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what do the glasses represent in the Great Gatsby?

the glasses on the billboard

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Bill F. | Experienced Teacher & Tutor in Round Rock, TXExperienced Teacher & Tutor in Round Roc...
5.0 5.0 (1 lesson ratings) (1)

Eyes + glasses means that he watches over everything that goes on around in the valley.  His glasses have yellow rims which symbolize being corrupt, in two different ways:  all he sees is corruptness, and he sees through the eyes of someone who is corrupt.

Joseph F. | Experienced writing instructor, journalist, published authorExperienced writing instructor, journali...
4.9 4.9 (61 lesson ratings) (61)

Consider what glasses do: sharpen images; provide clearer focus; even changes the appearance of the wearer. Consider, too, where the billboard displaying the ad is located overlooking the valley of ashes, almost God-like. Focus on the entire scene when determining what it means, not just an isolated image. There are a variety of motifs from which to choose: corruption, dishonesty, power, desire. See which one works for you. 

Elizabeth D. | Ahh English: the comprehension, reading, writing, editing, and grammarAhh English: the comprehension, reading,...
People have interpreted those eyes in all sorts of ways, but I believe they resemble the eyes of God and/or judgment.  Within the description of T.J. Eckleburg, Nick notices a lack of facial features, which supports that idea, because no one can put a real face on God or judgment.  It's to big for us to recognize and comprehend.  The giant eyes watch over the dirtiest, poorest setting in the book, the Valley of Ashes, constantly watching the corrupted, hypocritical characters pass through without a care or thought for the people living in the Valley, a not so subtle sign of their selfishness.  Tom only stops at Wilson's garage for Myrtle, and guess who's peeping through the window.  Those eyes represent an observation of lies and adultery as well as the most violent scene of the book.  I also think it's interesting that T.J. Eckleburg seems to serve the purpose of a completely objective point of view: no facial features or dialogue, just large, watchful eyes, which contrast Nick's smaller stature almost as a lesser person than T.J., because Carraway's point of view is a subjective and possibly unreliable point of view.  Although Fitzgerald never directly discusses the death of the American Dream, as Nick and company attempt to live out their own personal American dreams, Eckleburg's eyes watch the destruction of them all. 
Kevin S. | DePaul English Major offering expertise in writingDePaul English Major offering expertise ...

The glasses represent a way of looking at things with clarity. Much of the events in the story are unreliably narrated by Nick Carraway, who is often intoxicated or swayed by the materialistic desires of those around him. Think of what a lens does, it allows you to view things. The glasses provide an "all seeing eye" over the world of the story. Consider not what Nick Carraway is seeing, but what these glasses see.

Valerie F. | You CAN, I will helpYou CAN, I will help

The GOLD or YELLOW rim of the eyeglasses in The Great Gatsby represent the desire for wealth and materialistic things - specifically gained through corruption.   The presence of glasses represents moral blindness.