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Crucible and Gatsby

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Ezra Pound once said "Artists can sometimes communicate a message through few words. It is through symbols that they most powerfully convey their ideas." By this quote, Pound meant that adjectives and adverbs will only take you so far when trying to get an idea across. When it comes to the art of literature, symbols reoccur and last longer in the reader's mind. Because of this, some of the most remarkable parts of a work of literature revolve around an object. This is true for Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Arthur Miller's The Crucible, as they use symbolism and imagery to support and deepen their ideas throughout their works.

An example of a remarkable symbol would be the car Daisy killed Myrtle with in The Great Gatsby. After learning about Tom's affair, Daisy runs over Myrtle. Fitzgerald explains that Myrtle was hit so hard, her breast detached from her. This means that Myrtle's chest would have been split from the crash. The reason why the car is so significant, is because the car symbolizes how Daisy split Myrtle's heart by getting in the way of a potential relationship with Tom, and eventually ending Myrtle's relationship with Tom by killing her. Fitzgerald then uses imagery when telling the reader that the car Daisy killed Myrtle with is green. Even though a green car may seem irrelevant, the color adds to Daisy's characterization. Since Daisy was in a green car, the color green engulfed Daisy. Considering the color green stands for jealousy, Daisy's motive for killing Myrtle were initiated by the jealousy that engulfed her. By Fitzgerald's use of symbolism with the car, you learn more about Daisy's character, and receive an alternative reason as to why Fitzgerald added Myrtle's death into his plot.

Another notable symbol would be the poppet Abigail gave to Elizabeth in The Crucible. Abigail made herself the puppet master by giving Elizabeth the poppet, and while Elizabeth was in possession of the doll, Abigail was the one who was playing with Elizabeth's life. Abigail gave the poppet to Elizabeth as a scheme to frame Elizabeth into witchery. Abigail placed a needle in the poppet in order to frame Elizabeth. However, the needle that Abigail put in the poppet, symbolizes the harm Abigail put into Elizabeth, and her husband, John's relationship. Miller uses the imagery of a needle in a doll to show the uncomfortable situation going on in the love triangle he placed in his plot.

The car in The Great Gatsby and the poppet in The Crucible are great example of a how artists can convey their ideas, because each added onto more than one meaning for the work of literature they were found in. Even though Fitzgerald and Miller both use excellent vocabulary to enhance dialogue and setting, both writers are ideal examples of Pound's quote.



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