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What do the colors symbolize in the great gatsby essay?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered a literary classic known for its vivid symbolism. Colors are repeatedly used throughout the novel, representing ideas or themes that help build up the story and characters. In The Great Gatsby essays, examining the symbolic meanings behind the colors featured prominently can provide insight into the themes and character development in the novel. This analysis will focus on the symbolic meanings behind the colors green, white, yellow, and blue in The Great Gatsby.


The color green in The Great Gatsby is associated with Gatsby’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Examples Analysis
The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock that Gatsby gazes at longingly Represents Gatsby’s hopes for the future and dreams of reuniting with Daisy as lovers
The green leather conservatory at one of Gatsby’s parties Illustrates the lavish grandness of Gatsby’s parties and lifestyle, enabled by his amassed wealth in pursuit of his dreams
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” Highlights how Gatsby’s optimistic disposition leads him to have unrealistic ambitions, even though the object of his affection remains elusive

Overall, the color green in The Great Gatsby symbolizes longing, hope, and the aspirations of Jay Gatsby as he relentlessly pursues his dream and vision for the future.


The color white in The Great Gatsby generally symbolizes purity, innocence, and high morality.

Examples Analysis
Daisy Buchanan is often depicted wearing white Represents the appearance of virtue and innocence surrounding Daisy, masking her true immoral nature
The windows at the Buchanan estate are billowing white curtains Conveys a sense of purity and elegance, contrasting with the moral corruption within
The “white palace” in Nick’s vision at the end of the novel Suggests a return to innocence after corruption is exposed and things decay

Through repeated associations with white, Fitzgerald portrays the superficial morality and virtue held by Daisy and the educated elite to mask their decadence and moral decay.


In The Great Gatsby, yellow symbolizes moral corruption, deception, and immorality.

Examples Analysis
Gatsby’s car is yellow Represents the morally compromised methods Gatsby uses to gain wealth through organized crime and bootlegging
The yellow spectacles of Dr. Eckleburg Suggests the watchful, judging eyes condemning the immorality and lack of ethics in 1920s society
Daisy’s yellow dress when Gatsby reunites with her Indicates Daisy’s moral corruption in cheating on her husband and leading Gatsby on

Yellow is tied to deception, betrayal, and scorn of conventional ethics in pursuit of wealth and pleasure. Through yellow as a symbol, Fitzgerald criticizes the loss of values in 1920s American society.


Blue represents ideals, dreams, and fantasies in The Great Gatsby. Gatsby associates it with Daisy’s allure and hold on him.

Examples Analysis
Blue gardens at Gatsby’s parties Highlights Gatsby’s grandiose view of events as lavish spectacles
The blue lawn and water separating Gatsby from Daisy’s green dock light Suggests the dreamlike, fantastical distance between Gatsby and his idealized Daisy
The “blue and gigantic eyes” of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Represents the mystical, larger-than-life abstraction that Daisy comes to embody for Gatsby

Through blue symbolism, Fitzgerald conveys Gatsby’s tendency to idealize and romanticize his view of Daisy and their potential relationship.


In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses colors as symbols to represent underlying themes and character motivations. Green symbolizes Gatsby’s ambitious hopes and dreams. White suggests innocence and morality on the surface masking immorality and corruption. Yellow represents the moral decay of society. Blue embodies Gatsby’s fantastical ideals and imagination. Analyzing the symbolism of colors in The Great Gatsby provides meaningful insight into the central ideas and character development in the novel. Looking at the deeper meaning behind Fitzgerald’s color symbolism is an effective approach for analyzing The Great Gatsby in a literature essay.