First off, we’ve got yellows and golds, which we’re thinking has something to do with…gold (in the cash money sense). Why gold and not green? Because we’re talking about the real stuff, the authentic, traditional, "old money" – not these new-fangled dollar bills. So you’ve got your "yellow cocktail music" playing at Gatsby’s party where the turkeys are "bewitched to dark gold" and Jordan and Nick sit with "two girls in yellow." It seems clear, then, that Gatsby is using these parties to try to fit in with the "old money" crowd. And it doesn’t stop there; when Gatsby is finally going to see Daisy again at Nick’s house, he wears a gold tie. Nick later mentions the "pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate," which may seem weird (since last we checked, colors didn’t have a smell) until we remember Nick’s description of
as "a wish out of non-olfactory money." Odor then is associated with gold, and non-odor with money. The difference? Perhaps the same distinction as Daisy’s upper class world and Gatsby’s new-found wealth. While Gatsby buys a yellow car to further promote his facade, he’s really not fooling anyone. Lastly, we’ve got Daisy, who is only called "the golden girl" once Gatsby realizes that her voice, her main feature, is "full of money." Yellow is not just the color of money, but also of destruction. Yellow is the color of the car that runs down Myrtle. The glasses of Eckleburg, looking over the wasteland of New York , are yellow. This dual symbolism clearly associates money with destruction; the ash heaps are the filthy result of the decadent lifestyle led by the rich. America
Yellow also represents corruptness. Gatsby's car is yellow, a product of his corrupt dealings, as are the spectacles of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. It's probably not a coincidence that the novel's most impure character is named after a yellow flower. Gold has earned its place among the all time symbols of corruption and greed, although most wouldn't mind having more of it.
Yellow is usually seen around a tragic death.
- Myrtle was killed by Gatsby’s yellow Rolls Royce, in front of her yellow brick house under the yellow spectacled eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.
- The yellow colour of Gatsby’s car led to his death. If the colour of his car was black, like most of the cars during that time then he wouldn’t have been killed.
- Gatsby is seen walking through ‘yellowing trees’ just before he was murdered. “…but he shook his head and in a moment disappeared among the yellowing trees.”