|The car plays a major role that makes a regular appearance in the Great Gatsby. In the American Society the car has been always seen as a symbol of status. Gatsby’s car is an embodiment of his wealth. His car is symbolic of many things, among them the “disillusioned, reckless, frenetic spirit of” owner. His car symbolizes his vulgar materialism and conveys his newborn affluence. Firstly his car is mentioned on page 31. Nick describes it like this: »On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus (old fashioned - a bus), bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon (=estate car - a car with a lot of space behind the back seats and a door at the back for loading large items) scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.«
And on the page 51 Nick again depicts Gatsby’s car. Quote: 51
This obviously shows Gatsby’s materialism. Another interesting detail is that Gatsby’s car is yellow instead of the standardized black of the era and that stresses the thought that he is engrossed with the obsession of displaying his material wealth to get the love of Daisy.
Nick says that Gatsby’s car is of creamy color. That symbolizes the decay of corruption; therefore Gatsby’s car is like a bulging piece of fruit that is overripe and has started to rot.
In the end after the accident the »death car« is said to be yellow by a pale well-dressed negro. Quote: 114
And in the novel yellow symbolizes money and corruption.
Gatsby’s car is also important as a symbol of the absence of control that Daisy has over her life. It is shown when she loses control of Gatsby’s car and hits Myrtle.
Fitzgerald truly uses symbolism to convey his themes in The Great Gatsby. The symbolism of the car is stressed all throughout the novel and is used to confirm that a dream rooted in materialism alone will in the end always be disparaging.
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