Valley Of Ashes Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

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In The Great Gatsby, the tone of the “Valley of Ashes” scene can be best described as solemn. Fitzgerald uses imagery and symbolism in order to display the way that the Valley is full of empty hopes and dreams. Fitzgerald uses imagery to give a picture of the desolate wasteland that is the Valley of Ashes. He explains that the valley is a “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens.” This tells us that everything in the valley is really nothing more than ashes, and it is all worthless. The people who are eternally bound to the valley are described as “moving dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.” This gives us a picture that these people, who are essentially dirt poor, move…show more content…
One of the symbols embedded into the Valley of Ashes is the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckelburg. They’re described here; “their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose.” These eyes, which are on a billboard, symbolize almost a god-like form watching over the valley, and also West and East Egg. Now the Valley of Ashes itself symbolizes the desolation and despair of many of the characters throughout the book. One of the other symbols of the Valley of Ashes is that it is called a “solemn dumping ground.” This suggests that the valley is a place for everyone to dump their despair and desolation, so they can put up a façade of happiness and content. When the train stops at the drawbridge the passengers can stare at the “dismal scene” for as long as 30 minutes. The valley seems to almost suck the happiness out of people and turn it into this disparity that is inescapable. In conclusion, we see that just in the scene with the Valley of Ashes that there are many instances of symbolism and imagery used interchangeably. These devices are not only used here but throughout the book, along with many more rhetorical devices. Fitzgerald had a purpose in the use of all the devices, whether it was implicitly or explicitly

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