What is the significance of the green light and the blue lawn at the end of "The Great Gatsby"?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The green light is one of the more prominent symbols in "The Great Gatsby". At the end of the first chapter, Nick sees Jay standing on the end of his dock, seeming to reach out his arms as he stared across the bay.  The only thing Nick can see that Jay is looking at is the green light at the end of Daisy's dock.  At this point in the novel, the green light represents distance between Daisy and Jay.  Mostly, it's only a physical distance.  Daisy is Jay's goal, so the green light, is in essence, Jay's goal because once he reaches that light, he will have reached Daisy.  In chapter 5, after Daisy and Jay meet again after five years and pick up their relationship, Nick notes that Jay's "count of enchanted objects had diminished by one," as now that green light was just a light at the end of a dock.  In other words, Jay has Daisy now so there is no distance between them - physcially.  There is a huge distance between Daisy and Jay in class, however, and Nick notes that in the final paragraph of the book.  Jay Gatsby believed that if he accrued enough money, class difference wouldn't matter.  He believed it only took money for him to get that green light (note that money is green, also), for him to have Daisy.  He didn't realize the class difference was a span too wide to bridge.  It was his enthusiasm and his naive belief that he could get that green light that helped make him an endearing character.  The blue lawn simply represents wealth.  The grass is so green, so well tended, that it appears blue, like Kentucky bluegrass, and don't forget, Daisy is from Kentucky.

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The Great Gatsby

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