While we’re looking at cars, notice that Daisy’s car (back before she was married) was white. So are her clothes, the rooms of her house, and about half the adjectives used to describe her (her "white neck," "white girlhood," the king’s daughter "high in a white palace"). Everyone likes to say that white in The Great Gatsby means innocence, probably because 1) that’s easy to say and 2) everyone else is saying it. But come on – Daisy is hardly the picture of girlish innocence. At the end of the novel, she is described as selfish, careless, and destructive. Does this make the point that even the purest characters in Gatsby have been corrupted? Did Daisy start off all innocent and fall along the way, or was there no such purity to begin with? Or, in some way, does Daisy’s decision to remain with Tom allow her to keep her innocence? We’ll keep thinking about that one.
Symbolizes purity and innocence
Mostly symbolizes Daisy and Jordan. They are usually wearing white.
and Daisy’s girlhood is described as “beautiful white.” Jordan
- “They are both in white.”
- “Daisy and
lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses…” Jordan
Daisy seems to always be connected to the colour white.
- On the day Daisy kissed Gatsby. “Daisy’s white face came up to his own.”
- “Our beautiful white [girlhood]-”
- “Her face bent into the single wrinkle of the small white neck.”
- “High in a white palace the king’s daughter…”
Childhood represents innocence and because the colour white is associated with innocence, white becomes a representation of innocence. It makes it seem that Daisy was innocent when she was younger.
- When Gatsby first knew Daisy, “…she dressed in white, and had a little white roadster…”
- ”When I came opposite her house that morning her white roadster was beside the curb…”
- ”…November night and revisiting the out-of-the-way places to which they had driven in her white car.”
Jordan is also described with the word white, although not as often as Daisy.
’s fingers, powdered white over their tan…” Jordan
’s got a white dress too.” Jordan
Gatsby is also frequently described with white.
- The steps on Gatsby’s house are white. (It kinda means that on the outside the house looks innocent but on the inside it is not).
- “On the white steps an obscene word,…”
- “… made a bright sort of colour against the white steps…when I first came to his ancestral home.”
- When Gatsby wanted to meet Daisy for the first time in 5 years, he wore a white suit to show that he was good, pure and honest to appease Daisy.
- “…and Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt and gold-coloured tie…”
- When Gatsby was stopped by the police for speeding.
“Taking a white card from his wallet, he waved it before the man’s eyes…”
Nick is also usually dressed in white to symbolize his innocence. He believes that he himself “is the most honest person he knows.”
- “…I am one of the few honest people I have ever known.”
- The first time he went to Gatby’s party he wore white.
- “Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a little after seven…”
The neighborhood in which Nick and Gatsby live, West Egg, in is often described as white. He uses white to symbolize that the city looks harmless and innocent but actually it isn’t since white in the Great Gatsby symbolizes false purity.
- “…I hurried down the white chasms of lower
…” New York
- “…so I drove into the
in search for her among soggy whitewashed alleys…” West Egg Village
- “…the sidewalk was white with moonlight.”
- “…men in dress suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress.”