Symbolism on Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald,
symbolism adds depth to the story, without introducing confusion.
Fitzgerald’s symbols are large, concrete and obvious. Examples of this
symbolism are the valley of ashes, T. J. Eckleburg’s huge blue eyes,
and the green light on the Buchanan dock which Jay Gatsby idolizes.
The valley of ashes is “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like
wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take
the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a
transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling
through the powdery air…”(23) The valley represents the moral
disintegration of the roaring twenties by showing the barren wasteland
which contains the byproducts of the pursuit of wealth and the
American dream. “Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an
invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and
immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up
an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from
your sight.” (23) This shows how one can get caught up all of a sudden
in a cloud of confusion. They are just walking along, minding their
own business, doing their day-to-day activities, and suddenly get
caught up in an impenetrable mess. This happened to Nick. He was just
minding his own business, and then he met Gatsby, who planned things
for him without his approval or advice, and who basically used him to
his advantage. Nick had no way out of this mess, but he did not
really want one. He was the only person who cared enough to give
Gatsby a proper burial.
Another symbol in this novel is T. J. Eckleburg’s huge blue
eyes. “The eyes of Doctor 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 non-
existent nose.” (23) The eyes of T. J...