Analysis Of The Valley Of Ashes In The Great Gatsby

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In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald many symbols are used to support the themes and characters. The Valley of Ashes is a symbol that represents death, poverty, moral decay, and the unattainability of the American Dream. It reveals a lot about the themes, such as the gap between the hollow rich and the hopeless poor, and the characters, like Myrtle and George Wilson’s lives and deaths. The Valley of Ashes was a dumping ground between Long Island, or the East and West Eggs, and New York City. Both neighboring places were lively and full of money, but the Valley of Ashes contradicts that description. It housed Myrtle and George Wilson, two characters that led lives in dependent on their surroundings. The Valley of Ashes represented more …show more content…
The Valley of Ashes symbolized moral decay of both the poor and the rich, Myrtle Wilson was so desperate to leave her life for one of wealth she sacrificed her morals- Myrtle had an affair with Tom. This is just one example of how the pursuit of wealth and pleasure led to the deterioration of morals. Furthermore, Fitzgerald uses an allusion to T.S. Elliot’s The Wasteland to explain this. The Wasteland is Elliot’s negative view of the world post-World War I with increased selfishness and immorality. Elliot attributes some the blame to the lack of religious influence over America. Fitzgerald uses the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg in the Valley of Ashes to reference this idea: George Wilson claims the eyes are God’s when he says, “‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you can’t fool God!’” (Fitzgerald 170). The rich were also subject to this decline of morality, as to avoid poverty, or escape their own Valley of Ashes, they were willing to bend their morals, as seen in Gatsby’s criminal activity. The Valley of Ashes symbolized the moral decay of the characters in the …show more content…
The Valley of Ashes represents the unattainability of achieving the classic American Dream. The people who want to leave the valley are trapped within their unchanging fates. Myrtle Wilson goes to great lengths escape the Valley of Ashes, but it only results in her death. The Valley of Ashes exists because the new industrialized cities use the area for wasteland, what once was a place that was full of possibilities has been burned out to ashes and lifelessness. The corruption of the valley directly relates to the corruption of the dream. The romanticized American Dream is no longer attainable as the Valley of Ashes

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