What Does The Valley Of Ashes Symbolize In The Great Gatsby

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In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, many people are living the American Dream. Dancing the night away at Gatsby’s extravagant parties and lavishing themselves in loads of money. While everything may seem pleasurable and perfect for the people of West and East Egg, it is not the same for the inhabitants of the Valley of Ashes. In The Great Gatsby, the symbols of the Valley of Ashes show how the American Dream is not always such a grand dream and the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg symbolize God in a desolate place. Beginning with one of the most recurring symbols in the text, the Valley of Ashes shows a stark contrast of poverty and dull lifestyles compared to the lavish and posh lives in East and West Egg. The Valley of Ashes is like the ghost to a failed American Dream. Instead of a beautiful landscape, the setting is made up of dark and depressing figures: “ashes take the forms of houses. . . men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. . . grey cars. . . gives out a ghastly creak” (Fitzgerald 27). Another way that shows the Valley of Ashes is the bad part of the American Dream is how instead of growing something beautiful from nature there are “. . . farm[s] where ashes grow like wheat” (27). This passage describes how nothing …show more content…

T. J. Eckleberg. The big eyes on the billboard symbolize God. In the billboard, the eyes “look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose” (27). The fact that the eyes are not situated on a face indicate a similarity with God having no clearly described physical features. All anyone knows is that God is all seeing, knowing the deeds of all people as Wilson says “God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you can’t fool God!” (167). While Wilson says this he is looking at the billboard of Dr. T. J. Eckleberg, expressing his belief that the billboard represents

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