Close Analysis of the Beginning of Chapter 2 of 'the Great Gatsby'

1032 Words Mar 12th, 2013 5 Pages
The valley of ashes

This close analysis is based around the passage at the beginning of chapter II of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The word ‘Egg’ in West Egg symbolises new life and renewal, the word ‘New’ in New York also symbolises similar ideas of a young, modernistic place. This is appropriate as the valley of ashes is the geographic midpoint between the suburbs and the city, between the two yet not part of either; as it is the home of the people left behind in the Roaring Twenties.

The sentence ‘the motor road hastily joins… land’ suggests the Valley of ashes is is home to the sorts of people the wealthy are content to overlook. This can also be seen : ‘men swarm up’, likening people to insects, implying they are
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As well as this ‘a small block of yellow brick’ uses the colour yellow to symbolise money, and this description reinforces the idea that there is very little wealth and money in this setting. This contrast with chapter one can again be seen.

The mention of some of the buildings here: ‘an all-night restaurant’ hints at the working class people living in the area, emphasizing the lack of wealth in the area. When Nick and Tom arrive at Wilson’s garage: ‘the only car visible was the dust-covered wreck of a ford’ – while cars symbolise the American dream, it is significant that the car in Wilson’s garage is broken and unused, as Wilson cannot achieve the American dream. This description contrasts with the description of Gatsby’s car: ‘It was a rich cream colour, bright with nickel’ - From this description it can be seen that the car symbolizes the grandeur of vision that Gatsby brings to what he touches and the rewards of the success of reaching the American dream.

Myrtle’s description means she seems to be very sensuous and full of vitality, 'she carried her flesh sensuously'. The word 'flesh' creates an image of Myrtle that she has excessive weight. This could be interpreted as saying slim and slender women are normally associated

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