The Great Gatsby


what are some symbols representing the characters, of Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and George?

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The Green Light

Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West Egg lawn, the green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter 1 he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is broadly associated with the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that more generalized ideal. In Chapter 9, Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation.

The Valley of Ashes

First introduced in Chapter 2, the valley of ashes between West Egg and New York City consists of a long stretch of desolate land created by the dumping of industrial ashes. It represents the moral and social decay that results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure. The valley of ashes also symbolizes the plight of the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty ashes and lose their vitality as a result.

The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg

The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes. They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point explicitly. Instead, throughout the novel, Fitzgerald suggests that symbols only have meaning because characters instill them with meaning. The connection between the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg and God exists only in George Wilson’s grief-stricken mind. This lack of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature of the image. Thus, the eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people invest objects with meaning. Nick explores these ideas in Chapter 8, when he imagines Gatsby’s final thoughts as a depressed consideration of the emptiness of symbols and dreams.



The green light is probably one of the most important symbols in The Great Gatsby. Green is the color of hope and it first appears when Gatsby stares across the bay towards a green light at the end of a dock (21,8ff.). Later the reader finds out that this light stands on Daisy Buchanan’s dock. In the context of the novel this green light represents Gatsby’s hope to meet Daisy again and a chance to win her back. “Gatsby believed in the green light”(128, 26).


Color Symbolisms:

1) Gray is the color for dreariness. It symbolizes the lack of life and/or spirit. It is the place of no hope, no future. In the book this place is called the valley of ashes where everything is covered in gray dust-even the people. This would not be a place where you would want to be.

2) White is the color that has the deeper meaning of false purity or goodness. Daisy and Jordan are always seen in white. Also, Gatsby, when he wanted to meet Daisy again for the first time in 5 years, he wore a white suit as if to show that he was good and pure.

3) Green represents so many things in this novel. One thing is that it means is something to hope for, to reach out for, and a hope of new.Like the green light that is at the end of Daisy and Tom’s dock. In the first chapter Gatsby is reaching out for the light. He is reaching out for his hope of Daisy and a life with her It also represents wealth and prosperity. And both of these meanings correlate with each other because in the book, wealth is something to hope for and to reach out for.

4) Red represents blood and death, as in the bloody death of Myrtle.

5) Yellow is in many facets of the book. Yellow in general means corruptness and things that go bad. –Yellow leaves represent decay and corruptness. –The yellow of Gatsby’s car represents corrupt dishonesty and deception.

7) Gold represents wealth, but, more so, the show of wealth. Gatsby tried to win Daisy back by his parties and the show of wealth.

Symbolism of people

8) Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, epitomizes the idea of a shrub that supports life, vitality. Because she is full of life, and makes spontaneous descisions.

9) Daisy embodies a fragile flower, because she is a fragile person who can’t make up her own mind.

10) Tom represents power, but mostly the abuse of the power that he has been given.

11) Nick is someone who stands to the side. He has his own opinion, but he doesn’t always express it. However he was one of the main people who connected Gatsby to Daisy, which turned out to be a really bad thing. He was like the un-innocent bystander.

12) Gatsby represents the result of a dream deferred. He overestimated what it would be like with Daisy, so much that she could never in all her life live up to his expectations. The more that the hope did not come alive, the more he dreamed, and that made it all the worse for him and Daisy.

13) There is a character that we hardly ever see, and we do not even know his true name, however he is truly imperative to the book. He is called Owl-eyes. He is someone who appears to be all knowing and/or all seeing. And he is there for Gatsby when nearly no one else would be. He is like God in this book, or the twisted twenties version of him.

14) Also, There is a correlation between three people. These three people are Gatsby, Myrtle, and Wilson. They were the only people to ever have truly loved, and they were the only three people who died in that whole time of deception.

Miscellaneous Symbolisms

Besides the colors and people there are many things that add to the meaning and the depth of the book.

There is he billboard with T.J. Eckelburg. The billboard is right over the valley of ashes. The billboard consists of really big eyes and even bigger spectacles. There is a plethora of meanings behind this billboard:

15) There is the meaning that he watches over everything that goes on around in the valley.

16) Also, his glasses have yellow rims which symbolize corruptness in two different ways. (1) That all he sees is corruptness, and,(2) he sees through the eyes of someone who is corrupt.

17) The empty face represents the hollowness of people and their materialistic values.

18) The empty face also represents an empty, unresponding, and dead God.

19) The season of summer is hot, and it represents the heat and boiling point of the story and or conflict.

20) Cars are a status symbol and can also represent carelessness and/or recklessness.

21) Spring represents a new beginning, a clean slate to mess up all over again.

22) Another big symbol that is exemplified throughout the book is eggs. The East and West eggs are where they live, and there is always drama going on. An egg is white on the outside, and yellow on the inside. So on both sides of the spectrum there is deception everywhere. An egg symbolizes a false show of purity on the outside, but rotten and corrupt on the inside.

23) Also the east egg represents old money that has been passed down from generation to generation.

24) The west egg represents new money that the people who live inside there have earned.

25) There is always constant bickering between the eggs because the west eggers are rowdy and don’t know how to handle themselves amongst the continually wealthy people.


Describe the Valley of Ashes. Should have at least 4 sentences. Include what it could symbolize.