• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby is full of symbols which occur throughout the novel in order to develop and understand its major themes.

Extracts from this document...


Yr 11 English Literature Great Gatsby Essay By Bonnie Ansems F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby is full of symbols which occur throughout the novel in order to develop and understand its major themes. Written in the 1920's, Fitzgerald's novel evaluates and examines Gatsby's vision of the American dream. One of the major themes in the novel is the nature of this "American Dream," a fictitious belief that if we become rich we will be successful and happy. Symbols that help to comprehend theme include the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg, the green light, and grand houses. These are a just a few of the predominant symbols which occur throughout the novel. The green light is a multi-faceted piece of symbolism in the novel which is able to interpret many themes including that Gatsby's love for Daisy (also known as the "American Dream"), has blinded him to all other things in turn causing his death. Nick first sees Gatsby with his arms outstretched toward "a single green light minute and far away that might have been the end of a dock." ...read more.


The Eyes of T.J Eckleburg are not so focused on Gatsby or his quest for Daisy but depicts that the characters are being watched and judged. In the novel they are located on a billboard advertisement in the valley of ashes that looks over Wilson's garage. The eyes look over the situation, without prejudice, but offer a kind of judgement on the characters and their actions. They are placed near Wilson's because that is where some of the most terrible acts take place, including the death of Myrtle and Tom's affair. Wilson refers to the billboard as God, which is portrayed in the quote spoken to Myrtle. "God knows what you've been doing, everything you've been doing. You may fool me, but you can't fool God!" The major theme that arises from the symbol of the eyes of T.J Eckleburg is that the characters seem to have no fear of consequence or judgement from the egocentric acts that take place. All of these crimes go unpunished, so the eyes look on and remind the characters of the guilt that they forgot to have when their crimes took place. ...read more.


The 1920's novel The Great Gatsby is one of the all time 'classic' American novels. While The Great Gatsby is representative of a particular time which seems long ago, it is by no means an "historical novel" as many of its issues or themes are still relevant in today's society. Themes such as these may include 'love can make you blind', 'money has a corruptive effect' and 'people don't fear the consequences of their actions.' The reader is able to perceive these themes through the use of meaningful symbols such as the green light, the eyes of TJ Eckleburg and grand houses. These symbols and themes all relate in some way to the main topic of the novel 'The American Dream.' Many of the characters are disillusioned with the 'American Dream' as their dreams are often fantasies, founded on romantic or materialistic ideals. These ideals are easily crushed by the harsh realities that often blind them even though they are reminded about the consequences. Gatsby's one main hope for the future was actually just part of an unattainable past. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    The Great Gatsby - In your opinion how effective is Fitzgerald in evoking the ...

    5 star(s)

    This is an adjective Fitzgerald uses a number of times through his novel and highlights the general attitude of his characters to life. Constantly they seek for some new (short-term) preoccupation, yet nothing really lasts for them; they have houses, yet no home; contacts, yet no friend; affairs, yet no love.

  2. Discuss Fitzgerald's use of symbolism in the novel, "The Great Gatsby."

    The weather as this point is pouring rain, which in itself creates an awkward and downhearted setting. However, once the sun comes out, their love seems to reawaken. Weather is once again presented in Gatsby's confrontation with Tom and Daisy.

  1. "Gatsby is a Victim of the American Dream." Discuss Scott Fitzgerald's Portrayal of Gatsby ...

    light out, and on again...Nothing happened...I waited, and at about four o'clock she came to the window and stood there for a minute and then turned the light out." It is at this stage that we see that Daisy does in fact feel not a lot for Gatsby, and indeed

  2. What is the Significance of Cars in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'?

    This part of his personality contrasts because he hides from guests partying in his own house or "the town hall" as it was often described for its anonymity. His purchase of this car shows his love of materialistic things which in the long term have no emotional value, which in

  1. Discuss Fitzgerald's use of symbols within 'The Great Gatsby'

    Also, green is the colour that represents envy (and jealousy). Gatsby is dreadfully envious of Tom Buchanan, the husband of Daisy, whom has everything, which Gatsby wishes he had. In some respects, Daisy is a symbol of the past, which Gatsby wishes to re-capture for his future.

  2. The Great Gatsby describes "The unending quest after the romantic dream, which is forever ...

    Undoubtedly, his desire is also influenced by social considerations; Daisy, who is wealthy and beautiful, represents a way of life, which is remote from Gatsby's and therefore more attractive because it is out of reach. However, social consciousness is not a basic cause.

  1. I will discuss during the course of this essay the above theme in the ...

    The writers of universal histories and the history of culture are like people who, recognising the defects of paper money, decide to substitute for it coin of some metal inferior to gold. Their money will be 'hard coin', no doubt; but while paper money may deceive, the ignorant coin of inferior metal will deceive no-one.

  2. How is Gatsby presented to the reader in Chapter 4 in the novel "The ...

    to project an ostentatious image of himself to the world; the three-noted horn represents Gatsby?s eagerness to be seen or heard. Nick, referring to the car, mentions that ?everyone had seen it?. The use of the language ?everyone? implies that Gatsby?s name has spread and imbued itself into the grapevine of New York and Long Island.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work