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A simple thesis would be that F. Scott Fitzgerald uses flower imagery to enhance the characterization of various people in the novel.
For example, the name "Daisy" suggests a white flower ( perhaps for purity) with a yellow ( suggesting ultimate cowardice) to describe the heroine of the novel. In contrast, Myrtle, her husband's mistress, again reminds the reader of the myrtle bush which has white flowers but also dark berries. This suggests a woman who seems pure but has a dark side or future in front of her. Her adulterous affair with Tom, of course, eventually leads to her ultimate destruction. Fitzgerald also uses flowers to quickly personify minor characters. For example, when one young man brings four women to one of Gatsby's parties, the last names the sweet girls have"the melodious names of flowers or months" while the "sterner" ones have names of "great American captialists."
The use of flowers is quite deliberate. Fitzgerald uses the idea of flowers to convey several concepts. The flower is something that lives, flourishes off of other nutrients, and dies. This might be appropriate to describe the "flappers" and the entire Jazz Age scene of partygoers and socialites. Daisy, Tom, and Jordan are individuals who live off of the gossip of others and look to the next and better party. When Gatsby realizes this very nature of Daisy, Nick's remarks compare her to a rose and thorns. The idea of flowers also is dependent on the notion of fading and passing out of the present. Indeed, Fitzgerald's conception of the mentality within the Jazz Age is one that invariably does fade, with the ending of the novel confirming this.
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