24 Hour Customer Service:

Call for a quote line:

Research Papers on Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

How do you start a Symbolism in the Great Gatsby research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

As one of the timeless novels of the 20th century, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald provides great insight into the life of the author as well as of the society in which he lives. All the basic elements of a novel contribute to this insight: characterization, drama, setting, etc. However, one element rises above all others and provides an entirely new perspective: symbolism. Fitzgerald’s use of symbols throughout the novel is profound, adding a whole new level of depth to an otherwise excellent story.

Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

Set in a society obsessed with opulence and wealth, the novel’s two greatest symbols have to do with these themes. Both are perpetual reminders in the characters’ daily lives, though they are not immediately involved with either of them.

  1. First, one can consider the Valley of Ashes: this valley between the primary setting of the novel, West Egg, and New York City is nothing but desolate land populated by ashes from industrial production in the city. To the basic reader, this can seem as little more than just a wasted plot of land, but its symbolism becomes apparent with more than a cursory glance.
  2. This land is symbolic of the transition between the blight of the urban poor and the opulence of Gatsby and his crew.
    1. This waste is what separates the rich from the poor, as society itself is segregated into the two sectors.
    2. The fact that this valley is filled with nothing but waste products also reflects the opulence of the era: people are concerned first and foremost with material pleasures, not thinking in the slightest about the waste that is being created.

Similarly, the billboard advertising for Dr. T.J. Eckleburg is also symbolic of the era in which the novel is set. Looking down over the Valley of Ashes, this billboard is faded and worthless. However, each time the characters pass it, one cannot help but think of the symbolism inherent in its presence. The eyes can be seen as symbolic of the watchful eyes of God, peering down over humanity and judging our daily practices. In terms of morality, society has become a wasteland, much as the Valley of Ashes is. Though Fitzgerald never said outright that the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg were symbolic of the watchful eyes of God, their very presence as well as their location certainly lends credence to this interpretation.

Related Research Paper Topics

Symbolism - Symbolism term papers examine the literary device where an author presents an object as having significance beyond its literal meaning.

The Great Gatsby - The Great Gatsby is considered a portrait of the golden age of jazz and all of its excesses.

History of New York City - History of New York City Research Papers open up at the 19th century discusses important facts.

American Dream and The Great Gatsby - American Dream and Gatsby research papers account the classic novel The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald.

Symbolism in Animal Farm Research Papers examine one of the most profound pieces of literary political commentary written by George Orwell.

Symbolism in Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Tess of the D'Urbervilles, like many of the literary works by Thomas Hardy, offers a critique of modernity.

Symbolism in Of Mice and Men - Steinbeck includes several symbols in Of Mice and Men that add depth to the story.

Symbolism of His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is an anti-religious literary work and the author frequently uses symbolism to convey his criticism of organized religion.

Symbols in Ethan Frome research papers discuss the themes and ideas in Ethan Frome.

Symbolism in Little Women - In her novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott employed symbolism to explore society's treatment of men and women.

Symbolism in The Snows of Kilimanjaro research papers discuss the symbols found in Ernest Hemingway's book.

Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire research papers show that the main characters of Tennessee Williams' play are symbols.

Symbolism of the Raft in Huckleberry Finn research papers analyze the raft as a symbol of freedom in Mark Twain's famous novel.

Moby Dick Symbolism Research Papers look at an example of a paper order that gives the choice of doing an argumentive or survey method thesis in the paper, and tell you how to do it.

Symbolism in Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck included numerous symbols in The Grapes of Wrath. Various types of animals, for instance, play important roles in the novel.

Symbolism in Catcher in the Rye - As a quintessential piece of American literature, Catcher in the Rye has been studied time and time again, looking at themes, setting, characterization, and, most importantly, symbolism.

Symbolism in The Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway claimed to have written without intending symbols, although he did not mind if people found their own symbols in his work.

Symbolism in The Red Badge of Courage - Symbolism in Red Badge of Courage term paper examines Stephen Crane’s use of symbolic writing.

Symbolism in The Hobbit - The Hobbit is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Tolkien never differentiated between the two works to suggest that one might contain symbolism while the other did not.

Symbolism in Animal Farm - As one of the most profound pieces of literary political commentary, George Orwell’s Animal Farm contains a host of essential symbols within its pages.

Anna Karenina and Symbolism - The expensive horse, which Vronsky unintentionally ruins during the officer’s race, is a clear symbol for the relationship between Anna and Vronsky.

As I Lay Dying Symbolism - William Faulkner’s book is about a family’s journey to fulfill Addie’s dying wish, the story is expressed through symbolism.

Symbolism in Crime and Punishment - As one of the most prolific writers of the 19th century, Fyodor Dostoevsky incorporates a number of complex symbols into his writing, each of which has the ability to represent a number of deep political, social, and religious issues.

Symbolism in Bleak House - As one of Charles Dickens’s most complex stories, Bleak House contains in its pages many different characters and subplots.

Symbolism in Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, uses symbolism to celebrate the past.

Symbolism in Catch-22 - Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is a satirical novel that critiques unregulated capitalism and the power and control exercised by modern bureaucracies.

Symbolism in David Copperfield - In any quality piece of literature, there are numerous symbols that run the gamut from the large to the small.

Symbolism in Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic novel Rebecca uses names as symbols of strength and weakness.

Symbolism in Wuthering Heights - Writing on one of the greatest love stories of all times offers many opportunities to explore 19th Century symbolism.