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The Great Gatsby Essay Example: Symbolism and American Dream

Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

❶However, there are other, more creative approaches to this task. Daisy thought she had love when she married Tom, but truly in the long run, only came out with money.

The Great Gatsby Themes

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High school essay topics for The Great Gatsby
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The following sample focuses on all of these subjects and should give you plenty of inspiring ideas to work with. The Great Gatsby, a novel written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald in , nowadays is rightly seen as the classics of the American literature. On the face of it, the plot seems to be a usual story of broken hopes and expectations.

However, with a closer look at this novel, one can discern a number of social issues and problems such as inconsistency of the American dream, the destructive power of money and the futility of the upper class. All of these themes are being subtly revealed by Fitzgerald through a number of symbols, such as lights, colors, everyday habitual objects, time, the personality of the characters and, of course, through a symbol of money.

Green has always been associated with hope; however, some imply to it the notion of money being associated with dollars as well.

Perhaps, the most obvious and clear explanation to Gatsby staring at the green light, dreaming of Daisy is the one of his longing for love and making plans for the future. Light, not necessarily green one, but any light, in general, can be considered to have a special meaning in the novel.

For instance, Fitzgerald describes a number of colors in clothes and household articles that are to portray the characters according to the symbolic role they play in the narration. Daisy and Jordan, for example, are often depicted in white clothes, which might seem as a symbol of innocence and purity. Nevertheless, neither Daisy, nor Jordan, are seen as chaste and blameless characters in the novel. Thus, it is possible to suppose that in this novel, white only seems to symbolize chastity, while in fact, it shows false purity and hypocrisy.

The bleak grey hues of the valley of ashes symbolically reflect the transition between the West Egg and the East Egg, each of them symbolizing certain notions as well. West Egg and East Egg both stand for money; East Egg is the place for the rich American aristocracy, while West Egg is the domain of the ones who gained the money during their lives, not inherited them.

Thus, the valley of ashes shows something in between, something that belongs neither to this world, nor to that. Doubtless, it is associated with the middle class, with the average population, leading a dull and uninteresting life, left out of the entertainments and sparkling luxury of the Jazz Era. Grey is the color of mediocrity, and so, by depicting the valley where common people live and toil in grey colors, Fitzgerald emphasizes the idea of a contemptuous attitude of the upper class to the lower one.

A previously described contrast of the upper and lower classes is not the only one in The Great Gatsby. West Egg and East Egg, situated opposite each other, show the gap between the American aristocracy and newly rich entrepreneurs. However, by drawing a special attention to the similar shape and size of the islands, Fitzgerald seems to emphasize the idea, that in fact, the difference can hardly be seen from a distance.

Another important symbol is the symbol of time. Instead, they live their lives in such a way as to perpetuate their sense of superiority — however unrealistic that may be. The people with newly acquired wealth, though, aren't necessarily much better. Think of Gatsby's partygoers. They attend his parties, drink his liquor, and eat his food, never once taking the time to even meet their host nor do they even bother to wait for an invitation, they just show up.

When Gatsby dies, all the people who frequented his house every week mysteriously became busy elsewhere, abandoning Gatsby when he could no longer do anything for them. One would like to think the newly wealthy would be more sensitive to the world around them — after all, it was only recently they were without money and most doors were closed to them.

As Fitzgerald shows, however, their concerns are largely living for the moment, steeped in partying and other forms of excess. Just as he did with people of money, Fitzgerald uses the people with no money to convey a strong message.

Nick, although he comes from a family with a bit of wealth, doesn't have nearly the capital of Gatsby or Tom. In the end, though, he shows himself to be an honorable and principled man, which is more than Tom exhibits.

Myrtle, though, is another story. She comes from the middle class at best. She is trapped, as are so many others, in the valley of ashes, and spends her days trying to make it out. In fact, her desire to move up the social hierarchy leads her to her affair with Tom and she is decidedly pleased with the arrangement. Because of the misery pervading her life, Myrtle has distanced herself from her moral obligations and has no difficulty cheating on her husband when it means that she gets to lead the lifestyle she wants, if only for a little while.

What she doesn't realize, however, is that Tom and his friends will never accept her into their circle. Notice how Tom has a pattern of picking lower-class women to sleep with.

Consider the possibilities of an agrarian society being the epitome of the American Dream. Find evidences of farming or pastoral scenes and diction in the first two chapters which suggest the belief that such a society fulfills the ideal American Dream. Contrast the green light at the end of chapter 1 and the gray images in the Valley of Ashes in chapter 2. What thematic statement do the contrasting images reveal?

How can George Wilson be said to symbolize the American Dream? Research descriptions of archetypal heroes, including their mysterious beginnings associated with rumors and mythical power. Consider Gatsby as such a hero, based upon the rumors surrounding him.

Gatsby is killed by

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Argumentative essay topics for The Great Gatsby. There are plenty of good essay topics in this category — after all, every literary work leaves a lot of space for imagination and potential argument. Fitzgerald’s novel can be analyzed from a variety of different perspectives, which makes it a perfect fit for an argumentative paper.

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Learn here what a theme is, what the main themes in The Great Gatsby are, and what the best tips for writing about themes for your English/Language Arts class essays are. We will also link to our specific articles on each theme so you can learn even more in-depth about themes central to Gatsby.

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Aug 23,  · Suggested Essay Topics. ggettsy.cf what sense is The Great Gatsby an autobiographical novel? Does Fitzgerald write more of himself into the character of Nick or the character of Gatsby, or are the author’s qualities found in both characters? The essay topics in this lesson are oriented toward provoking interesting essays around the various themes in The Great Gatsby, and you can modify these topics to meet the needs and interests of the students in your class.

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Essays and criticism on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - Suggested Essay Topics. and themes. Chapter 2 1. Consider the possibilities of an agrarian society being the epitome of the. Decide is Gatsby loves Daisy or he merely desires Daisy and then come it to Tom and Myrtle’s relationship; The novel is filled with symbols, themes, descriptive writing and references to other literary works. There are truly hundreds of topic ideas when it comes to writing an essay on The Great Gatsby.