The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
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In The Great Gatsby, what does Gatsby's car represent?

Gatsby's car represents him as a character. Like Gatsby, the car is showy and is meant to impress anyone who sees it. In addition to representing Gatsby's extreme wealth, the car reflects the "new money" aspect of Gatsby's style and personality. Ultimately, Gatsby's association with his car leads to his death, because George thinks Gatsby is the driver who hits Myrtle.

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Gatsby's car is very much a symbol of the man himself.  Nick, indeed, first describes it as "gorgeous," just like Gatsby appears to others: well-dressed, well-spoken, well-educated.  He appears to be perfect, just like his car.

However, Nick goes on to describe it as

[...] swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns.  Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town.

Words like "swollen" and "monstrous" have quite negative connotations, especially to describe such a "gorgeous" vehicle, alerting us to the fact that something more is going on here.  "Swollen" is often used in connection to some kind of infection or illness, and "monstrous" connotes something grotesque, deformed.  This might lead us to imagine someone who is puffed up, someone who has made something of themselves that is completely...

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rothl62 | Student

There is a great deal of color symbolism found in the story The Great Gatsby. The car in the story is just one of many Fitzgerald uses to develop his theme of social class distinction. Green is used at times to show hope as well as sickness and the desire to obtain an unreachable dream while gold is used to depict the old money and wealth that Tom has obtained through his family heritage. Additionally, the idea of wealth, richness and materialism is shown through the color red. Fitzgerald also uses the color yellow as the color of Gatsby's Rolls Royce. The car is an object chosen by the author to symbolizes exactly who Gatsby wants to be in the story. Gatsby wants the other characters to see him as their equal in Long Island society. The color yellow is flashy, bright and showy like Gatsby himself. The car and its color are meant to attract the attention of Daisy as well as to allow for Gatsby to demonstrate his newfound wealth, freedom and place in society during the early 1920's at a time when wealth was hard to achieve on one's own.