Symbols Used in the Great Gatsby

Jieqiong Shao


This paper analyzes the novel from the perspective of symbolism in terms of three parts. The first part introduces the Fitzgerald, his work and background; analyze the background of works to explore the connotation of the works. The second part illustrates the definition of symbolism and literary significance, analyzing how to use symbol to embody the connotation of the novel. The third part discusses the application of the symbolism in The Great Gatsby: the green light located at the end of the Buchanan’s dock, the valley of ashes, West Eggs and East Eggs. The green light, situated at the end of the Daisy’s dock, symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for future. East Egg represents the established aristocracy; West Egg represents the newly rich. The Valley of Ashes consists of a long stretch of desolate land created by the dumping of industrial ashes; it represents the moral and social decay due to the uninhibited pursuit of wealth. The images of the Valley of Ashes are used to interpret the disillusion of Gatsby’s American Dreams as well as the social moral decay. The Great Gatsby is filled with symbols, which convey Fitzgerald’s attitude and ideas to the readers. And the symbolism greatly contributes to the success of this novel.


Symbolism; Green Light; Geography

Full Text:


Included Database


[1] Anderson,W,R. The Fitzgerald Revival[D]. University of South Carolina, 1974.

[2] Brown,H.D. American literature[M]. Shanghai: Shanghai foreign language education press, 1993.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18282/l-e.v9i5.2066


  • There are currently no refbacks.