Fitzgerald is one of the few who managed to convey the very spirit of the Roaring Twenties, immortalized in the novel “The Great Gatsby.” The story perfectly expresses the tragedy of the era, that lies on the surface of luxury and fun, and under them, despair and death. An image of the protagonist is vague and dual. He is a romantic who, for the sake of his love, as a valiant knight, joined the battle with life and won, as he got the honor and glory, which in modern language is called wealth. On the other hand he is a bootlegger, closely familiar with the underworld. Who is this mysterious man, who appeared out of nowhere as a respected millionaire? Why is he watching the glimmering light across the river every night? What does “The Green Light” actually represent for Gatsby?
Let us assume it represents his past. Five years ago Jay, as a previously unknown poor military officer James Gatz, met a beautiful young lady, named Daisy Fey and fell in love with her on sight. Daisy is from a rich family and usually behaves as a big naïve child, rarely carrying about anything. She is like a plant that grows only when fertilized with gold and attention. Jay and Daisy have had a little romance but soon were separated by war. Jay promised to do his best to become a man of a dream for his beloved. Years after, Jay Gatsby becomes a respected and powerful man and settles in the village of West Egg, in a luxurious mansion. Every night he comes close to the water and stares ahead at the green light from across the river, where Daisy Fey Buchanan lives. It was like a signal from the past, reminding him how happy they were together and for Jay Gatsby that was a light of hope, that one day they would reunite.
The green light also symbolizes the present. Having achieved a high social status, and everything he thought would be essential to make Daisy happy, he perceives the green light as a green traffic light, allowing him to switch to a higher speed and rush forward to his dream. It feeds Jay certainty that everything goes according to his plan, that every day he is getting closer to Daisy. Gatsby is highly inspired by his muse and tirelessly organizes luxury noisy parties every weekend. Tracing the motivation of his actions, it is not difficult to understand that everything what he is doing, purports to impress Daisy. Each party Jay expects her to come and see who he became for her. This light fills Gatsby with enthusiasm and makes him smile to everyone. With every flare of the light he becomes more confident to visit Daisy and to make a declaration of love. And one day the dream finally comes true. Daisy and Jay engage into romantic relationship, hiding from everyone and enjoying each other.
Finally, after meeting with Daisy, Gatsby was disappointed because the green light on the dock, a symbol of happiness, which he was seeking for, suddenly lost its former importance: “the colossal significance of that light had now vanished foreverNow it was again a green light on a dock.” (Fitzgerald 121-122). Nevertheless, there is a trait that distinguishes Gatsby from all other characters and allows the author to call his novel “The Great Gatsby.” The devotion to his pure dream is the reason he exists. All public amenities that make up the American dream, he gets only to lay at the feet of the woman he loved. Gatsby was blinded by the green light which symbolized the illusory hope to reenact the past, and which destroyed his present and his future.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1925. New York: Scribner. 2004.