Various Color Motifs of Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby
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Various Color Motifs of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Throughout the novel, The Great Gatsby, numerous motifs are used to establish and bring to the reader the author’s ideas and meaning. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses one of these motifs in his use of color throughout the book. Several of these colors, green, white, rose, gray, and cream, are used frequently and for the primary purpose of identifying and attaching significance to characters.
The green light appears early in the story as the light across the water that Gatsby watches, the light that is at the end of the Buchanans’ dock. In a world of affluence and society shared by both individuals, they are separated by this body of water, the "force" that keeps them apart, the distance that is not forded until nearly the end of the plot, wherein the two are reunited after years of separation. Green, as it usually signifies life, or rebirth, or nature, is here shown as a green "hope". It can also be read into the mentions, at the end and at the beginning, that the light, a green envy or jealousy, is the envy that Gatsby has for Buchanan, a man he doesn’t know, but who claims possession of the woman he has dwelled upon for so many years. This light, a beacon, an ever-present shining reminder, lives on even at the end of the novel, in sharp contrast with the gray world around it, a love that endures all, even the death of one of the lovers.
The appearances of white in the book are numerous. When the speaker first mentions the "white palaces of the fashionable" the reader is given the first glance into the world the Nick is observing. Shortly after, Nick sees the two women, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker, "both in white and their dresses... rippling and fluttering.." Daisy, in speaking to Nick, later mentions her "white girlhood" and Jordan Baker mentions Daisy’s own white car. These references to white, made in reference to Daisy and Jordan, attempt to show the shallow colorlessness with which the women conduct their lives, waiting the moment when they must don the appropriate facade for the appropriate moment (just as Daisy agrees with Gatsby, however hesitantly, to the "affair" as a whim of the moment). White, usually a color of purity, of peace, of comfort, is used in its emptiest applications to exhibit the emptiness of the lives of these women who are centered around the money that sustains their soc!
The color of rose (or mauve, or burgundy, etc.,) is used in the description of the decoration of the Buchanan residence. In this pretense of gaiety in a house that could be easily described as "boring" (and is described as such by Daisy and Jordan) the color is like the rouge painted on a prostitute’s face. It’s richness attempts to deceive the shallowness of the inhabitants, and project an idea of happiness and warmth in a home that the wind rushes through without a care, as time stands still to carry out the whims of the affluence within.
Gray is used as a backdrop for the city, and in the description of Mr. Wilson. At the beginning of chapter two, Nick describes the area "half-way between West Egg and New York" where the railroad runs along the motor-road...the Valley of Ashes, as he calls it. With ash-gray men (like Mr. Wilson and his ash-gray suit), rising smoke, ghastly creaking of trains, gray land, and spasms of bleak dust, the speaker paints a picture of the division between the city and the dreamy kaleidoscope of wealth that exists like a bright carnival in the West and East Egg, where the story is set. The "ashes", where the likes of the image of T.J. Eckleberg and Mr. Wilson reside are the conscience, bland and unpainted that the dreamers would like to simply ignore and write off as part of a different world. They are indeed, in a different world, but as it turns out, they are the real world.
Cream is the final color of significant mention in the story. Gatsby’s car, Myrtle’s dress, and Gatsby’s own clothing on more than one occasion appear in this creamy hue. The color bears not the blandness of plain, stark
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The Great Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Myrtle, Daisy, Jordan Baker, Gatsby
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