What Does The Green Light Symbolize In The Great Gatsby

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The years following World War I brought disillusionment into the minds of Americans. The damage, both physical and psychological, left a sense of futility throughout the population. The rise of the stock markets in the 1920’s gave a heightened, false sense of hope that Americans could rise above their social and financial situations. With the energetic, busy streets of New York, gorgeous jazz music, promiscuous flapper girls, and the pursuit of wealth, America seemed limitless in possibility. However, the pursuit of happiness through money and power manifested humanity’s’ selfishness, and the Roaring Twenties became a period of moral and social decay. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby employs literary devices such as creative symbols,…show more content…
For example, at the end of Chapter 1, the narrator, Nick Carraway, mentions a green light looming from the end of the dock in his search for Gatsby. Nick’s comment on the light may be disregarded out of its ambiguity, but the end of the novel suggests a deeper meaning for the green light. Nick reflects: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…” (Fitzgerald 180) Gatsby’s belief in the light represents his deep faith in the American Dream. He wholeheartedly sought Daisy- bootlegging for money, throwing outrageous parties, and buying a mansion across from her home- with the idea that she would bring him fulfillment. In the way that light operates as an illusion and transforms the way people perceive their surroundings, the American Dream deludes Gatsby’s mind with the false notions that Daisy could provide him happiness. Gatsby’s belief in the green light elicits a dark outcome with Daisy’s abandonment, suggesting that the materialistic nature of the American Dream was never worth
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