How are cars a symbol in "The Great Gatsby?"


Cars are a symbol in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” because they represent status, wealth and power. Jay, Tom and George associate cars with their place in society.

People choose to display their wealth in many different ways, and Jay Gatsby decides one way he can exhibit his wealth is with his car. He owns a 1928 Rolls Royce Tourer, described by Rambler Magazine as a “very expensive, luxury car, which is a definite symbol of status.” Jay Gatsby had no problem disclosing his wealth to the public, and the car he drove was just another way to express himself and his money to the masses. The symbol of the car as wealth is also important to Tom and George as they exchange words over a car that symbolizes their relationships with Myrtle. Tom offers to sell his car to George, but what “George does not realize is that Tom never intends to sell the car," according to the Metropolitan Opera. Tom eventually confesses to Nick that he believes George is “so dumb he doesn't know he’s alive.” Here, the audience sees how the car represents Tom’s deceitfulness and immorality. Cars today still represent wealth, materialism and status.

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