Decoding the Symbolic Meaning: What Does the Color Blue Symbolize in The Great Gatsby?

The roaring 20s were a time of jazz music, lavish parties, and a newfound sense of liberation. It was an era that was steeped in luxurious excess and whimsical romance. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel, The Great Gatsby, captures the essence of this era flawlessly. The book is a masterclass in symbolism, with each color, action, and character representing a deeper meaning. In this article, we will be exploring the symbolism of the color blue in The Great Gatsby and what it represented to the characters and the story.

The color blue is a prominent motif throughout The Great Gatsby. It is first mentioned in the description of Jay Gatsby’s extravagant mansion, which was painted “a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns.” The only exception to this cream color was the blue lawn that surrounded the house. This blue lawn was a representation of Gatsby’s longing for his lost love, Daisy Buchanan.

Blue color is often associated with emotions such as sadness, calmness and tranquility, and it is no different in The Great Gatsby. The blue color is then connected to the character of Daisy, who is often seen wearing blue dresses, driving a blue car, and even her home in East Egg is described as a “frosted wedding cake of a house.” The color blue symbolizes how Daisy appears to be pure and innocent on the surface, but beneath that facade lies a deeper, sadder truth. In The Great Gatsby, blue ultimately symbolizes the illusions and dreams that the characters are chasing after, with no regard for the reality of their lives.

The symbolism of the color blue in literature

The use of color symbolism in literature is a popular technique to add depth and meaning to the text. One of the most common colors used as a literary device is blue. The color blue is often used in literature to represent many different things, depending on the context and the author’s intended message.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the color blue is used to represent a variety of meanings. Here are some of the ways that the color blue is used symbolically in Fitzgerald’s masterpiece:

  • Despair and hopelessness: Blue is often used to represent sadness and hopelessness. For example, Jay Gatsby’s mansion is described as having “blue gardens” and a “blue lawn” which shows that despite the grandeur of the mansion and the parties that are held there, it is still a place of sadness and emptiness.
  • Illusion and deceit: Blue is also used to represent illusion and deceit. Gatsby is known for his extravagant displays of wealth, but it is all an illusion. His money is obtained through illegal means, and his elaborate parties are just a front for his true intentions – to win back his lost love, Daisy Buchanan.
  • The American Dream: Blue is also used to represent the elusive American Dream. Gatsby’s dream of winning back Daisy and becoming part of the wealthy, upper-class society of Long Island is represented by the green light on Daisy’s dock, which is described as being “minute and far away… like the stars”. However, the American Dream is ultimately unattainable, and Gatsby’s pursuit of it leads to his downfall.

The Use of Color Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Writing

Color symbolism plays an important role in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary works, particularly in his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. One of the most significant colors and symbols in the novel is blue. Fitzgerald uses blue to represent various themes and ideas, from sadness and despair to the illusion of wealth and success.

  • Sadness and Despair: Blue is often associated with feelings of sadness and depression, and this is evident in the characterization of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby’s blue gardens and blue suits represent his longing for love and acceptance from Daisy Buchanan, the woman he loves. The blue light at the end of Daisy’s dock also represents Gatsby’s unattainable dream and his yearning for a better life.
  • The Illusion of Wealth and Success: In the novel, blue is also used as a symbol of false prosperity and the illusion of wealth. Gatsby’s extravagant parties, which are full of blue decorations, are an attempt to create a facade of wealth and success. However, his lavish lifestyle is built on illegal activities such as bootlegging, and it ultimately leads to his downfall.
  • The Jazz Age: Blue is also closely associated with the Jazz Age, the era of the 1920s characterized by a burst of creativity, freedom, and decadence. The novel’s characters often wear blue attire to reflect the spontaneity and carefree attitudes of the time.

Through the use of blue symbolism in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald exposes the underlying themes and motifs of his novel, from the fleeting nature of wealth and success to the emotional turmoil of his characters. The color blue is just one example of how symbolism can add depth and meaning to a literary work.

Overall, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of color symbolism in The Great Gatsby is a testament to his remarkable skill as a writer. His ability to convey complex emotions and ideas through simple yet powerful imagery demonstrates why he remains one of the most celebrated authors of the modern era.

References:

AuthorTitlePublication Year
Fitzgerald, F. ScottThe Great Gatsby1925
Lehan, RichardF. Scott Fitzgerald and the Craft of Fiction1966

The significance of blue in The Great Gatsby

Colors play an essential role in literature, particularly in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus ‘The Great Gatsby.’ One prominent color in the novel is blue. Blue is a color that symbolizes various things, including melancholy, sadness, and unresolved emotions. The color blue appears in different forms throughout the novel and plays a significant role in illustrating certain themes and ideas. Here are some of the ways blue is significant in ‘The Great Gatsby.’

  • Blue as a symbol of sadness: In the novel, blue is often used to depict sadness, melancholy, or a sense of loss. Gatsby stares at the blue lawn and feels sad, Myrtle’s husband wears blue when he realizes his wife is having an affair, and Nick notes that Gatsby’s car is “a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns,” but Tom Buchanan points out that it’s also yellow, the color of someone “who’s so horribly afraid of ‘recognized’ colored people.” Blue also represents Gatsby’s longing for Daisy, as the color is frequently associated with her and is present in her clothing.
  • Blue as a symbol of unfulfilled dreams: In ‘The Great Gatsby,’ blue is also a symbol of unfulfilled dreams. Gatsby associates blue with his aspirations of being with Daisy, and his blue suits signify the hopelessness of his desire. Despite Gatsby’s achievements and wealth, he still cannot obtain the woman he loves. Similarly, the color blue also illustrates the unattainable American Dream, something Jay Gatsby idealizes but can never truly achieve.
  • Blue as a symbol of illusion: Lastly, blue also represents an illusion in ‘The Great Gatsby.’ The color symbolizes the dreams, aspirations, and the idealistic views from which all the main characters suffer. They are all chasing the illusions of wealth, love, and satisfaction, represented by the color blue. However, the reality is far from blue. The dominant color in the novel is green, which stands for money, greed, and the corruption that lies beneath the surface.

Conclusion

Blue plays a crucial role in ‘The Great Gatsby,’ evoking different emotions and illustrating various themes. The color represents sadness, unfulfilled desires, and illusions in the novel, along with the underlying themes of greed and corruption. F. Scott Fitzgerald artfully uses colors to create a visual thematic structure throughout the book, making it a masterpiece of literature that still speaks to us today.

As readers, we see how colors in literature have a language of their own, and the color blue is just one of many that convey a character’s emotions or the author’s message. Undoubtedly, the mysteries of literature continue to fascinate us and keep us spellbound.

SymbolismColor
Sadness, melancholy, lossBlue
Money, greed, corruptionGreen
Death, decay, gatsby’s illusory questYellow
Love, passionRed

Fitzgerald adorns ‘The Great Gatsby’ with an artistic mastery that combines symbolism, plot, and character, elevating the novel to a literary work of art. His use of color and its symbolic meaning is just one element that makes this novel a masterpiece.

The association of blue with sadness and melancholy

In “The Great Gatsby,” the use of the color blue is a recurring motif that symbolizes a range of emotions from sadness to despair. The color is often used in descriptions of the characters, settings, and objects in the novel to create a mood and atmosphere of melancholy and sadness. Here are some of the ways in which the color blue is associated with sadness and melancholy in “The Great Gatsby”:

  • Gatsby’s longing for his lost love, Daisy, is often associated with the color blue. For example, in Chapter 1, Gatsby is described as standing alone on his lawn, “looking up at the sky as though he had said something inaudible and profound.” The sky is described as “keen and bright,” but also “blue and deserted.”
  • The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, a faded billboard in the Valley of Ashes, are also blue, and they are a symbol of the decay and hopelessness of the American Dream. The eyes are described as “blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high.”
  • The blue smoke from Gatsby’s parties is also a symbol of the emptiness and superficiality of the characters in the novel. The smoke is described as “blue and gold,” and it “curls and eddies up from a million chimneys, from innumerable parties.”

Overall, the color blue in “The Great Gatsby” represents the sadness, melancholy, and sense of longing that pervades the novel. Whether it is the blue of the sky, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, or the smoke from Gatsby’s parties, the color is a reminder that beneath the glittering surface of the Roaring Twenties, there is a deep sense of sadness and despair.

The use of blue to represent societal hierarchy and class distinction

The color blue is utilized throughout The Great Gatsby to depict societal hierarchy and class distinction. This symbolism is evident in both the descriptions of character attire and the decorations of luxurious settings.

In the novel, blue represents wealth and luxury; characters who wear blue are typically members of the elite upper class. For example, Daisy Buchanan is often described as wearing blue, and her home is decorated in shades of blue. This color choice reflects her high social status and lavish lifestyle.

  • Blue is also used to represent the old money class, as it is associated with tradition, conservatism, and stability. This is most evident in the character of Tom Buchanan, who wears blue suits throughout the novel.
  • In contrast, characters associated with new money, such as Gatsby, are often depicted wearing bright, flashy clothing, such as the pink suits he wears at his parties.
  • Furthermore, blue is used to highlight class differences between characters. For example, at Gatsby’s party, the orchestra is dressed in blue coats, while the wealthy guests are adorned in gold and silver. This emphasizes the distance between the working class and the upper class.

Additionally, blue represents a sense of longing and nostalgia. This is evident in Gatsby’s longing for his past with Daisy, as he constantly gazes longingly across the water towards her green light. This longing is symbolized with the blue, as he is yearning for a time that has passed.

Symbolism of BlueExamples in The Great Gatsby
Wealth and luxuryDaisy’s clothing and home decor
Old money classTom Buchanan’s suits
Class differencesOrchestra’s blue coats vs. wealthy guests’ gold and silver attire
Longing and nostalgiaGatsby’s gaze at the green light, represented by blue

In conclusion, the use of blue in The Great Gatsby symbolizes societal hierarchy and class distinction. It represents wealth and luxury as well as the differences between the old and new money classes. Blue also represents longing and nostalgia, particularly in Gatsby’s desire for his past. Fitzgerald’s use of color symbolism adds depth and meaning to the novel, highlighting the societal issues and class struggles that are prevalent throughout.

The Contrast Between Blue and Yellow in The Great Gatsby

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel, The Great Gatsby, colors play a significant role in revealing the emotions, desires, and societal values of the characters. One of the recurring colors is blue, and it serves as a symbol of different things throughout the book. However, the contrast between blue and yellow is particularly interesting as it represents the two different sides of the American dream and the contrasting personas of the main characters.

  • Blue: Blue represents the unfulfilled dreams and desires of the characters, particularly Jay Gatsby, who is known for his lavish parties and mysterious background. For Gatsby, blue represents his longing for Daisy and his desire to regain the innocence of the past. In contrast to his extravagant lifestyle, blue is a symbol of his emptiness and unfulfilled aspirations.
  • Yellow: Yellow represents the corrupt and materialistic values of the American dream and the characters who embody it, such as Tom and Daisy Buchanan. For them, yellow signifies the decadence and shallowness of their lives, which are filled with endless parties and material possessions. Yellow is also associated with greed and the desire for power, which are the driving forces behind their actions.

The contrast between blue and yellow is particularly evident in the climactic scene of the novel, where Gatsby confronts Tom in front of Daisy. Gatsby is dressed in a blue suit, while Tom is wearing a yellow one. This juxtaposition highlights the differences between the two characters and their ideologies. Gatsby’s blue suit represents his purity of heart and his belief in the possibility of achieving the American dream through hard work and determination. On the other hand, Tom’s yellow suit represents his corruption and his belief that wealth and power are the only means to achieve success.

In conclusion, the contrast between blue and yellow in The Great Gatsby serves as a powerful symbol of the conflicting values and desires of the characters and the society they inhabit. While blue represents the unfulfilled dreams and desires of the characters, yellow represents the corrupt and materialistic values of the American dream. The contrast between these two colors highlights the differences between the characters and their ideologies and serves as a reminder of the complex, multifaceted nature of the American dream.

The Connection Between Blue and the Character of Jay Gatsby

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, the color blue holds great significance when it comes to Jay Gatsby’s character. From his clothing to his mansion and even his persona, the color blue seems to follow Gatsby everywhere. There are several interpretations of what blue symbolizes in this context, but one of the most prominent ones is that it represents his longing for something he can’t have: Daisy Buchanan.

  • Blue Clothing: Throughout the novel, Gatsby is often described wearing various shades of blue clothing. For instance, at his first meeting with Nick Carraway, he was wearing a “light blue suit” (2.103), and at one of his parties, he was wearing a “turquoise-colored suit” (3.62). These descriptions of Gatsby’s clothing suggest that blue is a significant color for him, representing his boundless wealth and his desire for Daisy.
  • Blue Car: Gatsby’s car is also described as blue, and it represents his desire to maintain a facade of wealth and luxury. The car’s color signifies that Gatsby wants to impress others with his wealth, but it also highlights his loneliness and desperation.
  • The Blue Lawn: Gatsby’s mansion features a large blue lawn, which represents his emptiness and longing for something more meaningful. The lawn is a physical manifestation of his dissatisfaction and the void that exists within him.

Another important detail in the novel is the recurring motif of the number seven. Gatsby is often associated with this number, and it holds significant meaning when it comes to his relationship with Daisy.

The number seven appears in various forms throughout the novel:

OccurrencePage Number
Gatsby’s parties last 7 weeks4
The clock in Gatsby’s library reads 7:155
Daisy and Gatsby met in 1917, 7 years before the novel takes place78

The significance of the number seven lies in its connection to James Gatz’s transformation into Jay Gatsby. Before he became wealthy, Gatsby worked on a boat that was owned by a millionaire named Dan Cody. Cody taught Gatsby the ways of the wealthy, and Gatsby was determined to become one of them. He set a goal of making his first one million dollars by the time he turned thirty, and he achieved this goal at the age of twenty-seven. From this moment on, Gatsby was a changed man, and he dedicated his life to winning Daisy’s heart.

The number seven represents Gatsby’s transformation and his determination to win Daisy. The fact that Daisy and Gatsby met 7 years before the novel takes place shows how long Gatsby has been pursuing her. Additionally, the clock in Gatsby’s library reads 7:15, which represents the pivotal moment when Gatsby and Daisy reunite. This moment marks the climax of the novel and the culmination of Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy.

In conclusion, the color blue holds great significance in The Great Gatsby, and its connection to Jay Gatsby’s character is clear. Whether it represents his desire for Daisy or his facade of wealth and luxury, the color blue serves as a motif throughout the novel. Similarly, the recurrence of the number seven symbolizes Gatsby’s transformation and his drive to win Daisy’s heart.

The Role of Clothing in Representing the Color Blue in the Novel

In The Great Gatsby, the color blue is most often associated with the character Jay Gatsby and his unattainable love interest, Daisy Buchanan. Throughout the novel, various instances of blue clothing are used to symbolize Gatsby’s love for Daisy, his longing for her, and the distance between them.

  • Gatsby’s suits: Gatsby is often described as wearing a “silver shirt” and a “gold-colored tie” with his blue suits. The combination of gold and silver may represent Gatsby’s pursuit of wealth and luxury, but the blue suit also symbolizes his desire to impress and win over Daisy.
  • Daisy’s dress: When Gatsby and Daisy reunite in chapter five, she is wearing a blue dress that emphasizes her emotional state. Blue is often associated with sadness, and in this case, it represents Daisy’s unhappiness in her marriage to Tom Buchanan. It also highlights her connection to Gatsby, as he is the only person who knows the true depth of her feelings.
  • Tom’s car: While not clothing, Tom’s blue car is an important symbol in the novel as well. The car is described as a “big blue car” and is responsible for Myrtle Wilson’s death. The blue color of the car emphasizes the detachment and indifference of the upper class towards those beneath them.

In addition to clothing, the color blue is also associated with water, which is present in the novel in the form of the Long Island Sound and the pool at Gatsby’s mansion. The idea of water adds to the theme of distance and longing, as water is something that cannot be easily crossed. In this way, the color blue comes to represent Gatsby’s ultimate goal: to cross the water that separates him from Daisy.

In conclusion, the color blue plays a significant role in The Great Gatsby, particularly in the clothing worn by the characters. The associations with wealth, luxury, and sadness contribute to the overall themes of the novel, and the repeated use of blue creates a sense of longing and unattainability.

SymbolismDescription
Blue clothingRepresents Gatsby’s love for Daisy, his longing for her, and the distance between them
Gold and silver accentsRepresent Gatsby’s pursuit of wealth and luxury
Blue carRepresents detachment and indifference of the upper class towards those beneath them
WaterAdds to the theme of distance and longing

Overall, the color blue in The Great Gatsby represents the unattainable, whether it be love or wealth. It highlights the division of social classes and the gap between the dreams and realities of the characters.

The use of blue in the novel’s setting and scenery descriptions

In The Great Gatsby, blue symbolizes illusions and unfulfilled dreams. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the color blue to create a sense of distance between Jay Gatsby and his expectations, ultimately leading to his downfall. The use of blue in the novel’s setting and scenery descriptions adds a layer of symbolism and reflects the characters’ inner turmoil.

  • Blue represents the unattainable. In the novel, Gatsby associates the color blue with Daisy, his unrequited love. Blue is used to describe Daisy’s eyes, which Gatsby sees as distant and unreachable.
  • Blue creates a sense of detachment. Throughout the book, blue is used to describe objects and places that are untouchable, such as the distant lights across the bay on Daisy’s dock or the blue notebook that Gatsby uses to record his dreams and aspirations.
  • Blue represents the illusion of the American Dream. Gatsby’s mansion is described as a “blue lawn,” a seeming oasis of luxury and unrealized potential. However, the vivid blue in the setting reflects the illusory quality of Gatsby’s dreams and aspirations that ultimately fails to materialize.

Additionally, the use of blue in the novel’s setting and scenery descriptions further underscores the theme of social class and the divide between the rich and poor. Blue is associated with the wealthy characters, such as Tom and Daisy Buchanan, whose luxurious world is inaccessible to those on the lower rungs of the social ladder.

Overall, the color blue serves as a poignant symbol in The Great Gatsby, representing the unattainable, illusions, and social stratification that characterizes the decadent Roaring Twenties society. Through selective use of blue in the novel’s setting and scenery descriptions, Fitzgerald highlights the ultimate futility and emptiness of Gatsby’s dreams and aspirations.

The Contrast Between Blue and Red as Symbolic Colors in The Great Gatsby

The use of color in The Great Gatsby is not limited to describing the lavish parties held by Jay Gatsby. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald also masterfully uses colors to symbolize deeper meanings throughout the novel. Blue and red are two colors that occur frequently and carry significant symbolic weight.

  • Blue is a recurring color in The Great Gatsby, and it often represents a sense of tranquility or calmness. One of the most significant examples of this is the blue lawn of Gatsby’s grand mansion. The blue represents the peace that Gatsby is trying to create for himself, away from his tumultuous past.
  • On the other hand, red is a color that is often associated with passion or danger. In fact, red is used to represent the reckless and destructive love between Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson. It’s significant that the color of their apartment is also red, creating a certain sense of foreboding each time the characters enter their space.
  • The contrast between blue and red is perhaps most apparent during one of the novel’s most climactic scenes. When Gatsby and Tom have their final confrontation, it takes place in a hotel room that is described as having blue curtains and a red rug. This juxtaposition highlights the contrasting emotions and intentions of the two characters. Gatsby, surrounded by blue, signifies his desire for peace and resolution, whereas Tom, surrounded by red, represents his passionate and destructive tendencies.

It is essential to note that the significance of color is not limited to blue and red. Throughout The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses a variety of colors to symbolize different themes and motifs, from the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock to the yellow of Gatsby’s car. However, the contrast between blue and red serves as a particularly compelling example of how Fitzgerald uses color in the novel to convey deeper meaning.

ColorSymbolism
BlueCalmness, peace, tranquility
RedPassion, danger, destruction
YellowMoney, wealth, corruption
GreenHope, dreams, the future

The use of color as symbolism in The Great Gatsby is a testament to Fitzgerald’s masterful writing style. He seamlessly weaves together themes and motifs, including color, to create a rich and complex portrayal of the American Dream and its failures. Colors like blue and red serve as powerful tools for conveying emotion and meaning, adding depth to an already thought-provoking novel.

FAQs: What Does the Color Blue Symbolize in The Great Gatsby?

1. What is the significance of the blue gardens in The Great Gatsby?
The blue gardens in Gatsby’s mansion symbolize his hope to win back Daisy’s love. The color blue represents his longing and desire for her.

2. What do the blue eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg signify?
The blue eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg symbolize the loss of morality and spiritual emptiness in the society of the roaring twenties.

3. How does the blue color symbolize Jay Gatsby?
Blue is the color of hope and dreams, which is why it represents Jay Gatsby who always looks at the future with hope and optimism.

4. What does the blue dress symbolize, worn by Daisy in Chapter One?
The blue dress worn by Daisy in Chapter One symbolizes her innocence, purity, and her status as a member of the American aristocracy.

5. What does the blue smoke symbolize in the novel?
The blue smoke symbolizes the elusive and ephemeral nature of success and happiness, which Gatsby and his guests try to achieve.

6. What is the interpretation of the blue seawater surrounding Daisy and Tom’s house?
The blue seawater surrounding Daisy and Tom’s house symbolizes their wealth and prosperity, but also their superficiality and lack of real emotions.

7. How does the blue color symbolize the theme of illusion and reality in the novel?
Blue is the color of deception, as it can be both real and fake. This reflects the theme of illusion and reality in the novel, where characters create a facade to conceal their true intentions and desires.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article has helped you understand the various symbolisms of the color blue in The Great Gatsby. The blue color connects many themes and characters in the novel, creating a powerful and rich literary experience. Please visit us again for more interesting insights on classic literature!