Using Colors In The Great Gatsby

Categories: The Great Gatsby

According to Merriam Webster, symbolism is the “expression of using symbols to represent an idea or to find meanings especially by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of using visible or sensuous representations.” In The Great Gatsby, the use of colors, the green light, and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg and the Owl-eyed man are symbols that relate to the central theme of The American Dream.

To begin with, before we state the meanings of the symbols used above, we must identify the central themes used in The Great Gatsby.

Two main themes are the American Dream and the prevented love between a man and a woman. The American Dream is represented by Gatsby because he relieved himself of poverty and went into the new money category. The American Dream of obtaining money and success while also making a name for yourself is one of the reasons Gatsby was able to reunite with and lose Daisy. There were many stories about Gatsby’s work.

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Revealed in chapter three, some stories include Gatsby murdering a man and being a German spy in the war. In chapter seven, it is revealed what Gatsby did to obtain his monetary funds, and once Daisy hears this, she questions whether she wants to move forward in her relationship with Gatsby.

In addition, The colors yellow and gold represents wealth, death, and social class position. The author describes Daisy as the “golden child.” She enjoys a materialistic and luxurious lifestyle. When Gatsby shows off his shirts, Daisy starts to cry.

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This shows that Daisy was only concerned with his material things and his wealth. Another example of this is the two ladies wearing yellow dresses at Gatsby’s party. Yellow also represents death and decay. Gatsby’s car was yellow, and this was the car that ran over and killed Myrtle.

The color blue represents illusion. Blue is used to describe Gatsby and his fantasies. He strongly believes that Daisy still loves him and wants to be with him. He believes that one day he will be with Daisy and he will win her over by flaunting his wealth. Gatsby is described to have a “blue garden” and a “blue lawn.” He always throws parties every weekend in an attempt to win over Daisy, which fails. The blue can be used to describe Gatsby’s loneliness, is the , and tranquility.

The color gray represents lifelessness, ashes, and death. “This is a valley of the ashes a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat…where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke…men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.” The valley of ashes is where the poor people lived in New York. Tom had a mistress, Myrtle, who lived in the valley of ashes. The author describes her living room as filled with gray smoke. This represents the lifelessness in her home and the unhappiness she has living with her husband. Death is portrayed by the color gray when Myrtle is killed. When she was killed, the author states that it was dusk out.

The color white represents innocence. This is the color that is mostly centered around Daisy. The novel states that Daisy wore a white dress when meeting Nick and Gatsby, and the curtains in her house were white. “The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside…. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in… twisting them up toward the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling….” Because white represents purity and cleanliness, this leads tisthe he readers to assume that Daisy is innocent and perfect. This is an example of irony because Daisy is a selfish and materialistic person. She claimed to love Gatsby, but when he died, she didn’t bother to show up to his funeral.

Furthermore, another symbol used in The Great Gatsby is the green light at the end of Buchanan’s dock. The color green is the most widely used and well-known color presented in the novel. The green light symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes for the future. Gatsby has hopes and dreams that one day he will reunite with Daisy. The green light can also be used to represent the American Dream. Gatsby has always dreamed of living a life out of poverty, and he has done this by illegally selling liquor. By doing this, he has made his way out of poverty and into a life of new money.

Lastly, another symbol used in The Great Gatsby are the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg “The eyes of Dr. T.J Eckleburg are blue and gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose.” The eyes can be described as God looking down and the society, judging everyone and their behavior. “Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night. God sees everything.” The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg are painted on a blue background; since blue represents illusion, this can represent the illusions that Wilson has had about moving west with Myrtle, but this illusion dies when Myrtle was struck by Gatsby’s car.

In conclusion, The Great Gatsby has many symbols represented in the book, but those that stood out the most were the eyes of D. T.J. Eckleburg, the use of colors, and the green light at the end of the Buchanan’s dock. Together, these symbols can be used to represent the themes of the American Dream andusingtheforbidden love between a man and a woman.

Works Cited

  1. Fitzgerald, F Scott. “The Great Gatsby.” Planet Ebook,
  2. “7178-15532-2-PB.pdf.” File:///C:/Users/MYFAM/Downloads/7178-15532-2-PB.pdf, file:///C:/Users/MYFAM/Downloads/7178-15532-2-PB.pdf.
  3. “Symbolism.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,
  4. Shmoop Editorial Team. “Colors in The Great Gatsby.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008,
Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Using Colors In The Great Gatsby. (2022, May 21). Retrieved from

Using Colors In The Great Gatsby essay
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