After five years pass, James Gatz returns as Jay Gatsby and faces a new reality that wealth and fame are simply a means to an end, the end being a girl: newly wedded, Daisy Buchanan. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the characters living in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg are surrounded by colorful messages depicting reality. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s aid of symbolism in the historical fiction, The Great Gatsby, is proved to be indisposable in the way that it allows the theme that love drives people to do anything for their lover.
Symbolism of Blue
Opening, moments including blue scenes act out the illusion the characters bring to the idea of love. The ideal image of blue create the personal traits of old money, classy and confident people. At first, the mirage given by the color blue contributes to emphasizing how Gatsby believes he must uphold a specific reputation to appeal himself to Daisy. To become more noticeable, Gatsby presents the residents of West and East Egg with extravagant parties “in his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” (Fitsgerald 39). Gatsby intentionally provides his estate to display his wealth and power, as an illusion. The parties serve as a way for Gatsby to draw in Daisy to visit him and become impressed with his money and popularity. Although, the aftermath of the parties result in a sudden loneliness, but brings little joy to Gatsby, as well. This reveals how Gatsby has a false popularity or social meaning in society. With more effort, Gatsby plans frequent parties in false hopes for the appearance of Daisy, but is disappointed with her absence. As the plot continues to reveal itself, Blue is associated with refinement and wealth, and the presence of the color blue stands as a facade that Gatsby uses to hide his past that he is embarrassed by. Being a kind and innocent man, James Gatsby provides assistance to a wealthy copper mogul, Dan Cody. Cody befriends the man and helps him achieve the new identity of Jay Gatsby. Prior to returning for Daisy, “he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat” (Fitzgerald 100). During the transformation from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, to complete the image of being wealthy and noble, a friend rewards Gatsby with a blue coat. True wealth and the representation comes from Gatsby’s first memory of the blue coat given to him by Dan Cody. Being the first wealthy person in Gatsby’s life that cared for him, Gatsby tries to mimic the idea of Cody, by decorating his mansion with blue dressed staff members, garden, and more. By his use of blue performances in areas of the book, Fitzgerald emphasizes the reoccurring concept of perception over reality.
Symbolism of Red
Alike the blue occurrence of illusions, through the eyes of Nick Carraway, light glimmers over the existing red colors to demonstrate the passionate and painful endeavors the characters face. Red is the color for love, but may resemble rage. The love between the novel’s different characters spark action, and create suspense. From the beginning, glimpses of the constant idea that love is accompanied by sorrow. While driving to meet Mr. Wolfshiem, Gatsby and Nick pass by “red-belted ocean-going ships, and sped along a cobbled slum” (Fitzgerald 72). The red ships reveal the passion Gatsby has for fighting for Daisy and her love, where the cobbled slums speak for how his dreams can never be achieved. In order to convey the message of the madness that love brings, Fitzgerald illustrates the Gatsby deteriorating, losing his profound reputation and his high efforts to pursue Daisy. As the boat travels towards the slums, the idea becomes Gatsby being willing to sacrifice his life for the love of Daisy. Escalating further, the color of red can be found in violence and blood that follow through the novel, spreading and creating sin. To exemplify, from the scene where Gatsby is waiting for Daisy to reach out to him through a call, “the touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of a compass, a thin red circle in the water” (Fitzgerald 162). Due to the belief that Jay Gatsby having an affair and killing his wife, Myrtle, George Wilson commits an intentional murder, leaving Gatsby in his own cold blood. As she drives, Daisy mistakes the movement on the road, resulting in the death of Myrtle Wilson, but due to the great love from Gatsby, Daisy is left innocent placing Gatsby in trouble. Myrtle and Gatsby end their lives in a circle of blood, representing how their hopes are meant to never happen and will always be unreachable. In the end, Fitzgerald creates moments of red color to convey how sweet love can turn into and create irritation for the characters, driving them mad.
Altogether, the set of blue and red filtered actions throughout the novel, bring the illusion of how Gatsby must play a certain part to become the perfect man for the girl he loves. Gatsby sees the color blue as a color he can use to parade his wealth with. Given from his very first friend, Gatsby possesses a blue coat and disguises it as a filter for the remainder of his belongings such as the gardens that he decorates with blue flowers. He attracts the people of West Egg and East Egg with his parties, yet the reason behind them fall at how and when Daisy will appear. As blue colors come in and out of the moment, red comes to play to symbolize the affection that slowly transform into a rage.
Colors of red display the strong amount that Gatsby loves Daisy, but is set aside for Daisy to take for granted. Daisy understands she has admirers and has no care for them, for red exhibits how Gatsby struggles with his love for Daisy, and how he must face the struggles of chasing after her. Disregarding everyone, Daisy follows the status of her own wealth and social class more than the sacrifices of Gatsby to get to where he is. The colors of blue and red scenes show the difficulties Jay Gatsby must go through in order to gain the one thing he believes he can not live without, love from Daisy Buchanan. As F. Scott Fitzgerald helps Gatsby conclude and commit this idea, the blue concept of illusion and red colors of love and pain hold the interpretation that the love in The Great Gatsby drives people to take irregular actions for the achievement of love.