The dream to come true.Symbolically, the car
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel based onsymbolism. Symbols throughout the novel aid in the development of all thecharacters, in particular Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Three major symbolsassist in those characters’ development: the car symbolizes wealth, powerof the upper class, and chasing dreams; the consumption of alcoholsymbolizes revealing the truth; and New York City represents freedom to dowhat one pleases, not bound by the views of East or West Egg.
Thedevelopment of the characters Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan is shaped bythese symbols throughout the novel.Cars – the symbol of wealth, power and dreams – appear almosteverywhere in the novel and show a lot about the owner’s character. Gatsbyowns “a rich cream colour” (Fitzgerald, 63) Rolls Royce with green leather.This expensive car shows that Gatsby’s life is heavily based onmaterialism which he believes is necessary for his dream to come true.Symbolically, the car represents Gatsby’s dream of being with Daisy. Thegolden colour symbolizes the wealth he had attained to win her and thegreen colour symbolizes the hope he has for her. The fact that Gatsbyprefers to drive his own car everywhere, rather than being chauffeured asother upper class people do, shows his trait of being able to take hold ofhis dreams and make them come true.
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Tom promises George Wilson a car, anduses that promise to control him. Tom uses his power and wealth that thecar represents to dominate over Wilson who is in desperate need of it.Whenever Wilson says something that displeases Tom, Tom threatens to notgive him the car:The way Tom uses cars shows his character: a domineering person who useshis wealth and power to control others. Cars as symbols play an importantrole in developing character of Gatsby and Tom.The consumption of alcohol symbolizes releasing the truth, whichshows the character of the person that drinks it.
Gatsby “formed the habitof letting liquor alone” (97), after he set up his fake identity to pursuehis dream. At his parties he “was not drinking” (51), but provided freealcohol for all of his guests. The only time Gatsby takes a drink is at arestaurant with Meyer Wolfshiem, his link to the underworld andbootlegging: “Highballs asks the waiter…
Yes, Highballs,’ agreed Gatsby”(68). He does not drink at his parties because he wants to hide his pastfrom all his guests. Gatsby’s morally corrupt character is revealed whenhe drinks around Wolfshiem. Whenever Tom consumes alcohol it shows hisdomineering nature:Tom “brought out a bottle of whisky from a locked a bureau door” (31) whileat the apartment that he shares with his mistress.
At the apartment Tomhad a couple of drinks since a “bottle of whisky – a second one – was nowin constant demand by all present” (37). After the drinks, Tom’s violentcharacter is exposed, when, with “a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan brokeher (Myrtle’s) nose with his open hand” (39). The consumption of alcoholreveals many traits and assists in developing the character of Gatsby andTom.New York City symbolizes freedom from the views of the East and WestEggers. For Gatsby and Tom it provides the perfect place to do anythingthey want ambiguously – what they use New York for shows their character.Gatsby meets his “friend Mr Wolfshiem” (68) at a restaurant in New York,”the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919″ (71) as Gatsby claims.
Gatsby uses New York as a place to do his shady business of bootleggingalcohol, which he wants to hide from the East and West Eggers. This bringsout the truth behind Gatsby’s character which he does not want East andWest Eggers to find out: that he earned his money through criminalactivity. Tom uses New York to have his affair with Myrtle Wilson. Hedoes not want East Eggers or West Eggers to know about the affair becauseof what they will think of him. When Tom, Nick and Myrtle travelled to NewYork via train, “Mrs.
Wilson sat discreetly in another car” (29) becauseTom was afraid of “the sensibilities of those East Eggers who might be onthe train” (29). New York reveals that Tom is unfaithful to his wife, buthe hides the affair and continues with his marriage because the East andWest Eggers will think less of him if they found out. The symbol New YorkCity adds to the character development of Gatsby and Tom significantly atmany points in the novel.The Great Gatsby employs many symbols to develop the character of JayGatsby and Tom Buchanan throughout the novel.
The use of symbols, ratherthan having long descriptions, makes the novel more interesting to thereader. They develop characters more thoroughly, comprehensively, and giveclues to the reader that words alone cannot.Symbolism in The Great GatsbyEssay ENG 3U1July 26th 2004Works CitedFitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.
London: Penguin Books, 1826———————–” ‘Works pretty slow, don’t he?’ (said Wilson) ‘No, he doesn’t,’ said Tomcoldly. ‘And if you fell that way about it, maybe I’d better sell itsomewhere else after all.’ ‘I don’t mean that,’ explained Wilson quickly.’I just meant – ‘ ” (28)” ‘Come on – we’re all going to town.
‘ (said Tom)… No one moved.
‘ Comeon!’ His temper cracked a little… His hand, trembling with his effort atself-control, bore to his lips the last of his glass of ale.” (114)