What Is The Car Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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The Drive of Wealth
Automobiles were relatively new in the 1920’s and not only had immense function, but were seen as luxurious items used to make distinctions in social class. Cars represent the idea of material wealth that is either desired or already felt during this time period. Cars also generally represent things like freedom and industrialism, which provides irony to the book because people were stuck in their social classes and could not really be free at all during this time. In Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby, the motif of automobiles symbolizes the egotism the super powerful upper-class, and can also be used to the determine a characters true personality through their relationship to automobiles.
Jay Gatsby’s
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During the night Nick was at Gatsby’s party for the first time to meet his new neighbor, a couple guests had crashed a car into a wall on their way out. Confused about how the accident happened, Nick soon learned that the man driving the car “[knew] nothing whatever about mechanics” (54). The symbolism in this is that unlike Gatsby, these guests aren’t of the super-rich social class and aren’t accustomed to things as imposing as automobiles, so they crash and fail when they pretend to be. Going to Gatsby’s parties does not actually make the guests any better off, but the excitement of being surrounded by things above them clouds their vision and reveals their lust towards the lifestyle that Gatsby has. One guest in particular, Jordan Baker, acts a little bit differently than the other guests when making an exit from the party in an automobile. Jordan’s reckless personality is truly brought out when working with a vehicle of this caliber. She drives without care because “It takes two to make an accident” even though the consequence of driving with such audacity could mean death (58). She enjoys doing things her way and puts an almost false trust in people that they will be the safe ones while she has the ability to live life worry-free. As with Jay, there is irony tied into her expectations because after putting faith …show more content…
For Myrtle and George, there is no egotism because they do not belong to the upper-class like the majority of the book’s characters do. Because of this, Tom thinks that George is “so dumb he doesn’t know he’s alive” (26). This reveals that the poor and even the middle class are looked down upon and that they are very selfish in nature. However, the cars still do have meaning to the Wilsons. Myrtle is killed in the end of the story by a car that she thought was Tom which is ironic because Tom would be the one to give her the lifestyle that could include cars; cars are not only the symbol of the American dream lifestyle but a deadly instrument that was thrown aside in earlier chapters by Jordan only to reappear and take the life of Tom’s mistress and George’s

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