What Does The Green Light Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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The American Dream promises equality, opportunity and happiness to those insistent on its pursual. However, F. Scott Fitzgerald contradicts this claim in his masterpiece The Great Gatsby, as he uses symbolism in order to portray the inability to achieve the American Dream and the corruption incited in its pursuit. Thus, Fitzgerald uses the symbol of the green light in order to represent the American Dream and Gatsby’s futile quest of this ideal. He also uses the valley of ashes to communicate both the decadence of the upper class as they carelessly splurge, and the resulting loss of vitality and hope in the lower class. Therefore, in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald effectively uses symbolism to convey the fictitious sense of hope provoked by the …show more content…
The green light situated on Daisy’s East Egg dock symbolizes Gatsby’s intense desire to marry Daisy, which would allow him to identify himself with everything she represents – success, power, “old money”, and the American Dream. However, this fantasy is proven to be unattainable when Nick sees Gatsby for the first time and says, “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way… Involuntarily I glanced seaward–and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away” (Fitzgerald 21). In this quotation, the bay separating Gatsby on West Egg from the light on East Egg reflects the unconquerable social barrier that impedes Gatsby’s upward social mobility, thus making it impossible for him to reach his desired status and obtain Daisy. Moreover, Gatsby believes that the green light and his future with Daisy is close enough to be in arm’s reach, however Nick describes the light as being small and distant, thus displaying Gatsby’s false hope and distorted outlook as a result of his obssessive fixation on achieving Daisy, his American Dream. Furthermore, Fitzgerald uses the symbol of the green light in order to extend this theme and relate it to society. This is seen in Nick’s retrospective conclusion to the novel, as he states, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the …show more content…
Thus, through Gatsby’s inevitable shortfall of reaching the green light, the American Dream is proven to be unattainable. Moreover, the valley of ashes is masterfully juxtaposed with West and East Egg in order to display the decadence of the wealthy and emphasize the hopelessness of the poor. Additionally, Tom’s infidelity and dishonesty is highlighted through his actions and conservations in the valley of ashes, ultimately displaying the corrupt means that he adapts in order to feel superior and potent. Therefore, as shown in The Great Gatsby, the principle of the American Dream has derailed from striving for equality and happiness to striving for utter wealth and power, ultimately leading to the failure of this unrealistic

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