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updated 10 months ago

What are the symbols in The Great Gatsby? What embodies the lost and ruined hopes of common and poor people? What is symbolic in the names of both parts of the city?

I’ve found only 2 symbols like the light and the valley. Are there more than that?

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2 Answers
updated 1 year ago

Several symbols are apparent in the story. These include the rich attire of Gatsby, his Rolls-Royce car, the pink suit, the mansion and his lavish lifestyle. It represents the new rich in America who grew wealthy overnight by trading in stocks and through bootlegging. Another symbol is the Green Light, situated at dock near Daisy's East Egg. It is dimly visible from the West Egg  of Gatsby’s house. He links it with Daisy and considers it as a guiding beacon that points him to his goal. The Green Light also symbolizes America that rises out of the ocean.

A potent symbol is the Valley of Ashes that is an area dumped with industrial waste and ashes. The valley represents the decayed social elite that spreads waste by their decadent lifestyle. The valley also symbolizes the lost and burnt hopes of common and poor people who do not have any dreams left. A very potent symbol is two eyes, with glasses that are painted on a hoarding in the valley of ashes. The hoarding advertises services of Dr. Eckleburg and according to George, they can be considered as the eyes of a god that looks down on the society, judging people and events. The eye symbol is a meaningless world that is overseen with powerless eyes who suffer from their decadent life. The names East Egg and West Egg are also symbolic of the class differences in the city. West Egg where Nick stays is for poor working class people, while East Egg is for the fashionable and aristocratic families.


updated 1 year ago

The story has vivid symbolism, revealing through the events and images. One of the symbols is the Owl Eyed Man, an individual with large glasses, who looks like an owl. The owl is a sign of a wisdom and also a sign of death. When Nick and Jordan meet him, he was sitting behind an important-looking door, surrounded by books. He exclaims that the books are real with printed pages. This scene symbolizes the skepticism that educated and aristocratic people feel for the recently grown rich people, who they think are uncouth. A symbolism that was put forth by the Owl Eyed Man is that the books are uncut pages. In those days, books were bound without cutting the pages. If the pages are cut, then it means that the owner has read the books. The owl-eyed man pointed out that Gatsby has not cut the pages, meaning that he collects books to impress people.

Colors play an important role in symbolism. We have the green light and lights of yellow, representing old and traditional wealth in the form of gold. Yellow also stands for fake gold, and this is seen in the yellow cocktail music, the girls in yellow clothes and Eckleburg's glasses are also yellow. White is seen in Daisy's car before she was married, her clothes and house, what symbolizes innocence. Blue, indicating royalty is seen in Gatsby's blue coat, the bay is blue and Eckleburg's eyes are also blue.

Hope, that will be helpful.  

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