Symbolism and Motifs in The Great Gatsby



     Geography plays a major role in Fitzgerald's book.  They symbolism of the different geographies is explained on the symbolism page, but interestingly, the characters that inhabit those locations reflect their symbolic meanings.  Those from East Egg have inherited their money, the West Eggers are newly rich or aspiring to be rich, the valley dwellers are poor, and the one character from New York City (Meyer Wolfsheim) is immoral.  The characters not only reflect the symbolism from the location in which they live but also act differently according to their location at any one time in the book: Gatsby conducts his immoral business only in the city; Nick enjoys the lavish lifestyle of the East Eggers when he visits the Buchanans; those who visit Gatsby parties in West Egg are the kind who live fast-paced lifestyles, stereotypical of those who found themselves newly rich in the 1920's.


     While weather is not a major motif in The Great Gatsby, its direct correlation with mood and atmosphere is obvious.  In the nervous minutes preceding Gatsby and Daisy's first meeting in five years, a terrible storm is pounding West Egg.  As Gatsby and Daisy become more comfortable with each other and begin to let their emotions be known to each other, the weather clears up.  The day of Gatsby's confrontation with Tom is, according to Nick, the hottest day of the year (the confrontation, of course, took place in New York City--repercussions were not considered). The aggressiveness brought on by the heat is not limited to the male population; this is the same day that Daisy kills Myrtle.