Essay about the symbols in The Great Gatsby.
The American “Dream”
The American Dream is the desire of being wealthy, and having a successful and happy life. Many symbols collaborate in The Great Gatsby to try to show readers how the American Dream affects the people who try to obtain it, and also the actions of wealthy people who never earned their money. The color green, the color white, and the green light at the end of Gatsby’s dock all illustrates the American Dream is sometimes just a dream that cannot be reached, trying to accomplish it might change who you are, and people inherited with money, “Old money”, do not understand the concept of the American Dream.
In the book, Gatsby one of the main characters, is trying to get the love of his life, Daisy, back. Daisy was born into a prosperous family therefore “her voice was full of money”; this confirms that she is spoiled, materialistic, and greedy (20). To get her back Gatsby does various illegal jobs to become rich so Daisy will notice him. He also moves near her and there’s a Green light at the end of her dock. Green means “go” and is saying to have hope and go and try to achieve your dreams (The American Dream). In the end Gatsby never did get Daisy back, she stayed with her husband Tom, who was also born into a rich family.
The upper class usually wears white which correspond to purity and innocence, but white can be easily stained which represents that they are corrupted effortlessly. The corruption is they “retreat back to their money or their vast carelessness” because whatever they do wrong they could always go back to their self centered materialistic life (179). Most people who are inherited with money don’t work for the American Dream because they already think they’ve achieved it, and they act superior and say it was simple. In reality they haven’t worked a day in their life for anything. If they wanted something they’ll just use their money to get it. They don’t understand the concept of hard work, and the power of desire, so powerful that some will do almost anything to obtain it.
Gatsby is one of those people whose longing was so powerful that he did what he had to do attain his dream, Daisy. He went through many obstacles and changed his life so she would at least notice him. The green light at the end of his dock was his reminder of that ambition which was his motivation to keep going. It is a symbol of Daisy and the American Dream; both far off like a star that we will try to reach for. The American Dream is truly like a star, it’s so close that we can see it, but so far that you can’t reach it. Just like Gatsby, “we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther”, and forever keep on chasing an unattainable dream (180).
The color green, the color white, and the green light at the end of Gatsby’s dock all interrelate by showing that the American Dream changes people, how the upper class don’t understand it, and how at times it is beyond our reach. The color green is the hope, the color white shows that the upper class is easily corrupted and they falsely think that they already have the American Dream, and the green light at the end of Gatsby’s dock is a representation of the American Dream may be just a dream.