In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald demonstrates how the tragic hero, Gatsby, pursued the green light represented by Daisy and the once wholesome American dream that became the singular, empty pursuit of material wealth. The “green light” serves as a symbol for Gatsby’s lonely, unattainable goal—possessing Daisy by achieving the required social status.
The Great Gatsby and the Green Light: Green Color Symbolism Analysis
Nick observes Gatsby as he “stretched out his arms out toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as [Nick] was from him, [he] could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily [Nick] glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald 20-21). The “single green light” calls to mind a beacon, “minute and far way,” a signal to go forward in a single direction toward a single destination. Light suggests hope and possibility; the fact that the light is green connotes both what is new and fresh and natural as well as the artificial nature of money.
The Great Gatsby and Daisy Relationship Analysis
Gatsby’s arms are “stretched out” toward the “green light” indicating his desire to receive what he dreams of: Daisy. As he looks toward the light, Gatsby appears to shake with eagerness, intensity, and anticipation of being so close to obtaining what he so desperately wants, yet the “dark water” of the bay physically separates Gatsby from the elite East Egg, where Daisy resides. While Gatsby can acquire possessions to impress Daisy, he will never be accepted by East Eggers.
The Great Gatsby and the American Dream Analysis
Gatsby’s single-minded focus corrupts the purity of the immigrants’ American dream, the fresh new start America offers and the hope of upward mobility. Gatsby, as the central figure of the novel, is a tragic hero whose tragic flaw represents the shallow, careless people of Fitzgerald’s time who no longer think about America as the land green with opportunity. It was now the land green with greed.
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