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Valley of Ashes

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edley joyce

on 29 November 2013

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Transcript of Valley of Ashes

The Valley of Ashes
The valley of ashes
The valley of ashes is a lifeless place and a waste land located between New York and Long Island (or the 'eggs'). This geographical position of the Valley of Ashes shows that anyone traveling to New York or back to the eggs are needed to betake themselves through this valley.
Symbolism of the valley of ashes
and a wasteland.
It is lifeless
Significance of the 'eyes' of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg is a billboard advertising glasses located on the valley of ashes. Doctor T. J. Eckleburg's eyes are "dimmed a little by many painless days under sun and rain". Like all of the mentioned characters in
The Great Gatsby
, they have the same eyes with the advertising billboard, dimmed. They cannot see things clearly, which makes them blind. Gatsby, Daisy, Tom and others are blind because they focus too much on pursuing their dreams and desires which makes them unable to see the reality of life and their surroundings.
Although George Wilson is one of these blind people, he is different because he has strong religious faith. He believes that "God sees everything" through the "blue and gigantic" eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg watching over them. He believes that God knows every decision and choice that people make.
The effect of the valley of ashes to the characters and its relationship to the decay of american dream
The Valley of Ashes has a lot of symbolism:

Low status
- George and Myrtle Wilson are the only characters in
The Great Gatsby
living in the valley of ashes which makes them and the valley lower than the other characters who lives in Long Island and New York.

Death and destruction
- Ashes are powders formed from burned substances. Cheating and lying are associated to death and destruction because once this are piled up it can lead to either of the two. In The Great Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson is one of the characters who continually lies to her husband and cheats to be with Tom. Moreover, her death in the valley of ashes shows the pain that the valley produces to those living on it.
The high class people
(like Daisy and Tom) - Ashes are the formless bodies of those people whom are rich and powerful who has no souls. This shows immorality because they only care about themselves, they are selfish. They are like the valley of ashes, without their bodies, they are just dirt and unwanted to the environment.
The decay of american dream
- the people living in the valley of ashes wants to leave but can not because they belong to the valley. Like the american dream that the characters in the novels tries to pursue, they fail because of the infuences of the careless and selfish people.
The decay of social life
- People in the novel uses other people for their selfish needs. They join parties where they are considered uninvited but does not show gratitude to the host.
Although not all characters in The Great Gatsby live in the valley of ashes, each one of them are affected as their daily lives are associated to the valley when they passes by going to New York or Long Island.
To bring Daisy back to his life, Gatsby tries to gain a high social status. He becomes rich and famous for Daisy. He make parties every Saturday night for her too and through Nick he catches her attention. At the confrontation between Gatsby and Tom, Gatsby's secrets are revealed. He is not an oxford man and his wealth comes from selling illegal alcohol which is prohibited in America. He can do everything to impress her. For his love to Daisy, Gatsby takes the blame to the death of Myrtle in the valley of ashes after Daisy hits her. The death of Myrtle results to the death of Gatsby from the grief of George who wants revenge for his wife. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby himself signifies the american dream. He pursues his american dream but results to his own death. He shows optimism regarding to the success of his american dream but as he draws himself closer to be finally with Daisy, he also draws himself closer to his failure.
Wealth, Luxury and protection, these are the things that Daisy wants to have securely. She shows that she is a materialistic person. She has a "voice full of money' and is committed to two rich men. She does not know how to love truly as she is uncertain with her feelings towards Gatsby and Tom. Daisy says that she loves Tom but she "loves [Gatsby] too" . Whereas it only shows that Daisy has an infatuation towards Gatsby because she reunites with Gatsby who suddenly has an overwhelming wealth. The result of panic after the confrontation in the Plaza hotel makes Daisy hit Myrtle causing an immediate death. She does not admit her fault and remains in silence. At the end of the novel, she does not visit Gatsby's funeral whom she said she loves. Daisy is a "careless [person]," she escapes the issue that she makes. She is one of the characters in the novel representing the formless bodies of ashes in the valley of ashes because of her selfishness towards her desire of sure wealth.
George Wilson is one of
The Great Gatsby
's characters that is different from the others. Living in the valley of ashes hugely impacts George. The lifeless wasteland makes George loss his energy and enjoyment in life. George's mood is quite ironic because usually people in the 1920's are gay and celebrating but he is lifeless and prefers to stay at his house. His life focuses on Myrtle. Trying everything with his best, George wants to earn enough money to leave the valley of ashes and move to a better place for a better life with his wife. But, all of his efforts turns into a waste when Myrtle dies after a car hits her. After the sudden death of Myrtle, the crimes surrounding George and his grief leads him for a revenge. The religious George who is in grief becomes a killer of Gatsby, the man he thinks behind the death of Myrtle.
The life in the valley of ashes makes Myrtle Wilson experience the effects of the terrors and crimes that lies within the land and applies it to her life. To pursue her american dream, to be a girl of an upper class man, she learns to betray George.Myrtle shows low status socially and morally through her actions. She uses her situation in the valley of ashes as an escape to be with Tom. She commits herself into a sin against her marriage law with George. She is a liar, low and immoral. Her commitment towards the success of her american dream shows that she can be disloyal to George. However her actions results to her own death after she runs after an approaching car thinking it's Toms. Significantly, the death of Myrtle Wilson on the valley of ashes shows that she's from the land and her life belongs to the valley.
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