Monday, April 11, 2011
As Fitzgerald describes, Gatsby's car was a ''rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns'' (68).
Symbolically, the mustard car is a personal representation of Gatsby himself. The excess attributes of the car, with the supper-boxes and tool-boxes etc...mirror Gatsby's own over-the-top display of material wealth and social status.
Fitzgerald adds that Gastby's car was ''labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns.'' Undoubtedly, that it glows in the sunlight further emphasizes Gatsby's obsession in showing off his wealth, but it also creates another effect: Because it mirrors the sun, it reflects something other than itself; in other words, it fails to be its own thing because it rather imitate what is already there. Thus, Gatby's car is a material representation of his own hidden and secret identity.
That the luxurious yellow Rolls-Royce causes his downfall (because he is thought to be the one to have killed Myrtle) therefore comes as no surprise. His fake identity makes him an impostor to high society, and the costume and props he take on can only work for so long. Because the car is directly connected to his own identity, the fact that the car crashes only foreshadows Gatsby's own downfall.