The Great Gatsby Themes, Motifs & Symbols

The Great Gatsby Themes

The Decline of the American Dream in the 1920s

On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a tale of the turned away really like between a man and a woman. The significant style of the novel, however, features a larger, less enchanting opportunity. Though all of its action arises over a simple few months during summer time months season duration of 1922 and is set in a circumscribed regional area in the location of Long Island, New York, The Great Gatsby is a highly outstanding relaxation on Twenties The United States as a whole, in particular the disintegration of the Nationwide dream in an era of unrivaled success and material excess.

Through The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald shows the Twenties as an era of corroded public and significant principles, confirmed in its overarching cynicism, avarice, and clear search of satisfaction. The reckless jubilant that led to self-indulgent events and outrageous jazz music—epitomized in The Great Gatsby by the luxurious events that Gatsby punches every Saturday night—resulted eventually in the data file corruption error of the nationwide dream, as the unrestrained wish for cash and satisfaction surpass more respectable goals. When World War I ended to 1918, the technology of young Individuals who had conducted the war became extremely frustrated; as the intense carnage that they had just experienced created the Victorian social values of early twentieth century The United States seem like rigid, clear hypocrisy. The mind-blowing increase of the currency markets in the consequences of the war led to a rapid, continual increase in the national huge selection and an increased materialism, as people started to spend and eat at unrivaled levels. A person from any public qualifications could, possibly, make a bundle, but the nationwide aristocracy—families with old wealth—scorned the recently vibrant industrialists and investors. In addition, the statement of the 18th Amendment in 1919, which suspended the sale of alcohol, designed a blooming underworld designed to fulfill the large demand for bootleg spirits among vibrant and inadequate as well.

Fitzgerald opportunities people of The Great Gatsby as designs of these public styles. Nick and Gatsby, both of whom conducted in World War I, display the increased cosmopolitanism and cynicism that head from the war. The various public climbers and serious investors who go to Gatsby’s events proof the money struggle for huge selection. The battle between “old money” and “new money” exhibits itself in the novel’s outstanding geography: East Egg signifies the established nobility, West Egg the self-made vibrant. Meyer Wolfshiem and Gatsby’s bundle show the increase of structured criminal activity and bootlegging.

In The Great Gatsby, as Fitzgerald saw it (and as Nick describes in chapter 9), the American dream was initially about development, personal picture, and the search of pleasure. In the Twenties represented in the novel, however, fast cash and comfortable public principles have damaged this dream, especially on the East Coast. The significant plotline of the novel shows this evaluation, as Gatsby’s desire nurturing Daisy is damaged by the difference in their specific public statuses, his relying on criminal activity to make enough cash to enlighten her, and the widespread materialism that characterizes her way of life. In addition, locations and items in The Great Gatsby have indicating only because people generate them with meaning: the eyes of Physician T. J. Eckleburg best model this idea. In Nick’s ideas, the ability to make significant signs is really a central part of the American dream, as beginning Individuals put in their new country with their own beliefs and principles.

Nick measures up the natural volume of The United States growing from the beach to the natural lamination at the end of Daisy’s connect. Just as Individuals have given The United States indicating through their ambitions for their own life, Gatsby instills Daisy with a kind of idealized efficiency that she neither should get nor offers. Gatsby’s dream is damaged by the unworthiness of its item, just as the American dream in the Twenties is damaged by the unworthiness of its object—money and satisfaction. Like Twenties Many people, fruitlessly searching for a past era in which their ambitions had value, Gatsby wants to re-create a faded past—his period in Louisville with Daisy—but is not capable of doing so. When his dream crumbles, all that is left for Gatsby to do is dying; all Nick can do is switch back to Minnesota, where American principles have not corroded.

The Hollowness of the Higher Class

One of the significant issues elaborate in The Great Gatsby is the sociology of huge selection, specifically, how the recently produced riches of the Twenties change from and connect with the old nobility of the nation’s wealthiest family members and how they different. In the novel, West Egg and its denizens characterize the recently vibrant, while China Egg and its denizens, especially Daisy and Tom, characterize the old nobility. Fitzgerald shows the recently vibrant as being vulgar, showy, over the top, and missing in public graces and flavor. Gatsby, such as, life in a monstrously elaborate house, would wear a pink suit, driving a Rolls-Royce, and does not pick up on simple public indicators, such as the insincerity of the Sloanes’ invite to meal. In comparison, the old nobility offers elegance, flavor, seductively, and magnificence, epitomized by the Buchanans’ classy home and the streaming white outfits of Daisy and Jordan Baker.

What the old nobility offers in flavor, however, it seems to absence in center, as the East Eggers confirm themselves reckless, thoughtless bullies who are so used to money’s capability to ease their brains that they never worry about hurting others. The Buchanans model this label when, at the end of the novel, they basically switch to a new house far away than condescend to go to Gatsby’s funeral. Gatsby, however, whose recent huge wealth takes from criminal activity, has a trustworthy and devoted heart, staying outside Daisy’s window until four in the early morning in The Great Gatsby (Chapter 7) basically to make sure that Tom does not harm her. Surprisingly, Gatsby’s good attributes (loyalty and love) head to his loss of life, as he requires the responsibility for killing Myrtle and not allowing Daisy be tried, and the Buchanans’ bad attributes (fickleness and selfishness) allow them to drop themselves from the loss not only actually but emotionally.

The Great Gatsby Motifs


Throughout The Great Gatsby novel, locations and settings epitomize the various factors of the 1920s American world that Fitzgerald represents. East Egg signifies the old nobility, West Egg the recently vibrant, the valley of ashes the significant and public corrosion of The United States, and New York City area the uninhibited, amoral pursuit for cash and satisfaction. In addition, the East is attached to the significant corrosion and public cynicism of New York, while the West (including Midwestern and northern areas such as Minnesota) is attached to more traditional public principles and beliefs. Nick’s evaluation in Chapter 9 of the tale he has related shows his understanding to this dichotomy: though it is set in the East, the tale is really one of the West, as it informs how people initially from west of the Appalachians (as all the significant characters are) respond to the speed and style of life on the East Coast.


As in much of Shakespeare’s drama, the weather in The Great Gatsby unfailingly suits the psychological and narrative style of the tale. Gatsby and Daisy’s gathering starts among a serving water, demonstrating difficult and melancholy; their love for each other reawakened just as the sun starts to come out. Gatsby’s climactic conflict with Tom happens on the very hot day of summer time, under the warm sun (like the lethal experience between Mercutio and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet). Wilson murders Gatsby on the first day of fall, as Gatsby drifts in his share despite a palpable cool in the air—an outstanding significant attempt to stop some time to recover his relationship with Daisy to the way it was five years before, in 1917.

The Great Gatsby Symbols

The Green Light

In The Great Gatsby novel, Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg connect and hardly noticeable from Gatsby’s West Egg garden, the natural lamination (the green light) signifies Gatsby’s desires and ambitions for the future. Gatsby contacts it with Daisy, and in Chapter 1 he actually reaches toward it in the night as a helping light to head him to his goal. Because Gatsby’s pursuit for Daisy is commonly associated with the United States’ dream, the natural lamination (the green light) also signifies that more general ideal. In Chapter 9, Nick measures up the green light to how The United States, growing out of the ocean, must have looked to beginning residents of the new country.

The Valley of Ashes

In The Great Gatsby novel, First presented in Chapter 2, the valley of ashes between West Egg and New York involves long expand of desperate land designed by the disposal of business ashes. It signifies the significant and public corrosion that results from the uninhibited search of wealth, as the vibrant take pleasure in them with reverence for nothing but their own satisfaction. The valley of ashes also signifies the circumstances of the inadequate, like George Wilson, who live among the filthy ashes and lose their energy as a result.

The Eyes of Physician T. J. Eckleburg

Through The Great Gatsby, the eyes of Physician T. J. Eckleburg are a couple of removal, bespectacled eyes colored on an old advertising billboard over the area of ashes. They may characterize God gazing down upon and knowing American world as a significant wilderness, though the novel never makes this point clearly. Instead, throughout the novel, Fitzgerald indicates that signs only have indicating because people generate them with indicating. The network between the eyes of Physician T. J. Eckleburg and God prevails only in Wilson’s grief-stricken ideas. This insufficient definite relevance results in the disturbing characteristics of the image. Thus, the eyes also come to characterize the essential meaninglessness on the planet and the arbitrariness of the psychological process by which people spend items with indicating. Nick looks at these ideas in Chapter 8, when he thinks Gatsby’s conclusion as a frustrated consideration of the avoidance of signs and ambitions in The Great Gatsby novel.

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