The Great Gatsby -The Valley of Ashes versus Tom's House

The Great Gatsby -The Valley of Ashes versus Tom's House

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is, at first sight, a novel about

wealth, idealism, and social class. However it soon reveals its author’s true

intensions and ideals. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses symbolism to produce

immense emotion. He not only uses it on the characters but on the places

and even objects found in the novel. Two example of symbolism and what

they truly represent are, The Valley of Ashes and Tom and Daisy’s house.

The Valley of Ashes was first introduced in Chapter II, its located

between West Egg and New York City, it consists of a long stretch of

desolate land created by the dumping of industrial ashes. It represents the

moral and social decay that results from being part of the lower class, as the

rich only worry for their pleasures. The Valley of Ashes also symbolizes the

unfortunate conditions of the lower class, like George and Myrtle Wilson,

who live among the dirty ashes and lose their durability as a result. In other

words, The Valley of ashes can also be referred to as “the symbol of failure

of the American dream”.

Tom and Daisy’s house is a fairly large and well elaborated colonial

mansion, located on East Egg, the rich and prestigious side where only the

people who are “truly rich” live, not the ones that have made their fortunes

themselves. Tom and Daisy’s house is spacious, just like their marriage, but

it has nice furniture and antiques so that it appears to be comfortable and old

fashioned, and anyone would assume that a happy family lives in it. Tom

and Daisy, like the house, are not really happy, or in love, but they have all

the right properties and conveniences to cover up the real situation, their

huge marital problems.

Fitzgerald’s description of Tom Buchanan’s huge house not only symbolizes

his marriage but Tom and his values. The red and white colors in the

mansion represent his personality. Red in this case is an example of impurity

and boldness, while white represents Tom’s superiority towards others. This

huge house represents nothing but Tom and Daisy’s marital problems and

Tom’s arrogant attitude.

This two places and its inhabitants at first glance appear to be very

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different but once you analize them you realize than even though the

Buchanan’s and the Wilson’s are from two different branches of social

status, they are both clearly unhappy with their marriages and are now

suffering the consequences of marring someone for their money and social

status. Both of these places are nothing but symbols of their lives and

marriages. They do are located in two totally different places but both of

these places in the novel functions as a larger representation of the

characters that inhabit them.
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