How Does Fitzgerald Use Symbols In The Great Gatsby

Words: 580
Pages: 3

Brandon Smith


AP Literature

Moral Decay

Symbolism, the art of using symbols to represent ideas or qualities. Using symbolism you can give the reader feelings, sensations and meanings without directly saying what is happening. In the novel The Great Gatsby, symbolism is used to avoid criticism for the controversy surrounding the novel. Symbols such as colors and locations are used to display the aspects of the recklessness and corruption of the upper class in American society.

Although there are many symbols hinting at the wealth of the upper class, Gatsby’s gold tie and silver shirt symbolize his status within the wealthy community. Gatsby wears this outfit to display to Daisy how his wealth has grown. He feels that she will want to marry him now compared to years before because of his economical status. While how his fortune has made isn’t clear, it is obvious that illegal, organized crime was in someway involved. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald frequently refers to the 1919 World Series. Meyer Wolfsheim, Gatsby's connection to organized crime, was heavily influential in the World Series. Alcohol was a recurring symbol of Gatsby’s disregard for the law. People did not care about breaking the law since they felt above the law because of their wealth.
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While driving his car, Daisy ran over Myrtle, George Wilson’s wife. This is another representation of the carelessness of the upper class and how they don’t realize the repercussions of their actions. Myrtle’s death by gatsby’s car is what lead George Wilson to kill him. This means that Gatsby's rise to wealth lead to his death. If Gatsby didn’t have wealth he would not have his car or the opportunity to let Daisy drive. Wealth and high social status is what makes people’s behaviour deteriorate and lead to their demise. People from the upper class do not see how self destructive their careless actions can