Colours are said to be significant to many individuals as they not only symbolize emotion, but also hold different meanings in various religions and cultures. In literature, an author uses symbols to express conceptual ideas to its readers so that they may have a clearer and more in-depth understanding of what the author is trying to portray. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald includes a use of colour symbolism to connect the certain colours with certain objects and ties them with certain characters.
The burning light, which connects with the colour green, plays a very significant part in the novel as it represents hope and dreams.
As well, the colour yellow plays an important part as it exemplifies money and materialism. Lastly, the colour blue symbolizes loneliness and fantasy as well. In the novel, the use of colour symbolism not only sets the atmosphere of incoming events, but it is implied to present the nature, actions, and attitude of specific characters in the novel, such as Jay Gatsby. The colours green, yellow, and blue are important symbols that accompanies Gatsby and his life in the novel.
Throughout the novel, the colour green is shown as the burning green light, which relates to Gatsby and his lifelong dream, Daisy. The green light is first shown at the end of the first chapter where Nick sees a figure, who appears to be Gatsby, stretching his arms into the night and reaching towards nothing but the burning green light on Daisy’s dock. In the past, Gatsby and Daisy dates but breaks up when Gatsby goes for war. Gatsby believes that the reason they split, and Daisy marries Tom is because Gatsby was poor at that time. In his mind, he believes that the way to win Daisy’s heart back is if he can earn money and become rich.
As he reaches out for the light, he holds with hope that his dream will come true, even if the light is far away. But at the same time, as the light is far away, it foreshadows that Gatsby’s dream will eventually fail. The burning green light occurs once again, but in the middle of the novel where Gatsby and Daisy have finally met for the first time in almost five years. Gatsby shows his fortune to Daisy, subtly showing how he spends his fortune on these luxurious items just for her and mentions how she “always [has] a green light that burns at the end of [her] dock” ( ). As he is now so close to his dream, the green light also symbolizes the difference between a dream and the reality. Gatsby’s dream is Daisy, but he thinks that Daisy is the same girl that she was almost five years ago. Gatsby is stuck dreaming about an older version of Daisy that he is lost and cannot see the reality and who Daisy is now. The burning green light appears once more at the end of the novel after Gatsby’s death.
In Nick’s perspective, the green light now focuses on how human beings struggle to achieve their goals and aspirations. This characterizes Gatsby as he “believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther […] So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” ( ). As Gatsby achieves his goals to reach to his dream, he also had the mindset that he can “rewrite the past” ( ) which he then struggles to transform his dream into reality. Gatsby never loses hope in his dream, but he put all his time and energy into pursuing something that moves further away from his grasp. As the colour green