Colour, a means of differentiation, understanding, and a sense of perception. There are about 16. 8 million colours known in the English language and when you see each everyone it usually always brings a thought to mind. Colours are very useful in everyday life it makes everything that much more real but specifically colour can be used as a way of showing the real story. In The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald uses colour symbolically by showing certain moods, character mindsets but specifically show hidden meanings through, false perceptions, and implicitly provide information about the characters.
Throughout The Great Gatsby gold, the colour, is used to show and describe many things such as wealth, success, happiness and joy by emphasizing everything. Richness because the colour gold automatically makes us think of gold as in money so it is usually associated with money or wealth, which usually leads to power. Another way the colour gold is looked at throughout the novel is as the golden days or age as to show happiness, and prosperous. Gold is also used to show success, this is usually through Jordan and Gatsby.
Jordan shows success because she is referred to as the golden girl of tennis. Fitzgerald always associates the colour gold with Jordan to emphasize her power as a woman in tennis. Gatsby shows success with the colour gold because the first time he speaks to Daisy he is wearing silver and gold to show off his wealth and in turn his success for all the years they have been apart. As the element of gold is valuable Fitzgerald also made the colour gold of value and associated it with certain things to emphasizes their values.
Things such as opportunities or the changing light colours, “we went about opening the rest of the windows downstairs, filling the house with grey-turning, gold-turning light” (p. 144). Just as Fitzgerald uses the colour gold to emphasize and enhance the dullest things in the book he also uses the colour white as an expression of purity, honor, and morally unblemished. Usually Daisy and Jordan are connected to white and all that comes along with it, “They were both in white” (p. 3). They both seem to be good girls, Daisy because she is a good wife and mother always obeying Tom, her husband. Jordan not as much but still she is made out to be a star to tennis. Daisy and Jordan reminisce about their younger years, about being genuinely innocent, and this is the only time they could be because they were not corrupted by the years of adulthood, “Our white girlhood was passed together there. Our beautiful white” (p. 24).
From Gatsby’s point of view Daisy is pure and white, basically seen as an angel through Gatsby’s eyes, “High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl” (p. 115). As shown here Daisy has no limits of purity Fitzgerald even points out that Daisy’s windows are white, “The windows were ajar and gleaming white” (p. 13). But as the novel comes to an end we see that the white seen in these two characters were actually a facade and Jordan cheated to become a good tennis player and Daisy cheated oh her husband and ends up killing Myrtle.
Fitzgerald uses many colours to express many things that are not explicitly said. Gold and white were used for wealth and purity, green is used for hope and also jealousy. Right at the beginning of the novel Nick notices that Gatsby is looking over a lake to Daisy’s house with a green light shinning in his face and this shows jealousy towards Tom because he is Daisy’s husband, as green is the traditional colour for jealousy, “he stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was form him, I could sworn he was trembling.
Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minuete and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. ” (p. 25). Slowly as Jay gets to know Nick, Fitzgerald starts to make the colour green turn into some hope, more so than before, “you always have green light that burns all night at the end of your dock” (p. 90). Even through Daisy is married, Gatsby still hold on to the hope that is almost psychotic in some ways, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. (p. 171). Gatsby turned his whole life around, built everything just to get Daisy’s heart, all Gatsby had was hope and their past. So all he really could do was hope to get through the extreme circumstances and conditions. To conclude Fitzgerald uses the symbolic use of colour in The Great Gatsby to show things without being to explicit, put in hidden meanings, and to sometimes give false perception of certain people. The colour gold is used to show richness, happiness, success, and great value.
Fitzgerald uses white to give a false sense of purity, and also honor. And finally be uses green as the colour of jealousy then slowly turning it to hope, blinded and mindless hope, with nothing backing it up. “White… is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black… God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. ”
Courtney from Study Moose
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