The Role Played by the Valley of the Ashes

1012 Words Jan 30th, 2018 4 Pages
In The Great Gatsby, the Valley of the Ashes illustrate the inequality between its inhabitants and that of West Egg and East Egg, in terms of social standing and income, and the hopelessness of poverty resulting from the inability of its inhabitants to rise up the socio-economic ladder. This shows the failure of the dream that America promises, the ideal of equal opportunities for all, associated with the New World.

The valley is described as a “desolate” place where “ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills into grotesque gardens”. (21) Ashes that dominate the area take the shape of natural greenery. The term “grotesque gardens” uses alliteration, with juxtaposition; to highlight the odd pairing of ashes and greenery. Ashes are associated with death while ridges and “gardens” represent the potential to flourish and grow in the promise and ideal of equality as in “the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams.” (143) The trees that once stood here were able to speak to man’s dreams, which allude to America, the land able to speak to man’s dreams and capacity for wonder. All this is replaced by grey ash that suffocates the inhabitants, restricting them to their social class. This presents a bleak image of hopelessness that surrounds the valley. Similarly, ashes take the form “of ash-grey men, who moved dimly and already crumbling through the…
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