We’re thinking green = plants and trees and stuff, so life and springtime and other happy things. Do we see this in The Great Gatsby? The most noticeable image is that green light we seem to see over and over. You know, the green light of the "orgastic future" that we stretch our hands towards, etc. etc. We can definitely see green as being hopeful, as being the future, as being vitality and freshness. Right before these famous last lines, Nick also describes the "fresh, green breast of the new world," the new world being this land as Nick imagines it existed hundreds of years before. The new world might be green, but when Nick imagines Gatsby’s future without Daisy, he sees "a new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about...like that ashen fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees." Nick struggles to define what the future really means, especially as he faces the new decade before him (the dreaded thirties). Is he driving on toward grey, ashen death through the twilight, or reaching out for a bright, fresh green future across the water?
Green also represents spring, which is a new beginning or hope.
Once also used for envy. [“In the sunlight his (George Wilson’s) face was green.”]
The ‘green light at the end of Daisy’s dock’ is the representation of ‘The American Dream’, the desire to succeed in life which again refers to money.
The green light also represents hope. Gatsby was hoping to restore his ancient relationship with Daisy that has long been impossible, though Gatsby failed to realize it because he was blinded by the hope generated by the green light. It insinuates that hope is not always a reality.
Nick encounters Gatsby standing in Gatsby’s lawn in the dead of night, and describes what he sees:
“…he stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguishing nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock.
The symbolism of green throughout the novel is as variable and contradictory as the many definitions of “green” and the many uses of money—”new,” “natural,” “innocent,” “naive,” and “uncorrupted”; but also “rotten,” “gullible,” “nauseous,” and “sickly.”