Green Light Great Gatsby Essay Prompt

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Green Light In The Great Gatsby

The Green Light in The Great Gatsby

  The image of the green light in the novel Great Gatsby, by F. Scott

Fitzgerald, is a significant symbol which reflects Gatsby's dream and other

aspects beyond Gatsby's longing.  Throughout the novel Fitzgerald uses many

other images or symbols.  At first, it may seem very basic, but when the

symbol is closely studied, one may see the deeper meaning found within it.

Fitzgerald uses these symbols to make a point across to the reader.  He

then uses this point and converts it into a deeper meaning, into a myth

about America.  The green light mentioned in the novel clearly represents

and is a prime example of this.

      Before examining the significance of the green light, one must

learn what a symbol is.  A symbol cannot be seen as a sign.  The two are

very different.  A sign is an object which signifies something else.  For

example, a green traffic light instructs drivers to proceed.  A symbol is

much more complex than this.  A symbol may also stand for something else as

seen in its simplest case.  A symbol sums up a large number of ideas and

attitudes.  The complexity of a symbol may be more intense than a sign

because it can have several meanings in different situations. (Beckson and

Ganz 207)

      The green light is first mentioned in chapter one of the Great

Gatsby.  Nick, the narrator of the novel, sees Gatsby curiously stretching

his arms out towards the water.  Nick went to see what Gatsby was looking

at and all he could see was "...nothing except a single green light, minute

and far away, that might have been the end of a dock."

      At this point in the novel the symbol of the green light is

introduced to the reader.  The reader does not know that the light is on

Daisy's dock.  Therefore, one cannot affiliate Gatsby with Daisy.  The

reader does know that Nick admires Gatsby for his dream which is some way

linked with the green light.  The color green represents life, hope, and

youth.  Gatsby's fantasy will live as long as long as he remains gazing at

the green light.

      In chapter four of the novel, Nick finds out from Jordan that

Gatsby bought the house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.  Nick

responds to this fact: "Then it had not been merely the stars to which he

had aspired on that June night.  He came alive to me, delivered suddenly

from the womb of his purposeless splendor."

      Until this point, Gatsby was a puzzle.  Nick, at this moment,

solves the puzzle: Gatsby's house and extravagant style of living is a

necessity to reaching and fulfilling his dream rather than a flamboyant

exhibit of wealth.  The truth that Gatsby is yearning for Daisy is now

apparent.  This is being symbolized by the green light at the end of the



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