Gatsby Color Symbolism

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Color has many different meanings in our everyday lives, from a simple go at a green traffic light to stop and pull over to a flashing blue light. Everywhere you look you see simple colors that mean different things. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway is bombarded with colorful people and their very colorful array of possessions and places as he adapts to the New York way of life in the 1920’s. Nick meets a man named Gatsby and helps him get the girl of his dreams only to have everything blow up in his face. Color symbolism plays an essential role in the novel.
The color red is essential for showing luxury and class in the Buchanan home. The Buchanan’s are an extremely wealthy family of old money who live across
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Jay Gatsby was one of the extremely rich people in the story, although he had so much money he could not buy what he truly wanted, the heart of Daisy Buchanan. He believed that money could get him what he wanted, but as the saying goes ‘money can’t buy happiness’. Throughout all of Gatsby’s wild parties, Gatsby was partying “while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains” (Fitzgerald 39). The color yellow in this situation symbolizes the temporariness of life and how fast it can change. One second the car is at Gatsby’s the next it’s at the train station, much like in Gatsby’s life how he was poor one minute then the next he’s rich then he’s poor again and back to being rich. Or how Gatsby was happy and then upset and lonely and is then happy again. When Gatsby is showing Daisy and Nick his house Gatsby had “a toilet set of pure dull gold” (Fitzgerald 91). Gold much like yellow symbolizes temporariness and corruption, Gatsby’s golden toilet represents how Gatsby has too much money and is spending so much on silly things like golden toilets. In the end that same corruption symbolized in the golden color gets Gatsby killed and causes him to live only a temporary life. In Maia Samkanashvili’s paper she writes that “sometimes the gold in Gatsby’s house turns yellow” ( What she means is that on the surface everything looks fine and dandy but on the inside nothing is right. Gatsby is going crazy over Daisy, Gatsby’s involved in the mafia, and in reality Gatsby has no friends. The gold symbolizing corruption and temporariness proves the temporary friends of Gatsby, the corrupt business he’s in and the overwhelming hope he feels about he and Daisy that will never come true. Daniel Schneider describes the color as “Ubiquitous yellow- symbol of the money, the cass materialism that corrupts the dream and Ultimately destroys it”

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