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The Great Gatsby

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Maya Lewis

on 13 November 2015

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby

Passage 1:
" This is a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like what into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses... with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air (Fitzgerald 23)."
Passages
Rhetorical elements
1. The imagery in passage 1 such as, " This is a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air", is used to create a sad and depressing tone because it makes you picture a rundown poor town with no type of energy or life.
2. Fitzgerald’s purpose with this passage is to explain that the valley of ashes was the home for people that had little to no money with no hope of acquiring the American dream. Also, the purpose of the trains running through the town everyday leaving ashes everywhere is to show that the odds are being pushed against the people who live there and they are just getting father and father away from the American dream. Fitzgerald wants the reader to fully grasp the living condition of the people in the valley of ashes and explain how it was unsanitary, small and just a hopeless excuse of a place to live compare to the people of west and east egg. Fitzgerald’s creates a since of hopelessness for the people of the valley of ashes to contribute to its description of a torn down wasteland and a failure in American culture.
3. Fitzgerald uses words like “solemn dumping ground” or “waste land”in the passage to make the reader feel bad for the people who live there because it shows sign that there is no hope and it helps the reader understand the big theme of failing to gain the American dream due to a society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Characterization
The Valley of Ashes’ impoverished, oppressive, and hopeless atmosphere best suits those who are people like Tom, Daisy, or Jordan, who live their lives doing empty, meaningless things; each of them growing increasingly careless of the world around them as time passes, and more focused on themselves. Understanding the characters allows us to further our understanding of how the American Dream continues to distort as time, and generations, pass, making it impossible to achieve, as people continue to grow more and more dissatisfied as they grow more successful. Some examples of indirect characterization are when Fitzgerald describes the valley of ashes, saying “of men who move dimly and already crumbling”, and “but his eyes, dimmed a
little by many paintless days under the sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground”. He includes these to create a hopeless and empty mood .
Historical significance
1.
- Fitzgerald lived the life that he portrayed in his book: There were scandalous young men and women, he also swam in public fountains, he rode to parties on the hood of taxis, he fought with waiters, and danced on tables.
- His way of living, also affected him in writing " The Great Gatsby", he wrote the best prose, drank the best wine, he knew the best people, he went to the best parties, and basically lived thinking he had unlimited amounts of money.
-His life represented the fulfillment of the American Dream and it ended in a nightmare of wasted talent and debt.
2.
- Great Gatsby is set in New York City and on Long Island during the early 1920's, in two areas known as "West Egg" and "East Egg".
- The valley of ashes is a virtual wasteland of the industrial products produced in New York City, in which places and people seem dead spiritually and symbolically.
Valley of Ashes
The Great Gatsby
Passage 2:
" But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground (Fitzgerald 24)."
Passage 3:
" The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land, a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it, and contiguous to absolutely nothing (Fitzgerald 24 )."
Theme
1. In Passage 1 Fitzgerald says " ... of men who dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.", the rich have made their money on industry and carelessly tossed the waste, resulting in this gray, poverty stricken stretch of land. The people and the place matter not at all to those who selfishly left their waste for others to live in and deal with, a consequence of the American Dream.
2. Fitzgerald utilities imagery and descriptions to describe the behavior and attitudes within the sorcery of the location. This is shown in " The Great Gatsby" when Fitzgerald says the valley of ashes is " ... dimmed a little by many paintless days, under the sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping brood". He also uses metaphors and similes to describe the " Valley of Ashes" .


Symbolism
1. The " Valley of Ashes" between West Egg and New York City consists of a long stretch of desolate land created by dumping of industrial ashes. It represents the moral and social decay that results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure. The " Valley of Ashes" also symbolizes the plight of the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty ashes.
2. The rotting valley represents the rotting American Dream. It represents the lost hopes and dreams of people who have failed to live up to the American Dream.
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