Using examples from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, decide how the color white would be associated with Daisy and explain how the color imagery helps the reader gain a deeper...

Using examples from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, decide how the color white would be associated with Daisy and explain how the color imagery helps the reader gain a deeper understanding of the character. How do color connotations apply to Daisy? How does Fitzgerald use white to illuminate specific  traits in Daisy and what are those traits?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On one level, Fitzgerald's use of white for Daisy can represent her purity and sense of innocence.  This is evident throughout the text.  For example, when Gatsby first sees Daisy, she wears white.  In doing so, she conveys the sense of innocent purity that inspires Gatsby.  In an almost regal- like description of Daisy, she is seen as "High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl."  The house where Daisy and Tom has "gleaming white" windows. Daisy's "white face" as well as the use of white clothes, especially in the novel's exposition, reflects a sense of purity and innocence associated with Daisy. Fitzgerald's use of white helps to communicate the way in which Gatsby sees her.  He views her as distinct from the surrounding world, a distinctive and redemptive force in a world of conformity and homogeneity.  

Another way to see Daisy's continual association with white is that she is purity corrupted.  The use of white surrounding Daisy implies a lack of position or lack of conviction.  Her use of white allows her to blend in, to not have to be distinctive or to be definitive in her positions.  Daisy cannot take a stand for Gatsby and retreats into a world of destruction with Tom.  Her use of white can reflect a sense of purity corroded when it is incapable of defining itself distinct from others. Daisy does not remain true to idealistic notions of the good, rather she  embodies the “well-forgotten dreams from age to age."  In drawing her with white, Fitzgerald displays how purity can become tainted, and how that which might seem wholesome can actually become part of the world if it is not preserved and protected.

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