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Great Gatsby 2


F. Scott Fitzgerald is an author who is distinguished for his use of
symbolism in his literature, like in the novel The Great Gatsby. He
uses the image of Doctor T. J. Eckelburg's eyes to symbolize a godlike
being. Fitzgerald uses the symbol of the two women in yellow at
Gatsby's party to represent the values of the 1920's. The food provided
at Gatsby's party symbolically represents the members of 1920's
society. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses Symbolism in the novel The Great
Gatsby as an accurate reflection of life in the American 1920's. In
The Great Gatsby the symbol of T. J. Eckelburg's eyes represent a godly
being watching over society. Fitzgerald incorporates the eyes into his
novel to represent a pair of all seeing, all knowing and judging eyes,
which are meant to intimidate. The character of George Wilson believes
that the eyes are the eyes of God.
 "I spoke to her," he muttered, after a long silence. "I told
 her she might fool me but she couldn't fool God. I took her to
the window- " With an effort he got up and walked to the rear window
and leaned his face pressed against it, "-and I said 'God knows what
you've been doing, everything you've been doing. You may fool me but
you can't fool God!' " Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock
that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had
just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night. "God sees
everything," repeated Wilson. (p.167) Through Wilson's beliefs
Fitzgerald explains that the eyes can see everything including Myrtle's
infidelities. Myrtle is a typical person of the 1920's. She has put her
own life and interests ahead of everyone else's including her
husband's. The eyes of God are frowning down on the 1920's society.
 But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which
drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of
Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and
gigantic-their retinas are one yard high. The look out of no face but,
instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a
non-existent nose...his eyes, dimmed a little by many painless days
under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.(p.27-28)
Through Fitzgerald's wording in describing the image of Eckleburg's
eyes the reader develops a mental image of an omnipotent being who is
constantly watching over the land. The reader discerns that the eyes
not only see everything but that they eyes are morbidly unhappy. The
use of the word 'brood' suggests that whatever the eyes are seeing has
made their owner disappointed. This is Fitzgerald's way of indicating
that the people of the 1920's are disgraceful and undignified because
of their selfishness. People of the 1920's spent large sums of money on
themselves, and they would attend parties where they didn't know the
host. This type of behaviour is why the 1920's are known as a decadent
era. The eyes not only symbolize a god-like being but also Fitzgerald
himself and his negative views of 1920's society. Fitzgerald's negative
views of society are also portrayed through his depiction of certain
guests at Gatsby's parties.
 The symbol of the two women dressed identically in yellow at
 Gatsby's party depict the values of the people of the 20's. The
 two women in yellow meet Jordan and Nick at one of Gatsby's
 party and are entirely self involved.
 "Do you come to these parties often?" inquired Jordan
the girl beside her.
 "The last one was the one I met you at," answered the
in an alert, confident voice. She turned to her companion: "Wasn't it
for you Lucille?" It was for Lucille too. "I like to come," Lucille
said "I never care what I do, so I always have a good time. When I was
here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and
address- inside of a week I got a package from Croirier's with a new
evening gown in it."(p.47)
 Lucille admits that her general attitude toward life is that she
 doesn't care what she does as long as she has a good time. Her entire
 motivation in her life is to enjoy herself. When all she was asked
 was if she came to the parties often she also felt the need to inform
 the rest of the guests of her trivial anecdote. The reason that these
women are indicative of the generation is because of their
self-absorbed character and their egotistical nature.
 "Gatsby. Somebody told me-" The two girls and Jordan
 leaned together confidentially. "Somebody told me they
 thought he killed a man once." A thrill passed over all
 of us. The three Mr. Mumbles bent
forward and listened eagerly.
 "I don't think it's so much that," argued Lucille
sceptically; "It's more that he was a German spy during the war." One
of the men nodded in confirmation. "Oh know it couldn't be that
because he was in the American army during the war."(p.48) The two
women are spreading vicious rumours about their host purely for the
sake of attention. They are so egotistical that they are willing to
tarnish the reputation of the man who has invited them into his house,
simply on the basis that they want to be the centre of everyone's
attention. In Fitzgerald's opinion, people of the 20's were mainly made
up of this type of person.
 The symbols of the food served at Gatsby's party represent and
 personify the people of the 20's. Gatsby's house frequently
 receives crates of oranges which demonstrates the wasteful
 character of people in the 1920's.
 Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived
from a fruiterer in New York-every Monday these same oranges and lemons
left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves.(p.45) This
incredible wastefulness is representative of people who lived in the
1920's. They were wasteful to the extreme because they assumed that
they deserved to be wasteful and carefree. After so many years of being
unhappy from, among other things, World War I. During the war, they
were forced to ration everything, so the twenties was the time to gain
back their selfishness. Their personalities are also symbolised by the
colossal food buffet served at the party.
 On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors
spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and
pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold.(p.44) These symbols
all personify the people of the 20's. The people garnished themselves
in glistening jewels and clothing just to impress the people that they
met. They are all spiced implying that they have made themselves into
something that they are not by spicing up their lives with fancy
clothing and costumes which hide who they really are. They design
themselves as they think they will be most accepted, and are bewitched
by the brightness and glow of popularity and richness. People of the
twenties wore costumes and this is part of what Fitzgerald is trying to
 In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the literary
 technique of symbolism to reflect what life in the 1920's was
 like, through Fitzgerald's eyes. The image of Doctor T. J.
 Eckelburg's eyes is used to signify a disappointed godlike
 being. Fitzgerald uses the the two women in yellow at Gatsby's
 party to as a symbol to represent the values of people in the
 20's. The food provided at Gatsby's party is symbolic of
 people who lived in the 20's. Through Fitzgerald's use of
 symbolism to describe the costumed characters of the 20's the
 reader can learn to constantly, and consistently examine the
 people that they surround themselves with. The novel also
 teaches the lesson of being true to one's self, since true
 closure may only come one honesty is achieved. Fitzgerald is
 not only a consequential author but an effective moral adviser
 as well.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Macmillan Publishing Company. New York. 


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