Motif Of Eyes In The Great Gatsby

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People have said before that you could tell what kind of a person someone is just by looking into their eyes. Perhaps one of the most expressive features on the human body, the eye has the ability to show fear, happiness, and even sadness. Many writers have used a character’s eyes or their glasses as a way of providing meaning to their overall story. Examples of the use of eyesight as a motif are in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, with the large eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg hung over a city on a billboard, and in Flannery O’Connor’s 1955 short story Good Country People, where a girl’s glasses are taken off, changing her view of everything she had ever thought before.
Heralded as one of the greatest works of American literature,
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“You just a while ago said you didn’t believe in nothing. I thought you was some girl!”(O’Connor, Good Country People, 1955, Pg.18)
This motif of eyes in Good Country People is similar to The Great Gatsby because both of them revolve around realization. Hulga realizes how wrong she is about everything, that her PhD doesn’t make her understand everything around her, including people. The reality of the world had hit her harder than the bullet that blew her leg off when she was ten years old.
The motif of eyes or eyesight in American literature is important with the idea of perspective. Most times it is seen as a way of enforcing one’s thoughts or opinions on a situation happening within the story. Having one 's eyes represent the reality of this world, or the realization of what is happening helps reinforce the weight of the story. In The Great Gatsby, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg represent the eyes of God, looking down upon the harsh, realistic world of the Valley of Ashes. Hulga’s glasses in Good Country People, symbolize her ideology of the world around her, having them taken away and opening her eyes to the real world. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Flannery O’Connor both use the motif of eyes as a way of showing the readers what America was really like at these times. People were not as aware of the poor cities that the other half in The Great Gatsby were living in, and the 1950s were the start of movements based around thought and many American people forgot what the real world was actually like, unlike a romanticised work of

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