What is the imagery in "The Great Gatsby"?


Quick Answer

One of the main forms of imagery in "The Great Gatsby" comes in the form of color. From the green of the light to the gold that represents Gatsby's money, color plays an important part in this book, according to Cliff's Notes.

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Full Answer

The end of chapter one shows Gatsby reaching for this green light off in the distance. It is not until several chapters later that the reader finds out what the green light is. The light blinks at the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock. This is the woman with whom Gatsby has been infatuated for five years. His reaching towards the light symbolizes his longing for Daisy and his willingness to do just about anything to bring her back to him.

One of the biggest things that Gatsby does to try to get Daisy back is bootlegging in order to get enough money to buy a huge mansion, a nice car and many fine, imported colorful shirts, an image of what Daisy would have had if she had stayed with Gatsby. All of these things are meant to show Daisy that Gatsby now is able to take care of her, something that prohibited him from marrying her from the start.

White is another color mentioned several times in the novel, particularly related to the descriptions of Daisy. For instance, she wears white often and describes her childhood as being white. Daisy's image being related to this color at first seems to represent purity, particularly in Gatsby's eyes, where she is an angel. It eventually leads the reader to believe that Daisy's white is meant to be a void, the emotion, conscience and intelligence that is lacking in her life.

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