Symbol

Green Light

The green light symbolises Gatsby’s relentless hope for Daisy. “He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way … Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of the dock.” In the beginning, when Gatsby’s illusion was still intact the light was visible from his house but as Daisy and Gatsby began to see each other again and his illusion started to crack, mist and fog clouded his view of the green light, the hope was getting harder to see, harder to find. The light was being “minute and far away” represents that the even before they met again, the likely hood of their relationship being a success was small. “Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever… Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.” As the story progressed Gatsby realised that no matter how much he tried, he could not force history to repeat itself, and the hope slowly began to fade away. In Gatsby’s final moments he gave up on the green light and began to see everything without the filter of Daisy, “He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky…” It had been so long since Gatsby had ever lived for something other than a future with Daisy that he is seeing the world for the first time again, and would have come to the conclusion in his last few seconds that there is so much he has missed out on, so much he’ll never see. He wasted his life, the green light was an instigator of false hope within Gatsby that enticed him towards his own demise.  

Water

Water is an important aspect of this novel and is used throughout the whole story. It represents Gatsby and Daisy’s past and the time they spent apart. “Across the courtesy bay, the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water.” The bay symbolises the 5 years that Gatsby and Daisy spent apart and although neither of them will acknowledge this, the water will always be there, between them. East Egg condescending to West Egg”, The water also is a representation of the different classes they are in, Daisy lives in East Egg as she has ‘old money’ but Gatsby lives in West Egg with his ‘new money’. Even though both areas are considered part of the upper-class society, there is a divide between the old money and the new money. “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” once again the water has come between Gatsby and Daisy, the mist is blocking their view of the green light on Daisy’s dock. As the green light represents Gatsby’s hope for being with Daisy, by them not being able to see it means that for a moment the past is catching up to Gatsby smothering his hope. 

Colour

Throughout the novel, different colours have been associated with certain characters, alluding to their true personalities.  Daisy has been related to the colour white on numerous occasions due to her similarity to the elegant but boring and blank colour.  She lives in a “white palace” which, similar to her personality is a void of emotion or anything that holds any real value to a person. All Daisy has is materialistic objects, and is often associated with the colour gold as she is extremely wealthy, “here’s my little gold pencil.” Gatsby, on the other hand, has lied and cheated his way to wealth through illegal business so he can not be associated with gold, instead he is related to yellow, a cheap knockoff version of the real thing. Everything surrounding Gatsby right the way up till his death was yellow, except for a short period of time when he truly believed that all his hope had finally paid off and Daisy was going to be his again did he possess gold objects, “Pale gold odour of kiss-me-at-the-gate.” When Daisy couldn’t admit that she never loved Tom and would be leaving him, Gatsby’s final chance at living a gold life disappeared, symbolising the fact that he never successfully transitioned to the highest social platform possible, so he returned to his fake, yellow level to die “in a moment disappeared among the yellowing trees.”

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