In The Great Gatsby, how do the motifs of violence, colors, race, and sports relate to Jay Gatsby?

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In the novel the motif of violence would relate to Gatsby in that he has an underlying violent side to him throughout the novel that he does not actually show to the reader until he has the argument with Tom toward the end of the novel.  Up until that point, Gatsby seems to be a very calm person if you look at him in a non-judgmental way; but if you think of how Gatsby has made his money and what he is wiling to do to get Daisy, it is clear that he clearly has an evil and possibly violent side to him throughout the novel – he just does not display that violence as Tom does. 

Colors are significant throughout the novel for Gatsby.  First, the color of his possessions; his car is a flashy green color and his clothes are whites and pinks – colors that are sure to stand out and make a statement.  Gatsby uses the colors of his possessions to get people, particularly Daisy, to notice him and to basically say, “Hey, I’m rich.”  The color green is also symbolic for Gatsby; not only is it the color of his car but the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is a major symbol representing his envy for what Tom has (Daisy) and his yearning for wealth in order to get Daisy.  Other than his connection to Meyer Wolfsheim, he really does not relate to the motifs of sports or race.

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