How do the symbols in The Great Gatsby related to characters and development of the plot
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel with themes of corruption, superficiality and death that are communicated through the colors of yellow, white and grey. Throughout the story, the symbols of colors contributed for the development of the plot and characters. These symbols also linked to the plot with different area of the story, the corruption, the superficiality and lifelessness to fulfill the plot.
The color of gold and riches, yellow symbolizes not only Gatsby’s wealth but also the empty pursuit of wealth. The descriptions of Gatsby’s party in the story are generally mentioned by the color yellow. “a pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow…” “…now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher” and also Daisy in the book are also described by “the golden girl”. Yellow is the color of wealth and riches, but ironically, yellow is also the color of death. When Daisy accidentally crash on Myrtle and killed Myrtle, the color of the car is bright yellow. The colors in the story symbolize the corruption of wealth and also the materialism. All the money Gatsby has is superficial, which is same as Daisy. She chooses the money instead of love, but is the money that ruined her life. It represents the ironical turn of the definition of superficiality. In the end of the plot, Gatsby is killed by the very bright yellow, in another way, it is the corruption of wealth and materiality kills Gatsby.
In the story, Daisy is always dressed in virginal white and her mansion is a beautiful white space filled with white flowers, but the purity of white is misleading. In chapter 1, when Nick see Daisy the first time after years “they are both in white and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short around the house.” Also Daisy’s house is painted in white. Commonly the first impression of white is always purity and innocence, which is the same in the book but as the novel go on, the purity and femininity has been showed that is the false. Daisy is the character people seems to be the most innocent in the story as she always in an innocent face and nick always seems her as a very pure person. But in the end of the story, when Nick narrating the judgment on Daisy and Tom, “they are careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together…” (Page 179) The false purity has been showed that Daisy is a selfish, destructive and careless person. The superficiality of how Daisy trying to pretend for her owns innocence and the false purity is the symbolization of the color white in The Great Gatsby.
The valley of Ashes is a place that is coated in a layer of grey dust that is like a cloak of death. The color grey in the story is the color of lifelessness and depression. In The Valley of Ashes, where between New York and East Egg where the train goes and also lots of people worked there for burning coal. People there are not wealthy; they are the poor people who work hard like Wilson. In The Valley of Ashes, the whole place is covered by grey, the dust. They are the people hopeless and without any expectation. When Nick is narrating description of The Valley of Ashes,”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.”(Page 23) The color grey symbolizes the lifelessness of the people in valley in ashes. It represents the reality and poverty of the low class people. Comparing the colour green, the colour of living and hope, grey is the colour of death. Wilson has been described by “he doesn’t even know he is alive.” (Page 26). The lifelessness of people who live in The Valley of Ashes has shown through the colour grey in the novel.
The colour yellow, white and grey symbolism the three important themes of the novel, corruption, the superficiality and the lifelessness. These symbols of colour strongly related to the characters and plot development of the novel.