Valley Of Ashes Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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The 1920’s was a time where the rich were not afraid to flaunt their wealth. They held outrageous parties and spent their money on lavish things. It was a time where some people were living the ‘American Dream’, while others struggled to get food on the table. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby he displays the extravagant lives of the wealthy through the luxurious life of James Gatz, or Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald influences the plot and conveys themes with symbols such as a simple green light, an abandoned set of eyes watching over the American society, and a bleak gully of dark ashes.
One of the most important symbols that Fitzgerald emphasizes is a green light across the bay separating two landmasses, West and East Egg, in his fictional Long Island. The bay Gatsby peers
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Fitzgerald uses the valley of ashes to symbolize the lives and struggles of the poor and represents the decaying morals of the rich. Along the “compact Main street” found in the valley of ashes is George Wilson's car repair shop which is one of only three shops. George, and the other poor citizens are living among the ashes while Gatsby and the wealthy spend carelessly for their own pleasure. Fitzgerald uses the ashes as a symbol to describe that the ‘American Dream’ is truly dead. The people of Fitzgerald fictional Long Island in the 1920’s longed to live like Jay Gatsby, and they did whatever it took to be that way. Myrtle Wilson desired to redefine her place is the social hierarchy by having an affair with Tom Buchanan, yet her choices turned her fate into death. In the end Gatsby who many thought was living the true ‘American Dream’ too found himself dead lacking the support and love for others. Fitzgerald attempts to show the reader the faults in the characters with the valley of ashes, society moves forward leaving others in the dust and always wanting
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