Symbols

Symbols

Fitzgerald loves his symbolic references. Littered throughout the novel are many key objects that help us understand something more about an idea, character or place.

Create a “symbols chart” as outlined below.

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 “So we beat on boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”- Nick

“What do you think of that? It’s stopped raining.”I’m glad Jay.” Her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy.”

 

 

 

“I’m going to drain the pool today, Mr. Gatsby. Leaves will  start falling pretty soon…” “Don’t do it today,” Gatsby answered. He turned to me

apologetically“You know, old sport, I’ve never used that pool all summer?”

 

–  This quote appears at the very end of the book, the last line once Gatsby has been killed, Tom and Daisy had run off and Nick was going back to the Midwest.

– We see this quote in chapter 5. This is when Daisy and Gatsby meet again after the 5 years at Nicks.

– This quote is from chapter 8 moments before Gatsby is shot.

– Gatsby, Daisy and Nick.

– Gatsby and Daisy

– Gatsby

–  In this quote, the boat is are representing Gatsby who is fighting an unwinnable battle (the current) by trying to turn back time.

– The rain in this quote is representing how the time has stopped and it is forgotten the 5 year that Daisy and Gatsby have missed out on, and for that brief period all they are thinking about is each other.

– The pool (Symbol) represents all the things he had done for daisy over the time they were apart to try and win her back, but this summer when he was with her all these things lost there importance. The leaves in which the gardener is talking about is proving that time is still going as the seasons are changing.

Water in Great Gatsby symbolizes time. For Gatsby and Daisy water is what always keeps them apart, From the sound between East Egg and West Egg or when they finally meet after all those years and it’s raining or when Gatsby goes to point out the green light at the end of daisy dock but the mist is blocking the view. It represents the time they spent separated. For Gatsby he’s always trying to turn back time or make the time disappear, Neither of these are possible. Water is a representation of this.
Eyes Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.

Gatsby looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at some time.

“Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night. “God sees everything,” repeated Wilson.

– This is when Daisy suggests that they should all go into the city, she says to Gatsby that he always looks so cool, once they have shared this moment Tom realises that the two of them are in love.

– We read this in chapter four when Nick is talking about when Gatsby and Daisy first met and the start of their ‘relationship’.

– Wilson says this when Tom stops to get gas on his way to New York with Nick and Jordan, Wilson is telling Tom that he knows that his wife Myrtle has been having an affair. Wilson doesnt know who with but he is planning to go west with Myrtle to get away from whoever it was she was having the affair with.

–  Daisy and Gatsby


– Daisy and Gatsby

-Wilson, Tom and Myrtle

– The eyes of TJ Eckleburg represent the  staring down and judging American society as a ‘moral wasteland’. It represent those of the past looking down at America and how everyone is now behaving and doing things. Also the billboard in which TJ Eckleburgs eyes are on is over the valley of ashes where is is the reality of the american, people working extremely hard with little to no reward. The eyes of TJ Eckleburg see everything.

– Eyes are a big symbol in the great Gatsby because the novel is based on appearances. Many characters in Great Gatsby make a fake illusion of themselves to fool those around them but one thing that they cant change is their eyes. The eyes held their true emotions even when their body and what they were saying was completely different. They eyes where one of the big things what gave them away.

Their eyes revealed their true characters. For Gatsby his eyes almost represented how he was so deluded by his dream he wasn’t in reality and wasn’t seeing the full picture or even what he was doing. Others for example Daisy revealed even though she acts innocent and harmless she is well aware of what she is doing to others and how she is manipulating them. Unlike Gatsby Daisy isn’t blinded by love, Daisy is Blinded by Materialistic things instead.
The Colour White “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans”

“The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house.”

“All right, old sport,” called Gatsby. We slowed down. Taking a white card from his wallet, he waved it before the man’s eyes.

– This is when Nick is driving to Daisy and Tom’s for dinner. They live in the richest part of New York.

– This is when Nick is At Tom and Daisy’s for Dinner. When he walks into the room where unknown to him Daisy and Jordan were lounging on a coach.

– This is when Gatsby and Nick are driving out to his plane and Gatsby was speeding and was pulled over by a police man.

– Nick, Tom and Daisy.

– Nick, Daisy and Jordan.

– Nick and Gatsby

– The white palaces represents wealth. The East Egg estates are all considered ‘Old Money’. Whereas West egg is considered ‘New Money’. This is the difference between East Egg and West Egg, although it doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in the novel it’s like comparing chalk and cheese. Those from East Egg were always associated with white but never those from West Egg.

– In this quote white is symbolising innocence and femininity. Daisy is almost always wearing white. Although we know daisy is anything but innocent i think Daisy always is associated just to make her illusion more believable and since Nick is the narrator it isn’t really till the end of the book where he sees Daisy for who she truly is.

– White here is symbolising status and Class. The only wealthy people have the white card that allows them to bypass the law and essential drive whatever speed they like. Later on in the book speeding essentially gets Gatsby killed. But the white card is another item that separates the rich from the poor.

What white represents in a situations change it could be either class, innocence and femininity or wealth. For Gatsby white is symbolising his class and wealth, and although Gatsby isn’t included in the East Egg clique there is no denying he is very well known and definitely wealthy! Also proving this we never see Nick associated with white as he is neither Extremely wealthy or has a high Social status. Daisy is always white to signify her ‘innocence and purity’. We know this definatly is not who Daisy is, More who she portrays.
Yellow and Gold “The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher.”

“It was a yellow car,” he said, “big yellow car.”

“He announced that he had a way of finding out whom the yellow car belonged to, and then he blurted out that a couple of months ago his wife had come from

the city with her face bruised and her nose swollen.”

– This is when Nick goes to his first party of Gatsby’s. This is describing Gatsby’s party.

– One of the witness talking about when myrtle  was killed and about the car which was Gatsby’s. This is after Myrtle was killed.

– Once again this was after Myrtle was killed. Wilson is still in shock and is going over the events of the night.

– Nick

– Gatsby, Tom, Daisy, Nick, Wilson and Myrtle.

– Gatsby, Tom, Daisy, Nick, Wilson and Myrtle.

In this instance yellow is used to symbolize Happiness. Gatsby’s parties were somewhere everyone went for a guaranteed fun time without having to worry about the problems of the world and really everyone was looked at the same. Gatsby’s parties were a very regular thing which was a very signature part of the 1920’s.

– The following quotes are about Gatsbys yellow Rolls Royce. Gatsby had an large car collection. A reason his car was a creamy yellow colour was like most things to impress Daisy as yellow symbolises fake wealth. Gold is the real symbol of wealth. He desperately wanted to show off some sort of wealth to Daisy. Unfortunately the stunning car was an attributing factor in Gatsby’s death.

Gatsby is always more associated with yellow rather than gold. Gold implies wealth and status. Yellow is fake gold. It is close to god but it will never be gold. Gatsby is yellow and Daisy is gold. Gatsbys car is a symbol of desire but also failure to reach ‘that’ group. Gatsby is trying so hard to show of what he has got but to daisy it will never be as much as she has.
The Green Light “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us…tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.”- Nick Carraway

“You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.” Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock.

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. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness.

– This is the final passage in the book which Nicks narrates. After Gatsby has been killed, Tom and Daisy have run away and Nick has decided to go back west. It is highlighting the impossible task of reaching the American Dream.

– We see this quote when Daisy and Gatsby finally meet at Nick’s house. Nick organised For Daisy to come over and secretly on the side told Gatsby to come over as well so the two could reunite.

– This is our very first glance at Gatsby. We read this once nick comes home from Daisys  and Toms

– Most people in the 1920’s hoping to achieve the American Dream

– Gatsby and Daisy

– Nick and Gatsby

– In this quote the green light is symbolising the unachievable. The Green light (American Dream) is never in reach in fact it only gets harder to achieve. But it also represents how people lose reality trying to live the ‘American Dream’  they are so focused on trying to achieve the dream that they are brainwashed by it and can’t comprehend how fake it is.

– When Gatsby finally meets Daisy after their 5 years of being apart it wasnt what Gatsby had been dreaming. The dream he been imagining had vanished. It symbolized when someone

achieved the dream it wasn’t what it was made out to be. This once again proves to us that the American dream isn’t what its is made out to be and once you achieve it you will be really disappointed.

– The Green light here symbolises how Gatsby still has hope for being reunited with Daisy. To Gatsby the green light is what he is striving to capture. Because all Gatsby wants is Daisy. At this point in the book Gatsby wasn’t aware that his dream would become a reality, but his dream wouldn’t be at all like he had fantasised.

“He stretched his arms out towards the dark water in a curious way… Involuntarily, I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away…”

– Gatsby feels as though the dream (the light) is so close he can almost touch it but its just out of reach. It seems so close he surely won’t fail to touch it.

– Nick cant help but look where Gatsby is reaching to. Gatsby’s dream / hope is so powerful, it draws people attention without even meaning to.

There is only one focus to the dream. “Single” carries a lot of connotations. It can be lonely but also harmful its not healthy to focus on a single thing for too long. you can lose perspective on life/ everything else.

Tiny, in the distance. Nick sees the light as being a small speck in the distance. This reveals that Gatsby’s dream is, in reality, too far away to see clearly or reach. in reality it doesn’t exist.

Settings

Each of the settings in the novel comment on an aspect of The American Dream. Explain how each of the settings reveals a reality about The American Dream and how this message is reinforced by the characters that live in each setting.

East Egg – These people are born into ‘The Dream’,FALSE

West Egg – These people ‘Bootleg’ their way to the top but are never fully accepted into the elite social group. CORRUPT

Valley of Ashes – These people work hard and they never move out of poverty. The dream consistently fails them. FAILED

New York  – Anything is possible here or at least it feels like it is. This place offers the escape from reality for many people. ILLUSION

Character Illusions

Identify how each of the characters you have explored above presented the idea of illusion in the text. Describe how they concealed their true self from other characters in the novel. Explain what helped you uncover their illusion in the text.

Gatsby’s illusions that is that he has reached the ‘elite’ group. Gatsby is blinded by his own greed and imagination. Gatsby thinks by having the social status, wealth, a mansion in west egg and all these materialistic items that he has reached the pinnacle of the American dream, and has what the society dreams they had. Its his motivation to live the life of luxury and to have love that leads him to portray a certain image about his life. In reality Gatsby is still the poor boy from North Dakota wishing for a bigger better life. As a child he never accepted his parents as they were not successful enough and couldn’t help further his ‘dream’. So Gatsby was forced to make his fortune illegally, throwing large parties so that those attending wish they were apart of this side of society. Everything Gatsby did was so he could feel like he had ‘made it’. By having Daisy he would have had it all. But it was all an illusion it so it was achievable.

Daisy creates the illusion that she is hard done by and is the ‘victim’. Daisy thinks by simply being a woman she is mistreated and worthless. “And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”- Daisy. This was a popular opinion women had at this time. This is all an act to get people to fall for her innocent, naive persona so that people pity her and comply with her wants.When in reality Daisy is a manipulative, selfish, scheming young women. Daisy only ever thinks of herself and what she wants and does not recognise who she hurts along the way.

Nick at the very start promises us that he will be unbiased to the other characters. At the beginning of the novel Nick isn’t included in the action and only narrates it from an outsiders opinion buy throughout we see nick become more and more involved whether he likes it or not. “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”- Nick. Nick thinks of himself as un opinionated and non judgemental towards those around him because he can see there true characters and doesn’t want to end up just the same with a snobby, rude, judgmental attitude. Nick breaks his unbiased promise multiple times throughout the book. “They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” Although Nicks declaration was harmless, it was still an illusion because even the best of us can’t help but be judgemental.

Nick Carraway

I lost all i wrote on this and only just saw on sunday night! sorry!

” I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life” –  Nick Chapter 2

Although Nick is enchanted by the lifestyle that those he surrounds himself live, the lifestyle they have ‘repells’ Nick because he doesn’t have the wealth or personality to fit into the standards set to be apart of their ‘clique’.

Symbol – The Green Light

He stretched his arms out towards the dark water in a curious way… Involuntarily, I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away…”

  • Gatsby feels as though the dream (the light) is so close he can almost touch it but its just out of reach. It seems so close he surely won’t fail to touch it.
  • Nick cant help but look where Gatsby is reaching to. Gatsby’s dream / hope is so powerful, it draws people attention without even meaning to.
  • There is only one focus to the dream. “Single” carries a lot of connotations. It can be lonely but also harmful its not healthy to focus on a single thing for too long. you can loos perspective on life/ everything else.
  • Tiny, in the distance. Nick sees the light as being a small speck in the distance. This reveals that Gatsby’s dream is, in reality, too far away to see clearly or reach. in reality it doesn’t exist.

How Characters Change – Daisy Buchanan

Describe three key characters and explain how they change throughout the novel.

Daisy Buchanan is a beautiful young woman originally from Kentucky. She is cousins with Nick Carraway and Married to a Polo Player Tom Buchanan. The two of them came from extremely wealthy families. Daisy has an aura of charm, wealth, sophistication, grace, and aristocracy. Although she hopes this is the only impressions she gives her true persona is fickle, shallow, bored, sardonic and definitely manipulative. Daisy is the definitions of the American dream… She presents to be someone who has the life of our dreams but in real life its is more corrupt than you could imagine.

We first meet Daisy in Chapter 1 when she invites Nick over to her East Egg mansion for dinner. First impressions of Daisy is that she is the victim of her husband, sweet and ‘innocent’. She plays the victim card as her husband is not so secretly have a affair with a mistress called Myrtle Wilson. “Well, I’ve had a very bad time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything.” – Daisy. We also notice that Daisy is very self centered and see herself as flawless. Daisy is aware of her position in society and loves it, she love the sophistication and superiority that comes with it. “Everybody thinks so… the most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. “Sophisticated — God, I’m sophisticated!”- Daisy.

In the middle of the book Daisy leads us to believe that she has found happiness in her life and has turned a corner and isn’t so hung up about social status and more about those around her and is more invested in life rather than materialistic things. “I’m glad, Jay.” Her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy. – Daisy. This period of sincerity is only seen for a short period of time before Daisy’s act is no longer believed.

At the end of the book, Daisy is forced to choose between Gatsby and Tom, She reveals her true self and runs back into her money and to Tom, leaving Gatsby and all the false hope behind. The plan was for Daisy to leave Tom and lead a new life with Gatsby but Tom had something Gatsby didn’t. Tom had money, status and their 5 years of marriage, Gatsby was no comparison for this. “They were 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, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . .” Everything Daisy does is a performance. She portrays herself in different ways to different people to manipulate them into accommodating her needs and desires. “Her eyes fell on Jordan and me with a sort of appeal,” Nick says of the moment Daisy is cornered by Gatsby’s insistence that she tell Tom she never loved him, “as though she realized at last what she was doing—and as though she had never, all along, intended doing anything at all.”

The American Dream

An ideal that all humans should have equal opportunity to pursue happiness and success.

“The American Dream is that dream of a land where life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” – James Truslow Adams ‘Epic of America’

East Egg – These people are born into ‘The Dream’ FALSE

West Egg – These people ‘Bootleg’ their way to the top but are never fully accepted into the elite social group. CORRUPT

Valley of Ashes – These people work hard and they never move out of poverty. The dream consistently fails them. FAILED

New York  – Anything is possible here or at least it feels like it is. This place offers the escape from reality for many people. ILLUSION

How Characters Change – Jay Gatsby

Describe three key characters and explain how they change throughout the novel.

Jay Gatsby – Gatsby is a young wealthy man living in an extravagant mansion in West egg. He is known all around the New York area for his lavish parties that are thrown weekly, this is all the information that the public  really know about Gatsby. “Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.”, “it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.” At one of Gatsby’s parties, the party goers say these things that have been speculated about Gatsby. No one knows where he came from, what he does or how he came to his fortune. At the start of the novel Gatsby comes across as a very well mannered, wealthy man. But throughout the book we see Gatsby character slowly unravel, he loses his calm superior persona and see him turn into a desperate rattled character. The reason for this is Daisy. Gatsby has worked his whole life to become a wealthy, statused man because in his opinion this will win Daisy back. Gatsby first met Daisy when he was going off to war, At this time Gatsby was poor and since Daisy came from a prestigious family Gatsby didn’t have a chance at being Daisys significant other. Once Gatsby left for war Daisy didn’t wait long before she moved on to her now husband Tom Buchanan who fit the standards set by those around Daisy. During the 5 years that Daisy and Gatsby spent without contact, Gatsby did everything he could to make him reach Daisys standards. He organised criminal activity which earned him his fortune and built up an image which made him fit in with the other ‘rich bootleggers in West egg’ and created a status so everyone would now who the ‘Great Jay Gatsby’ was in hope of reconnecting with Daisy. Once he finally reconnects with Daisy the plan he had been creating for 5 years was not going as he had wanted and he couldn’t rap his head around why things weren’t. “He (Gatsby) wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: “I never loved you.” After she had obliterated four years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken.”. He was so fixated on the plan he couldn’t see that it was unrealistic and throughout the book it only becomes more achievable. “Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now – isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once – but I loved you too.” This shows us that even in that small space of time when he did have Daisy, it wasn’t enough to make him forget what has gone on in their five years apart.