In green light, minute and far way, that
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, Fitzgerald utilizes color symbolism to portray his vision of the American Dream and the roaring twenties. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald embodies a period of time filled with moral decay, chaos, and modern values. In order to effectively portray an insight into his views, Fitzgerald uses color symbolism to portray the false hope given by the American Dream, the enchantment and impracticability of the American Dream, and the facade put on by many of the time, personifying the superficiality of people during the 20s. Throughout “The Great Gatsby”, Fitzgerald calls attention to the color green. He first introduces the important role it will play throughout the novel by hinting at its symbolism when Nick sees the silhouette of Gatsby outside. Nick sees Gatsby reaching out for nothing but “a single green light, minute and far way, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald 21). While Fitzgerald doesn’t reveal the importance of the green light right away, he introduces the idea that the green light might be a sense of hope for Gatsby. The light is located right at the end of Daisy’s dock and in this sense, the green light symbolizes Daisy. Gatsby’s lifelong dream is to win Daisy back and the only reason he thinks that she didn’t marry him was because of his social status. Gatsby believes that now that he has the wealth, he will be able to touch the green light and reach Daisy. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald’s description of the light being “minute and far way” shows that Gatsby’s dream of an ideal life, with wealth and love, is destined to fail as he will never be able to touch the light. Fitzgerald’s use of the green light integrates deeper meaning into the purpose of his words and allows him to show the audience the false hope of living the American Dream, a life lived with comfort, wealth, and happiness. Fitzgerald makes the final appearance of the color green at the end of the novel. After Gatsby’s death, Nick describes how “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before them” (Fitzgerald 180). Fitzgerald uses the green light to represent how Gatsby believed in the green light, which was a source of new hope but he also uses it to show the struggles that came with this newfound hope, embodying the struggle of the American Dream. Fitzgerald represents that though Gatsby worked long to gain Daisy back, he was unable to reach her. The use of the green light essentially shows the reality of the American Dream which helps the reader emotionally experience the toil that came with Gatsby’s dream of love and wealth with a person like Daisy who was unattainable from the beginning. Fitzgerald also brings attention to the color blue throughout the novel. He first introduces it when describing Gatsby’s preparations for his infamous Saturday parties. Fitzgerald describes the “blue garden men and girls coming and going like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars”, creating a magical atmosphere at Gatsby’s mansion (Fitzgerald 39). Fitzgerald’s description of Gatsby’s party shows just one instance of the lengths that Gatsby went to impress Daisy and catch her attention in hopes of winning her back. Fitzgerald’s use of the color helps represent Gatsby’s far-fetched dreams which are unrealistic to the point that that his parties seem just as unreal. Fitzgerald continues with the use of blue in the last moments of the novel when he explains how Gatsby “had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream” which was so close, but he failed to grasp it (Fitzgerald 180). Fitzgerald again mentions the color blue to show that Gatsby had continued to dream and fantasize about a perfect life with Daisy, a life in which he had true love and wealth. Gatsby had come close to reaching the “blue lawn” but the in reality, Gatsby was wearing rose colored glasses, oblivious to the reality that pointed to him never acquiring Daisy. Gatsby was so blinded by his conception of the American Dream that he didn’t realize he was getting further and further away from his goals. Fitzgeralds overall use of the color blue symbolizes how the American Dream is illusory, making men do things out of the ordinary to achieve a level of satisfaction that in reality is unreachable. Fitzgerald continues to reveal his view of the 1920s by symbolizing purity and innocence yet superficiality in the color white. When Nick goes to his cousin Daisy’s house, he sees that her house had “windows gleaming white against the fresh grass outside” and when he walks in he sees Daisy and her friend Jordan “in white dresses, their dresses rippling and fluttering” (Fitzgerald 8). From the beginning, Nick sees Daisy’s house completely white, and seeing her after years, he first sees her dressed in white. Fitzgerald gives the sense to the audience that the color white, which surrounds Daisy in all aspects of her life, shows her pure, innocent personality. It gives the impression that she is a women of morals and it shows that it is the exact reason why Gatsby was so infatuated with her. Daisy’s pure beauty attracted Gatsby and because of this, he went to no ends to attain her. While Fitzgerald makes it a point to describe the white surrounding Daisy, he also points out a stark contrast in her demeanor. After Gatsby and Daisy meet, Gatsby shows her his array of clothes, including masses of his suits, ties, and shirts. Though Gatsby’s intention is to show Daisy his wealth, Daisy starts to sob, saying how she had never “seen such beautiful shirts before” (Fitzgerald 92). Fitzgerald intends to show the facade Daisy had put on to her family and friends. On the outside, she pretends to be innocent and ignorant, but on the inside she is selfish, only wanting Gatsby for his money and remorseful towards her mistake of not choosing him in the first place. Fitzgerald shows the facade that people put on in the 20s and reveals the true intentions they had. Fitzgerald furthur shows this symbolism of white when he describes Gatsby and Daisy’s encounter in the beginning of their relationship. He vividly describes Gatsby’s heart “beating faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own” (Fitzgerald 110). Again, Fitzgerald shows how Daisy’s innocence, represented by her white face, is what truly attracted Gatsby to her. However, Daisy was only putting up a facade in order to ultimately gain money out of her relationship, even if she did have true feelings for Gatsby. Fitzgerald deliberately uses color symbolism to expresses his view of the era of great affluence. He reveals his feelings about the false hope given by the American Dream by detailing the impact of the green light on Gatsby and his goal to reach his version of the American Dream. He also exhibits how he believes that the American Dream is impractical through showing how the color blue was incorporated into Gatsby’s parties and his life. Finally Fitzgerald describes how the 1920s were populated with people who put on the facade of innocence by assimilating the color white through the life of Daisy. Overall, Fitzgerald demonstrates his view of an important period of change in America, making the novel visionary and colorful.