dreams. These characteristics make a perfect match with Gatsby s dream. Green first appears towards the beginning of the novel; Daisy and Gatsby reunite with one another after five years. Gatsby, still passionate for Daisy, proceeds to say, “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock” (Fitzgerald 94). The green light serves as the signal for Gatsby and Daisy to rekindle their affair. Ironically, Fitzgerald chooses not to use a red light, might have been more appropriate here, due to how the story ends. Fitzgerald decides to play upon the reader s mind by providing a false sense of hope concerning Gatsby s dreams. Furthermore, Fitzgerald uses green once again towards the end of the story when Nick Carraway reflects on Gatsby and his tragic death. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us” (Fitzgerald 182). Fitzgerald uses this line to allow the reader to peek inside Gatsby s beliefs. Gatsby believes that everyone has a green light that becomes more distant as the years pass by. If one misses the green light or misinterprets it, it might be too late. Fitzgerald uses colors to allow the reader to take a second glance at the novel for a deeper meaning. Color flourishes throughout The Great Gatsby like water falls from a waterfall. The use of color enhances the novel and also allows a character and color to match up together. Without color symbolism, the novel would seem pointless and not as enriching as the final product is now.
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