Symbols – The Great Gatsby Exploration Task


Symbol 3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol 3 moments when the symbol appears Major characters that the symbol is connected to What the symbol is representing Important things the symbol reveals about ideas and characters
Water “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and … I could have sworn he was trembling.” time’s persona to gatsby is daisy, he is reaching out toward her.

“While the rain continued, it seemed like the murmur of their voices, rising and swelling a little now and then with gusts of emotion.” – shows that time i still passing between them. When the rain is stormy, gatsby and daisy are nervous around each other and the rain settles as they become comfortable.

“Blessed are the dead the rain falls on” it rains at gatsby’s funeral.

At Nick’s house when Daisy and Gatsby meet.

where gatsby dies.

At Gatsby’s funeral.

Gatsby and Daisy – the time separating their relationship. The symbol is representing the presence of time

I also believe that it has the potential to represent renewal and cleansing

It symbolises both the birth of  Jay Gatsby (note; not James Gatz, but on the sailboat)

and the death of him (in the pool and at his funeral). It also reminds us many times throughout the novel about the time that has passed between him and Daisy.

Eyes “Two shining, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face.”

“Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity.”

“A stout, middle-aged man, with enormous owl-eyed spectacles”

When describing Tom as having arrogant eyes.

When Nick first sees Jordan he describes her using the eyes.

Relating back to the eyes of Dr T.J Eckleburg and how George Wilson says that god sees everything by talking about his eyes.

Nick is the Narrator and relates it to so many people so it is hard to name every single person therefore I think that it relates to him as he is the one describing the people. The emotions of the characters that they belong to. The eyes helps Nick decipher these emotions. The reference to eyes in this novel occurs quite often as it is the means of how Nick finds his first opinion/

impression of the particular person. I think that it also relates to the saying, “the eyes are the pathway to the soul”, this fits the story perfectly as this is what Nick sees when he sees the person.

The Colour White “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water”

“Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses”

“High in a white palace, the king’s daughter”

When Nick first sees Daisy and Jordan.

When Gatsby shows the police officer his white card.

When Nick describes the buildings of East egg.

Daisy and the wealthy people talked about. How gatsby sees daisy and her outer appearance

It also represents the wealthy people and “Old Money” i.e, Gatsby’s white card, the palaces of east egg, Daisy’s white face and dress.

Once we unpick the wording of the white references and put them together, I find that it becomes clear that White not only represents the angelic, innocent outer appearance of Daisy, but also that it is attained by everyone known as rich in the novel. Even Gatsby, with his white card and shirt which are referenced.
Yellow and Gold When relating Daisy as the golden girl.

Gatsby’s gold tie.

Gatsby’s yellow car.

Gatsby, Daisy, Jordan Luxury and greed and power

Gold = gold, yellow = fake gold.

Gatsby’s yellow car represents that, because yellow is the fake gold, it symbolises that Gatsby is failing to fit in to the high society, because he doesn’t belong there and is faking to fit in with the rest of them.
The Green Light “…he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward–and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock… “

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run farther, stretch out our arms farther…”

“ It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”

In chapter one when Nick first saw Gatsby reaching out toward the light.

When Gatsby is showing Daisy his house, it comes up in the conversation but isn’t visible because of the mist giving the impression that it isn’t there.

In chapter 9 as Nick was saying how Gatsby believed in it, this backs up the idea of it being Gatsby’s dream.

The green light is related to Gatsby which then pulls in Daisy as it represents her in Gatsby’s perspective. The symbol the green light represents in the book the great gatsby, Gatsby’s hope for daisy and the unattainable dream.


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