Great Gatsby Symbolism Essay

Finally, symbols create a more active and engaging reading experience for you!Hunting for symbols and interpreting their meaning makes you think, and it also makes you have a much more visceral, emotional reaction to the abstract ideas central to the book.Those same themes are also connected to one of the novel's many motifs—Gatsby's verbal tic of calling everyone "old sport." This phrase isn't a symbol, but its oddness point to the not-quite-successful way Gatsby is trying to act like the social elite.

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In other words, it's when an object, a character, or a place doesn't just represent that type of object, but also evokes a feeling or a concept.

This means that symbols have several layers of meaning, most of which are often hidden at first.

So how do you know what's just a thing and what is imbued with a deeper meaning?

First, you have to realize that almost anything can be a symbol. That means that in almost every place, these objects will have layers of meaning built into them.

We teach you all the literary devices you must know, the literary elements that appear in every story and first/second/third person POV here.

If you're analyzing poetry (or Shakespeare), you'll also want to check out our articles on iambic pentameter and assonance.In literary analysis, to the maker of the best argument go the spoils. Symbols are objects that carry a literal and one or several figurative meanings, while themes are central ideas that can usually be summed up in a word or a phrase.Symbols help explain themes, demonstrate varying versions of a theme, or build emotional richness into the way a theme works in the book you're reading. This symbol represents a lack of moral oversight in the world of the novel.One good way to do this is to use an online, searchable version of the text here (like this one or this one), and search for keywords associated with your symbol.Remember to first read the book all the way through to know what you're looking for, and to try several versions of your keyword when searching.For example, one theme in The Great Gatsby is "morality and ethics." But we can't know what the novel wants us to think about morality or ethics until we notice that the only symbolic representation of a higher moral power in the book is the inanimate billboard of Doctor T. At its core, a symbol is a literary device that enhances fiction by building richness and adding color, depth, and realism.Rather than having the author have to explain everything in a heavy-handed way, symbols allow readers to discover connections between characters, bits of plot, and different settings on their own.Get help on other assignments by reading our guides on analyzing or comparing and contrasting characters and learning how to identify personification, imagery, tone words, and rhetorical devices.Need help building your vocabulary to analyze other works of literature?This kind of essay is a great way to show your engagement with the text.Because you'll stay so close to what is on the page, you'll be protected from making your essay too broad, generalized, and unsupported by evidence. When you're planning your essay, look for each instance of the symbol you'll be discussing.


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