The Green Light

Gatsby stares out at the green light at the end of Daisy's pier. This light is symbolic of symbols themselves - the way that we imbue inanimate objects with import which is often excessive. The green light traditionally represents permission to advance (as in traffic signals), furthermore, green symbolizes envy. Gatsby is envious that Tom can possess Daisy, yet he also feels that he is being given the go-ahead. The image of Gatsby waiting at the end of the pier, looking out at the light that to him represents all that he aspires to be, is the novel's most enduring impression.

Dr. T. J. Eckleberg's Eyes

The giant billboard which overlooks the Valley of Ashes is an advertisement for the optician, Dr. T. J. Eckleberg. The board represents the all-pervasiveness of consumerism, and the all-seeing eye of the author. At one point in the novel, Mr. Wilson exclaims: God sees everything!" while staring at the eyes on the billboard; the billboard represents the only omniscient God in the dying society Fitzgerald seeks to depict. The Valley of Ashes symbolizes the decay which is creeping up on America. Dr. Eckleberg is watching it, and also sees Daisy run over Myrtle Wilson. He is a note of impartiality in the crazed world depicted in The Great Gatsby.

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