Wasteland In The Great Gatsby

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Vivian Nghiem Mrs. Brothwell English 3 23 May 2012 Ruin Vale Imagine a land where dreams fade to dust, where hopes ride on falling ashes, where skeletons of extravagance pile higher and higher on an increasingly confining wasteland, and where God stares eternally down from faded boards hammered into the sky. Within The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald creates a land forgotten by a lavish society baited on extravagance. Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s chosen narrator of The Great Gatsby, refers to this gray, pass-through acreage as the valley of ashes. It is in this desolate wasteland that the ideal of God is mocked with a faded billboard depicting a long passed optometric practice, that people cling onto dreams already ripped from their…show more content…
Mainly, while, “a white ashen dust …veiled everything in the vicinity,” (Fitzgerald 26), Myrtle Wilson is the one resident in the valley of ashes that does not merge into the bland scenery. The reason Myrtle is not as lifeless as her husband, is due to the fact that Myrtle wants extraneous accessories, and because she has Tom’s money to help clutch onto her hopes for those wants to become a reality. Pelzer says, “Myrtle is …the victim of the very world she aspires ….when she lies dead in the road, her chest torn open to expose her heart,” (Pelzer 88). Myrtle loved Tom, and she loved the glimpse at her wishes becoming a reality that Tom provided. However in the end, Myrtle is killed, and her heart is left open for all to see, only to finally blend into the dust she had rebelled against for so long. Gatsby, on-the-other-hand, though he lives in West Egg, also has his dreams robbed by the valley of ashes. Because of his connection to Myrtle through the Buchanans, Gatsby dies at the hands of George; whose hopelessness epitomizes the very personality of the valley of ashes. With Gatsby’s death, Fitzgerald reveals that even though one may not have ever come into contact with the waste that materialistic society expels, the waste created by commercialism can and will at times strike when the blow is least

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