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The Great Gatsby Essay

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Colors affect the mood and call attention to the importance of the events in a novel. The concept

of color symbolism is considerable in The Great Gatsby. White, yellow, blue, and green affect the

atmosphere of scenes through association with a specific mood. When analyzed, the frequent use of

color and its relevance can be identified.

The color white and light tones are associated with cleanliness, innocence and kindness. This idea

holds true in the novel when Nick describes the room in Tom’s house where Daisy and Jordan are

introduced. He describes the room as “bright” (12) and the windows as “gleaming white against the

grass” (12). The dresses Jordan and Daisy are wearing are also described as “white” (12). On page 24,

Daisy and Jordan’s “girlhood” is described as “beautiful [and] white”. Childhood represents innocence

and because the color white is associated with it, white becomes a representation of innocence. The

affect the color white creates is the impression of a pure, clean environment, and that Jordan and Daisy

are the same. In the text, there is no prior discussion of Tom’s house or Daisy and Jordan which causes

the reader to believe they are pure and good.

Yellow is a representation of speciousness and corruption of events or characters in The Great

Gatsby. The significance of yellow is to show through imagery that not everything is as it seems. In the

beginning of the novel, Daisy and Jordan are wearing white dresses, giving the illusion of cleanliness.

With the progression of the storyline, Daisy and Jordan’s clothes slowly change from white to a golden

yellow as the characters impurities are revealed. The color yellow is also present in descriptions of

Myrtle. Myrtle’s dress in the party scene is described by Nick as “cream colored” (35). “With the

influence of the dress, her personality had also undergone a change” (35). When Myrtle wears the

yellowish dress, every aspect about her changes into something fake. In Myrtle, the color yellow is a

clear representation of dishonesty because she pretends to be something she is not. The effect the color

yellow has on the description of characters is to point out the dishonesty they have. Yellow is also a

symbol of corruption. Gatsby’s car is the car that killed Myrtle and is described as “a yellow car. A big

yellow car” (147) and again on page 148 “It was a yellow car.” The reason the word yellow is repeated is

to bring out the corruption in the actions of Daisy after the accident. When Myrtle was struck, instead of

stopping to see if she was alive, Daisy accelerated away from the scene. In this way, it seems fit that the

car was yellow. It is true that yellow is linked with Daisy because the flower is surrounded by white

petals, with a yellow center. The white petals represent her innocent and pure appearance, and the

yellow center represents how at the core, she is a dishonest.

The color blue in The Great Gatsby is associated with false appearances. False appearance plays a

vital role in the novel in several key places. In the description of Gatsby’s guests in the gardens on page

43, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the

champagne and the stars.” The sentence is describing a party at Gatsby’s house. Until this point,

Gatsby’s parties were believed to be high class occasions where friends of



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