Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Great Gatsby - The Green Light

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Green Means Go

The future is what we sometimes look forward to and can change; the past is what we remember and cannot change. As we “stretch out our arms further” and further into the future, the future soon becomes the past, and the present soon becomes the future. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”(p.18) We never know what the future holds for us, but we will always know what the past held for us. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a small little green light represented the future for Jay Gatsby, a newly wealthy businessman. Gatsby wants to know his future, but all Jay knows is his past and his present. This small simple little green light appears to Jay telling him to “go” and it gives Gatsby a path into the future with his dream girl Daisy, even though the future will soon become the past.

Jay prefers to move on and forget everything about the past except for his past with Daisy Buchanan. At age seventeen Gatsby changed his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby just before meeting Dan Cody, his mentor. It is a sad loss for Gatsby when Dan Cody dies, but before dying Dan Cody taught Jay about many of life’s lessons. Before Cody dies but after Jay reaches manhood, he tries to forget about his past and family history and move on in the world as Jay Gatsby and not as James Gatz. From then on Jay couldn’t stop thinking about the future and what it holds for him after he meets up, once again for a second time, with Daisy Buchanan. Daisy brings Gatsby’s past back into his mind, which he tried to forget about, and this is when Jay gets thrown into a textbook of confusion and a gift of curiosity about his past experiences, but most of all about his future. The future, the past, and the present all get thrown around Jay’s thoughts. Which held, holds, or will hold Jay’s most precious times? At this point Jay gets lost in time.

The first appearance of the green light, Gatsby’s future, appears when Gatsby is alone standing waterside of his mansion. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of the dock.” (p.6) The green light is a metaphor for Gatsby’s future, and Gatsby is stretching out his arms into the darkness. To me it seams like Gatsby is reaching out into time to see what his future holds, but his future is too dark for him to see and understand, so the green light appears to Nick. But he believes he sees his future, a future filled with love and passion, with the one and only Daisy.

Custom Essays on Great Gatsby - The Green Light

The green light symbolized future, and to Jay his future was with Daisy. When you think of green you think of “go” which would be implying for Jay to continue into the future and go for Daisy without any hesitation. This can be interpreted as meaning Gatsby should go for his dreams and move into the future with nothing stopping Gatsby’s destined happiness with Daisy. The green light appears one last time as Gatsby and Daisy have their arms locked together, as Gatsby watches the Green light diminish or disappear. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.” (p.8) To me, the end of the dock may represent the end of life, and at the end of life the green light will burn out and you will no longer have a future. “Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”(p.8) Prior to this moment in the book, the green light represented his future with Daisy and by reaching out to it he has brought himself closer to Daisy, his love. The light no longer holds the same significance to Gatsby as it did prior to this moment. His future and his dreams must now change because his future with Daisy has become the present, and a brand new future for Gatsby will have to be developed. As I mentioned earlier, the future will soon become the present, and the present will soon become the past.

As the moon rises and the houses melt away in his imagination, Nick thinks of what this island must have looked like to the Dutch sailors seeing it for the first time in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was a new world then--pure, unspoiled. Nick calls it a fresh green breast of the new world. As the Dutch settlers come across this land, they see green, the symbolism of the future. As Gatsby comes across his love, he sees green, the symbolism of the future. In the Dutch settlers views they saw the future as green, and their findings of this land was a successful encounter. In Gatsby’s view he saw the future through the green light, and his finding of his love was a successful encounter. As you can see there is a big parallel between Gatsby and the Dutch settlers and Daisy and the land.

Green means go, and in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the future was all that mattered for Gatsby and the Dutch settlers, the Dutch settlers were creating a future on the new green land and Gatsby was creating a future with Daisy his green light of love.

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