All That Glitters Is Not Green

Now before I get comments telling me that I got the saying wrong, (“It should be All That Glitters Is Not Gold!”, “It’s not green!”, “Wow are you stupid!”) I want you to hear me out. Now although in today’s society, as well as back in the 1920’s, gold was a phenomena that symbolized riches and prosperity among those that had it. For the most part, to have gold, even to this day, makes you that much more valuable. Hence the term, “all that glitters is not gold.” Even though something glitters like gold, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that something is as precious as it seems to be. However, as demonstrated in the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, it has become clear to me, as well as Gatsby and several others in the book, that gold is not the only phenomena worth treasuring.

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Colors are a very important symbol in the book and are mentioned periodically throughout. Gatsby’s “blue lawn”, Daisy’s “white clothes”, and most importantly, the “green light” at the end of the dock. Gold might be important on a material level, but deep down the glamour and the gold shrivels in comparison to the less obvious, intangible treasures. While it looks shiny and valuable on the outside, all that glitters is not gold.  As for the other colors, the list goes on and on, but the most significant color mentioned in the book, is not gold, but green. Green. As in newly cut green grass, or the overwhelming presence of trees and plants. As in the brand-new, fresh, full-of-life green that we are used to.  Not only does it represent life but we come to realize that green symbolizes hope and the future and what that might entail. Hope: meaning the American Dream, meaning Gatsby’s lust for the love of Daisy, meaning his desire to have and hold her. Gatsby is constantly seen looking out towards the harbor, stretching his arm out to the impossibly far green light in the distance. He is reaching for something he could only dream of obtaining. He is reaching for Daisy. He is reaching for the past.

But as we find out, Gatsby was blinded by the light. He was blinded by the fact that he thought he could obtain the past and return everything to normal. He was clearly disillusioned and blinded by the lust and nostalgia and look where it got him. Although it glittered, it was most definitely not green. Daisy glittered, but she was most definitely not green. I won’t try and completely ruin the book for you, because it was a great read, but I will leave you with this. If you notice that something seems to be promising of the future, be cautious as to how you will approach it. Reach out for your own green light but don’t let its brightness lead to your demise. All that glitters is not green and if you choose to believe that, then you won’t end up like Gatsby. Don’t end up like Gatsby.

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-Matt

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