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The Great Gatsby- Theme Theories   Tags: great_gatsby, great_gatsby_themes  

Students will use important symbols and colors in The Great Gatsby to develop theories about possible themes in the classic novel.
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2011 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Jay Gatsby




Welcome to the LibGuide for The Great Gatsby Theme Theory resources.  Here you will find resources that will help you develop various theories about possible themes in The Great Gatsby.



In The Great Gatsby, you will find several passages that really emphasize color. You may ask, "Why are colors important?"  Believe it or not, F. Scott Fitzgerald carefully wove clues into The Great Gatsby using color to code certain characters, themes, and important symbols. In fact, he was so excited about using color as a fundamental aspect of the novel that  he wanted the title of the book to be Under the Red, White, and Blue, but when he sent the telegram to his publisher about the change, it was too late. The book had already been sent to the printer! 

Nonetheless, Fitzgerald brilliantly used color to give the reader suggestions about the personalities of characters and to give clues that lead the reader to important symbols in the novel. If you pay careful attention to these colors, you will discover many hidden aspects of the novel that will reveal all sorts of clues about possible themes present in the book.

You will also notice the repetition and emphasis of various symbols in the book. Symbolism is another device that Fitzgerald employed in The Great Gatsby to reinforce several of the important themes that are woven into the text. Fitzgerald also repeats the mentioning of various symbols, as he does color, because he is trying emphasize important aspects of his story. For example, one object that your should probably examine for deeper meaning is the billboard with the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg:

"But above the gray 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. They look out of no face, but instead from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground" (Fitzgerald).

 This mysterious and ominous ocular billboard provides the reader with a deeper understanding of one of Fitzgerald's themes if it is examined closely. What is the deeper meaning? Well--that is for you to figure out!


Gatsby Intro


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