Values, Themes And Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby GEOGRAPHY Throughout the novel, places and settings symbolize the various aspects of the 1920s American society that Fitzgerald depicts. East Egg represents the old aristocracy, West Egg the newly rich, the valley of ashes the moral and social decay of America, and New York City the dissolute, amoral quest for money and pleasure. Additionally, the East is connected to the moral decay and social cynicism of New York, while the West is connected to more traditional social values and ideals. Themes: The American Dream "Whereas the American Dream was once equated with certain principles of freedom, it is now equated with things. The American Dream has undergone a metamorphosis from principles to materialism." - John E. Nestler,…show more content…
Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter 1 he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is broadly associated with the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that more generalized ideal. In Chapter 9, Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation. THE VALLEY OF ASHES First introduced in Chapter 2, the valley of ashes between West Egg and New York City consists of a long stretch of desolate land created by the dumping of industrial ashes. It represents the moral and social decay that results from the dissolute pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure. The valley of ashes also symbolizes the difficulties of the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty ashes and lose their vitality as a result. THE EYES OF DOCTOR T. J. ECKLEBURG Another dominant symbol within this novel is the billboard eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg which is in the middle of the valley of ashes, right next to Wilson’s garage staring at the waste that careless capitalism has
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