Blue in The Great Gatsby
The color blue in The Great Gatsby can be interpreted to represent hope for the future. It represents a lost time, a pure color that is overly displayed, a pure color in the valley of ashes. "The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic...."
The blue of his eyes present a contrast to the dismal gray atmosphere of the Valley of Ashes; thus, symbolizing a higher world from which God looks down upon the scene. The color blue, in a sense, brings a window of hope into a land that is dead.
Blue also symbolizes the unhappy relationship of Tom and Daisy. The color blue has always been known to represent a melancholy disposition or situation. Because it is based on money instead of love, Tom and Daisy's relationship is undoubtedly blue.
Blue also represents fantasy and is a symbol of a different world. "In [Gatsby's] blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars." Gatsby’s blue gardens and house provide places where people can go to get away from reality. His parties are out of touch with the real world and in an era of dreams and illusions.
Gray in The Great Gatsby
The Valley of Ashes provides the scene for the majority of the use of the color gray in The Great Gatsby. Gray most prominently and obviously symbolizes the utter hopelessness that thrives within the Valley of Ashes.
Fitzgerald describes the Valley of Ashes as "...a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gradens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys...and ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud...." It is also noted that, "occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along...."
The people who reside in the Valley of Ashes are of the lowest class, from which there is no escape. The gray atmosphere surrounding them symbolizes the hopelessness of their destitute situations.
When the reader is introduced to George Wilson, a member of this poor class, it is noted that "an ashen dust veiled [Wilson's] suit and his pale hair...." Here, the use of gray ash allows readers to see that Wilson is a man with no fortune and no hope for the future. The ash, in a sense, suppresses him, leaving him with no chance for future betterment.
The color gray can also be interpreted a symbol of death. Fittingly, Myrtle Wilson's death occurs in the gray setting of the Valley of Ashes.
Gold, yellow, and silver in The Great Gatsby
Gold and yellow are colors that symbolism old wealth. The colors green and gold contrast in a significant way. In old times people used gold as a means for exchange, but as a national currency was established green money replaced the gold and gold no longer even backed the dollar. So, gold represents the old money and green represents the new.
In the same way, gold symbolizes Daisy and Tom’s old money and green symbolizes Gatsby’s new money. One might say that Gatsby is "green." To contrast this Tom is gold. In the same way that green and gold contrast so do Gatsby and Tom.
Jordan and Daisy are also represented by gold. "...Jordan’s slender golden arm resting in mine..." "...high in the white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl..."
The golden girl is, of course, Daisy. Gatsby wants to be rich with old money so he can win the affection of his true love, so he buys a yellow car. But it did not fool anyone, Gatsby did not have old wealth.
Green in The Great Gatsby
Green stands as the most prominent color Fitzgerald employs in The Great Gatsby.
Green is significantly associated with both the green light of Daisy's dock and the "green breast of the new world," which unites the hope and promise of Gatsby' s dream with that of America itself. The color green is traditionally associated with spring, hope, and youth. Throughout the novel, green has many possible interpretations, but its use to explain Gatsby’s character is probably the most meaningful in the story.
One possible meaning of the color green is envy. Gatsby can be seen as an envious, jealous character. He once had the love of his life, Daisy, but now she is married to another man. He spends all of his time and effort in an attempt to win back Daisy. He is also envious of many of the wealthy people around his home. He throws huge parties and extravagant get-togethers so he can relate with the wealthy. This leads one to believe that Gatsby is indeed "green with envy."
It is also probable that Fitzgerald uses green to symbolize money and its power in society. Money rules the lives of the people in the story. Gatsby needs money to live the life that he does. Gatsby also feels he needs the money to get back together with Daisy. Gatsby has a large green lawn and green ivy going up his house. Inside Gatsby’s car, the passengers sit "in a sort of green leather conservatory." Later, Mr. Michaelis describes this "death car" as "light green." All of these things represent the riches, as well as the importance of money in Gatsby’s life.
The color green can both symbolize envy and money; however, the most reasonable meaning would have to be one of future hope, especially in Gatsby’s case. The use of a green light at the end of a landing stage to signal a romantic reunion is intriguingly similar to the green light at the end of Daisy's Buchanan’s dock, which becomes key image in The Great Gatsby. The initial appearance of the green light occurs when Nick sees Gatsby for the first time, standing in front of his mansion and stretching out his arms to "...a single green light, minute and far away that might have been the end of dock." The light becomes, for Gatsby, the symbol of a reunion with Daisy.
This is a wonderful and appropriate symbol of Gatsby’s life. Gatsby is living alone in a world of "darkness," trying to seize one small thing to bring him happiness. His life has had many shortcomings and many troubles through his younger years. He finally receives some breaks and is able make a name for himself. The longing in his heart is to have Daisy, but more importantly to have a new hope in his life. He has always kept the idea in his heart that he could be reunited with Daisy. Gatsby is striving to find a better world in the green light. Gatsby gets unbearably close to his dream, yet in all of his efforts, he comes up short in grasping the better life that he wanted. He hopes for the "green breast of the new world," the people's idea that tomorrow will bring a better day. This idea seems justifiable, yet it is far away from coming true.
"the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic" (23)
"in [Gatsby's] blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths" (39)
"I liked that man-what was his name? With the sort of blue nose" (106)
"the blue cool limit of the sky" (118)
"it's a blue car, a coupé" (142)
"ghostly birds began to sing among the blue leaves" (152)
"he had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it" (182)
"turkeys bewitched to a dark gold" (40)
"the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music" (40)
"two girls in twin yellow dresses" (42)
"Jordan's slender golden arm" (43)
"It was a rich cream color" (64)
"I put my arm around Jordan's slender golden shoulder" (81)
"Gatsby in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie hurried in" (84)
"the pale gold odor of Kiss-me-at-the-gate" (92)
"a toilet set of pure dull gold" (92)
"there was a pink and golden billow of foamy clouds" (95)
"here's my little gold pencil" (107)
"Did mother get powder on you old yellowy hair?" (117)
"lit only by a yellow light in a swinging wire basket overhead" (139)
"It was a yellow car...big yellow car. New."(141)
"a hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers" (151)
"where a yellow trolley raced them for a minute" (153)
"the chauffeur asked him if he needed help, but he shook his head and in a moment disappeared among the yellowing trees" (161-162)
"Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses" (115)
"a product of the Nevada silver fields" (100)
"Daisy gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor" (150)
"I glanced seaward-and saw nothing except a single green light" (21-22)
"Now it was again a green light on a dock" (94)
"Or present a green card. I'm giving out green" (105)
"On the green sound" (118)
"He felt the hot, green leather of the seat" (121)
"In the sunlight his face was green" (123)
"he told the policeman that it was a light green" (138)
"as if a divot from a green golf-links had come sailing in at the office window" (155)
"the long green tickets clasped tight over gloved hands" (176)
"green breast of a new world" (182)
"Gatsby believed in the green light" (182)