• 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 "The Great Gatsby" is rich in symbolism, which is portrayed on several different levels in a variety of ways.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is rich in symbolism, which is portrayed on several different levels in a variety of ways. One of the most important qualities of symbolism within this novel, is the way in which it is so fully integrated into the plot and structure. Some of the symbols are used mostly as tools for characterization such as Wolfsheim's cuff links, Gatsby's huge library of uncut books, and Tom's repeated gesture of physically pushing other people around. Other symbols such as Gatsby's car, symbolizing material wealth in America and its destructfulness, have a function in the plot as well as a more abstract significance. However, the major symbols such as the valley of ashes, the green light, and the east and west, are filled with meanings that go beyond the plot, and truly capture Fitzgerald's theme of this novel; the corruption of the American dream. ...read more.

Middle

When the settlers came to the "New World" (America) to escape persecution and the corruption of their countries, they traveled from east to west. However, since the ideal has been corrupted, people travel from west to east attracted by the wealth and a materialistic life, masking the true emptiness of their goal of happiness. Daisy, Tom, Nick, Jordan, and Gatsby all were westerners, and by moving east, they moved from a world of values to a moral vacuum, represented by the "valley of ashes." The valley of ashes represent a modern world, which is like a grotesque hell created by modern industry. Factories and trains, produced in the manufacture of wealth, has polluted America with its wastes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The green light symbolically corresponds to the "green breast of a new world," and at the end fuses Gatsby's vision of Daisy with that of the explorers who had discovered the promise of a new continent. What ultimately preys on the vision, the goal, is that in America and by Gatsby it can only be attained through the acquisition of material possessions. Gatsby is a symbol for the whole American experience. The corruption of his dream, by using materialism as its means and the illusion of youth and beauty as its goal, is the corruption of American idealism, which in turn becomes the empty promise. In the end Gatsby is destroyed by his illusions of Daisy, just as the fresh landscape of America has been converted into a depressing "valley of ashes," and the sacred green light becomes nothing but a bulb burning at the end of Daisy's dock. ...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. What is the Significance of Cars in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'?

    Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green conservatory we started to town." Gatsby also used his car to perform various illegal trades of alcohol, which were rife in New York at this time due to the prohibition of it.

  2. In "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald the American Dream is shown by ...

    There is also the example of the Buchanan house, there is similar evidence again of extravagant lifestyle with a 'sunken Italian garden, a half acre of pungent roses and a snub nosed motor boat'. Such possessions are clearly only a way of establishing the relative wealth of the Buchanans in materialistic form.

  1. "Show how the paring of two texts this year gave you an understanding on ...

    Oklahoma is described as dry, dusty and lifeless, symbolising the withering and death of the American Dream. California however is the promise land, of green and fruitful valleys, a clear symbol of hope and the opportunity to still achieve the dream.

  2. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on 24 September 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota ...

    It takes place just after the First World War. Nick Carraway having served in the war returns to the Mid-West of America but his war-time experiences finds it uninteresting and so goes to settle on the East Coast. As well as being Gatsby's neighbour in West Egg near New York

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