Great Gatsby: Transportation Imagery essays
Obviously, Fitzgerald uses cars to characterize. The protagonist Jay Gatsby drives a car of a "rich cream color, bright with nickel (…), with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns." (Fitzgerald, p. 70) It simply is a vehicle that could have sprung from a teenager's dream and is driven by someone who did not change his imagination although he is grown up now. Malcolm Cowley calls it "West Egg on wheels" (Seiters, p. 58), which is ironically but true. West Egg, the area where Gatsby lives, may be a place for those who are wealthy but do not have the proper background to be accepted by the snobbish East Egg inhabitants, but that does not mean that it is less arrogant, less boastful or less decadent than East Egg.
Its color'cream' is a blend of virgin white, which stands for the man in love, and yellow, which implies his other side: the bootlegger Gatsby. After Myrtle's death, the color is referred to as plain yellow:the pureness that white had added has vanished. So we can view this car is a symbol of Gatsby's dream and what became of it. It seemed like an innocent dream but turned out to be a nightmare to those who are involved. (Seiters, p.58)
Another character that is closely connected with cars is the golf-pro Jordan Baker. Her driving style reveals not only her carelessness that we are informed about by Nick, who complains: "You're a rotten driver. Either you ought to be more careful or you oughtn't to drive at all." (Fitzgerald, p.65) but also shows her dishonesty. When she leaves a borrowed car in the rain and denies it, Nick remembers the article about a golf tournament she cheated in to win. (Fitzgerald, p.64) In addition, her behavior on the wheel foreshadows Myrtle's tragic death in a car accident. Nick and Jordan's dialogue can