The Great Gatsby is a novel by American author Francis Scott Fitzgerald. First published in 1925, The Great Gatsby tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy man who throws lavish parties in an attempt to win over the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan.
While The Great Gatsby is filled with numerous symbols, including the green light and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, houses and cars play a significant role in the novel as well. The different houses in The Great Gatsby represent the various social classes in America during the 1920s, while the cars indicate the characters’ individual lifestyles and personalities.
The first house mentioned in The Great Gatsby is Daisy and Tom Buchanan’s mansion in East Egg. The Buchanans’ house is enormous and luxurious, with “a chauffeur-driven automobile” and “a anything that money could buy” (Fitzgerald 9). The Buchanans’ wealth and status are immediately evident, and their house serves as a symbol of the upper class.
In contrast, Nick Carraway’s house in West Egg is much more modest. Although Nick is also wealthy, his wealth is new and he has not yet attained the same level of sophistication as the Buchanans. Nick’s house represents the nouveau riche, or those who have recently become wealthy.
The third house mentioned in The Great Gatsby is Jay Gatsby’s mansion. Gatsby’s house is even more opulent than the Buchanans’, with “a marble swimming pool and bath-house” and “a tennis court” (Fitzgerald 30). Gatsby’s house symbolizes his excessive wealth and his desperate attempts to win over Daisy.
The different cars in The Great Gatsby also represent the characters’ personalities and lifestyles. The Buchanan’s car is large and luxurious, just like their house. The car represents their status and sophistication. In contrast, Nick’s car is small and unassuming, reflecting his more modest lifestyle. Gatsby’s car is flashy and ostentatious, much like Gatsby himself.
In The Great Gatsby, houses and cars serve as symbols of the different social classes in America. The Buchanans’ luxurious mansion represents the upper class, while Nick’s modest house represents the nouveau riche. Gatsby’s excessive wealth is symbolized by his lavish mansion and flashy car. The characters’ individual personalities and lifestyles are also reflected in their choice of house and car.
Gatsby’s great earnings are not enough to make him satisfied. He requires “The house he feels he needs in order to be happy,” and it’s also a perfect metaphor for carelessness with money, which is a major aspect of his personality (Bewley 24). The Gatsby mansion, like the car, symbolizes Gatsby’s boorish and extravagant character trait of seeking attention.
Gatz’s home is a hodgepodge of various styles and periods, reflecting a homeowner who does not recognize their true nature. The Buchanan residence stands for the values of its residents. Established wealth families reside on East Egg, which is where Tom and Daisy live.
The West Egg is where the “nouveau riche” or self-made men live. The Eggs are a symbol of division in society. The Valley of Ashes is a “dismal wasteland between the Eggs and New York City. The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of spectacles without a face that appear on an old advertising billboard near the Valley of Ashes.
The eyes may be interpreted as God watching over the characters or Fitzgerald’s way of saying that America was founded on money and corruption and that the American dream is a fraud. The car Gatsby drives is a Rolls Royce which is symbolic of his wealth but also his vulgarity because it stands out so much. The color yellow is often associated with Gatsby because of his car. The color yellow is also associated with cowardice.
Cars are a very important symbol in The Great Gatsby. They represent the rich lifestyle that the characters live and how they show off their wealth. The cars also symbolize the carelessness of the characters. The way they drive recklessly and speed through town shows how they dont care about anyone but themselves. Symbols are a very important part of The Great Gatsby because they help to develop the theme of the novel which is about the corruption of the American dream.
“I’d not go near him if I met him,” says Nellie because he is so cold and brutish (Perkins 199). Nick resides on West Egg in a rented home that “[had] been overlooked” (Fitzgerald 10). Because Nick is not wealthy enough to purchase a house in the more prominent East Egg, he lives in a new-rich neighborhood. His residence represents himself as shy and unappreciated. Nick is the Narrator, as well as the “trustworthy reporter and jury advocate” who has links to both the East and West Egg society.
The fact that Nick is not apart of either the old or the new money is significant, as he is able to see both worlds for what they really are. The East Egg house that Tom and Daisy live in “was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay”(Fitzgerald 11). The Buchanans’ house is an example of how the houses in East Egg show off the lavish lifestyle of those who live there.
The Buchanan’s house is also a symbol for Tom and Daisy, as it represents how they try to keep up appearances despite their ugly reality. The green light that Gatsby stares at across the water from his own home in West Egg is a symbol for his hope and dreams for the future. The light also represents Daisy, as Gatsby is reaching out for her and trying to bring her back into his life. The green light is a symbol of hope that is always just out of reach for Gatsby.
The cars in The Great Gatsby are also symbolic of the characters that drive them. The car that Nick drives is a “digitalis-purple” Packard (Fitzgerald 9). The color of Nick’s car matches his personality, as he is shy and not one to show off. The car that Tom Buchanan drives is a “long yellow automobile” (Fitzgerald 18). The color of Tom’s car matches his personality, as he is a showy and vulgar person.
The car that Gatsby drives is a “rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns” (Fitzgerald 21). The color of Gatsby’s car matches his personality, as he is a rich and flashy person. The cars in The Great Gatsby are symbols for the characters that drive them. The houses in The Great Gatsby are also symbols for the characters that live in them.
Nick, on the other hand, comes from a “prominent, well-to-do family” and acts as if the established rich were downplayed. He is attempting to break away from his family’s tradition and his house in West Egg represents this (Fitzgerald 7). Anotherperson who resides in the nouveau-riche West Egg is Gatsby. Wilson lives in his “unprosperous and bare” garage with “a blonde, spiritless man” (29). His home serves as a reminder of what he is – a mechanic – and sits overlooking the valley of ashes overlooked by Dr. Eyeleburg’s eyes (28).
The East Egg is where the Buchanans and Daisy reside. The “rosy-colored” palace which rests on the eggs bluffs, symbolizes old money (Fitzgerald 9). The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock across from Gatsby’s house is an important symbol in The Great Gatsby. The green light is also a symbol for money since “green” has always been associated with money (Mellow 134).
Gatsby stares at the green light across from his house hoping one day he will be able to possess Daisy just as he was able to purchase his mansion. He wants to be a part of her world, and by being with her he believes some of her world will rub off on him. The green light is also a symbol of Gatsby’s dream because it is something he can never have and is always out of his reach.