Themes And Symbols In 'The Great Gatsby'

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The main message of the story, as outlined in the thesis, becomes apparent near the end of the movie, through the use of powerful symbolism that can be understood using Carl Jung’s theory of the “archetype” (Nye 2008, 136). Jung’s theory states that there are some “fundamental symbols with meanings and associations” (Nye 2008, 134) shared universally, or by all human beings. In the case of The Great Gatsby, I will focus on only the people within the “universe” of the book, i.e. the analysis of symbols and the people’s beliefs in them exist only within the Valley of Ashes (outskirts of New York City). There are many important symbols in the book, but one symbol stands out, because it is what helps us understand the theme of the story. There …show more content…
T.J Eckelberg, an optometrist who once had his practice there, but left and abandoned the sign. This rotting sign, with a picture of giant bespectacled eyes, watches the activity down below. The deteriorating state of the billboard says something about the horrid conditions of the people living in that part of town, but perhaps the most significant idea it represents is that these eyes look down upon the people like the “eyes of God”. It has been mentioned by various characters in the book that the eyes of the doctor are judging the people for their deeds – it is an all seeing, all knowing entity. The archetype theory explains that common symbols, like the cross in Christianity, carry a universal message. Just like the cross represents the Christian faith, the eyes of Dr. Eckelberg represent God, or the despair and sorrow that exist in the Valley of Ashes. Those eyes see a great deal of suffering and …show more content…
This is indeed true, as not only does “God” see a whole lot of destruction; he also pays back Gatsby for all his illegal activities. We see that Gatsby has spent his entire life striving to win Daisy over with his wealth, and to become so powerful that he would never have to think about his humble roots. He tries to buy everyone and everything – he even offers to secure a job for Nick Carraway in return for a favor. Up until the point where he is invited to Daisy’s house for lunch, he seems to be getting everything he wants, and even Daisy has admitted to loving him. However, he soon finds himself heading to the Plaza Hotel with Tom, Daisy, Nick and Jordan. Along the way, we catch a glimpse of the billboard, which warns us of trouble. Indeed, the trip to the hotel ends in disaster as Gatsby finds himself losing Daisy after his secret business connections and “job” are revealed to all by Tom. The foretelling of Gatsby’s fate through the symbolism of “God’s eyes” shows us that this was all predestined. When Daisy and Gatsby are driving back from the hotel, they collide with Myrtle, resulting in her tragic death. Again, the universal symbol of Dr. Eckelberg as the divine being who controls death is revealed. Finally, Gatsby’s death is set in stone when, again under the watchful eyes of the doctor, Tom convinces George Wilson that Gatsby was responsible for Myrtle’s

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