As the previous educator notes, Fitzgerald could have used the color white to signal feminine purity, but he could also have used it as a symbol of blandness. I see Fitzgerald's use of white as an indication of wealth and leisure; though, of course, the color could encompass all of...
As the previous educator notes, Fitzgerald could have used the color white to signal feminine purity, but he could also have used it as a symbol of blandness. I see Fitzgerald's use of white as an indication of wealth and leisure; though, of course, the color could encompass all of these qualities.
When Nick Carraway enters the Buchanan house, he sees that both Daisy and her friend, Jordan Baker, are wearing white dresses that ripple and flutter in the wind, as though they had taken "a short flight around the house." White is a color frequently worn at country clubs, on golf courses and tennis courts. The color is an indication of neatness and impeccability. Considering what we find out about these characters, particularly Daisy, whose name is also an indication of purity and innocence, Fitzgerald seems to be using white ironically. Daisy presents herself as pure, obeying the precepts of the day in regard to how she should present herself as a woman. But, her callous actions sully her character.
In contrast to the billowing white dress that Daisy wears when Nick first sees her, Mrs. Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan's mistress, is wearing "a spotted dress of dark blue crêpe-de-chine" when Nick first sees her. She later changes into "a brown figured muslin, which stretched tight over her rather wide hips." Fitzgerald illustrates how each woman displays her particular mode of femininity through her clothing. He also makes Nick notice each woman's clothing during their first encounters, using his perceptions to show the contrast between the two women in Tom's life. The facts that Myrtle's dresses are "spotted" and "brown," respectively, could also be subtle indicators of the fact that she is not a woman who presents an illusion of purity but a bolder form of sexuality that would cause a man like Tom to look down upon her, while also using her to satisfy his sexual desires.