Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

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People often use symbols to express their feelings and beliefs. A white flag signals a surrender, a rainbow symbolizes gay pride, and a pink ribbon represents the hope and love that exists in the community of people with breast cancer. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents a novel with complex symbolism. He uses several symbols in this way throughout it to portray his message, through the use of symbols, that the wealthy and dramatic lifestyle of the 1920s that his characters live is not as pleasing as The American Dream makes it out to be. Gatsby uses one of his characters Daisy Buchanon, whose name suggests the flower to symbolize money’s ability to corrupt people. At the beginning of the novel, Daisy is portrayed as a gentle and innocent women. When Nick first meets her, he describes her as “sad and lovely”, with “bright eyes and a bright, passionate smile” (Fitzgerald 9). But throughout the story, her husband Tom, who is rich and arrogant, treats her like a lot of women were treated in this time period: like she is not very important. He cheats on her, and when she finds out, it seems he could not care less. But Daisy cannot even leave him because she is too scared, and has no one to run to. Through Daisy’s situation, Fitzgerald is expressing that even when people are treated horribly, they still rely on wealth and high status. Even in society today, we see people deteriorating because of their goals to meet society’s standards. The neglect from her husband causes Daisy to wilt, much like the flower if it were treated harshly. By the end of the novel, Tom’s careless behavior drives her to kill Myrtle, Tom’s mistress. Gatsby, who was in the car with her even “tried to make her stop, but she couldn’t” (145). Obviously Daisy, being a competent driver, could have kept herself from swerving into Myrtle and killing her. Fitzgerald is showing his

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