In the novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there is an important theme in the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. These eyes watch over the events and characters of the novel like the eyes of God. Many things happen in front of the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg, like the vehicular manslaughter of Myrtle. There is one quote in particular that describes the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg. This quote has many different meanings to the reader, depending on which way you pick it open.
This quote goes ‘… above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic – their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose … But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground. ; (27 – 28)
The eyes of Dr. Eckleburg are really a billboard for an optician in Queens, however, if you start at the beginning, they mean so much more than that. We see that the setting of the novel is described as a very dismal place, lacking hope, dark and brooding, when Fitzgerald calls it ‘gray land’; that ‘drifts endlessly. ‘; Then, all of a sudden, the bright eyes of Dr. Eckleburg appear on the horizon. The blueness and the size of the eyes give the reader a sense of the sky, and heavens with God in them.
The lack of a full face also gives you idea of Godliness because in society we are never really given a good description of what God looks like. Also, the color yellow in the glasses of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg gives the idea of sun, which brings us back to the idea of the sky. Only this time, we get a sense of hopefulness from the eyes to combat the sense of despair from the land surrounding them. The eyes being described as dimming over time gives the illusion of loss of hope due to the bleakness of the area.
The idea of the eyes being out under the sun and rain gives lends a thought to the fact that God is watching these characters, in good times and in bad, and no matter how terrible the setting gets. These eyes, the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, represent many things to the characters in this novel. He represents, hope, despair, and God, all while staring over everything these people do from a billboard. This quote helps show all of these representations at the same time.