The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, is often considered one of the greatest American novels of all time. The storyline, and the intricate weaving of the writer’s own thoughts and ideas into the book are quintessential to the development of the story. Often overlooked, however, is Fitzgerald’s usage of simple themes to convey larger ideas. In a prime example of such, Fitzgerald uses colors to convey personality, thoughts and feelings, and background. The usage of colors including green, white, yellow, and blue can portray what a person is really like under their facade.
Green is used throughout the book, and is a metaphor for multiple things. In real life, the spring is short, green, full of life, and is considered one of the best times of the year by many. In the actual story, however, the recurrence of the color green does not represent this rebirth. Instead, Jay Gatsby spends his nights looking across the Long Island Sound at a faint green light on the other side. The light is at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock, an ex lover of Gatsby’s, and he sees the light, as well as Daisy, as something he can never reach. A notable addition to this can be drawn from the fact that Gatsby also seems green with envy at Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband. Green is the color of money, and it can be drawn from this that green can be used to allude to the things which Gatsby values most in his life. Gatsby tries his whole life to reach what he believe will make him happy, which are represented by the green in the story, mainly Daisy and the green light, green money, and the green grass on the grounds of his house.
Another prominent color used throughout the book is white. White occurs when Fitzgerald is trying to convey a air of purity and beauty. The color is closely associated with women, specifically Daisy, as a daisy is a white flower is often used to portray innocence and fertility. The first time Daisy and Jordan are described in the story, they are both wearing white, which is meant to convey their innocence. At Gatsby’s party, Fitzgerald describes one of the movie stars as a scarcely human orchid of a woman who sat in state under a white plum tree, (Fitzgerald 104).
This furthers the usage of white to describe beauty and purity, also with the description of the woman as an orchid, a fragile white flower. Despite the beauty of the color white as described in the story, the people described as white are actually very ugly on the inside. This is evidenced as Daisy’s toxic and manipulative personality. It shows how Fitzgerald is trying to tell the reader about the dangers and the reality of many people in the upper class.
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