What Does The Valley Of Ashes Symbolize In The Great Gatsby

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Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, a literary device which authors employ to create meaning in their stories. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is set in the Jazz Age, a period of great social change that is very much symbolized throughout the novel. Fitzgerald’s self-obsessed and ignorant characters perfectly encapture the moral corruption of the era. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald employs the billboard, the green light, and the valley of ashes as symbols to advance the plot of the novel as well as to elevate the quality of the novel. One symbol Fitzgerald employs is the green light. In the novel, Gatsby lives in West Egg, directly across from East Egg where Daisy and Tom live. Daisy is the great love of Gatsby’s life, whom he lost to Tom. During a drive with Jordan, Nick learns why Gatsby chose to live in West Egg. Jordan tells Nick, “‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.’” …show more content…

Eckleburg. The long-abandoned billboard showcases a pair of spectacled eyes that look out over the wasteland where George and Myrtle Wilson reside. “But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg” (Fitzgerald 26). These eyes symbolize the eyes of God as they survey the decline of the morality of those living below. The eyes watch on as Tom cheats on Daisy with Myrtle, as well as when Daisy kills Myrtle by running her over with Gatsby’s car. Fitzgerald possibly pushes this symbol through the character of George. “. . . I took her to the window—’. . . ‘—and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you can’t fool God!’” (Fitzgerald 170). George knows about his wife’s infidelity and confronts her about it, all in the view of the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, or,

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