How would you color a mask to represent the character of Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby? I have to analyze the character by writing...

How would you color a mask to represent the character of Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

I have to analyze the character by writing an essay and create a mask with colors that symbolize characteristics of Gatsby. On this website is the exact same color key I have. Can someone can give me some ideas? Thanks!



Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since there is much color symbolism in The Great Gatsby, in forming the composition of colors for a mask representing Jay Gatsby, you may wish to utilize those that are significant both for the character of Gatsby and for the color symbolism of the novel.

Thus, with the symbolism provided by the author, the reader finds that Jay Gatsby wears a pink suit, representative of his romantic illusions; he displays shirts of many colors to Daisy in order to impress her, covering the table "in many colored disarray ... in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue." Blue is also mentioned in reference to Gatsby's lawn: "in his blue gardens, men came and went," there is a "blue lawn," and a "blue smoke of brittle leaves" in the Fall, with blue being symbolic of Gatsby's attempt at harmony, that goes "up in smoke" and turns to depression. Of course, the green light at the end of Daisy's dock represents Gatsby's hope of attaining Daisy who wears white and has a "voice that sounds like money" (gold); also, there is some envy of the social status of the Buchanan's on Gatsby's part. For, his house has the unimportant "grey windows [that] disappeared."  Grey represents also sterility, as Gatsby's dreams that never come to fruition.

Like Daisy's falsity, the white of Gatsby's steps are marred by an obscene word "scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick."  And, when Gatsby has parties as a show of his wealth, the gold of his opulence turns yellow, indicating that it is but a veneer.  Yellow also represents the decadence of the Jazz Age as at his party, the orchestra plays "yellow cocktail music" and two of his guests wear yellow dresses.

In addition, Gatsby's car is a reflection of the persona he wishes to create. It has a green interior, too warm from having been in the sun--Jay's hope of attaining Daisy.  The car's exterior is later described as yellow, representing the covetousness of Gatsby for Daisiy as well as the dishonesty and cowardice associated with Daisy's murder of Myrtle Wilson.

Perhaps, then, Gatsby's mask can be divided into two sides with the left containing the colors of hope, romance, calm, and wealth  and the colors of disillusionment and depression, decay [green], and deceit, falsity, and covetousness on the right.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

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