Gatsby the valley of ashes annotation

ABOUT half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. 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 move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash−gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.

  • on the way to New York
  • shrink implies that the road wants to pull away from this area but can’t go far. its “creeped” by it
  • Desolate means “bleak emptiness”, not much happening, its unpleasant. The area doesn’t produce or grow.
  • valley= hole-like, ashes= Burnt out, dying. New York and other surrounding areas dump their ashes from the fire here.
  • farm, grow, garden all imply life, however Fitzgerald states that “ashes” are growing into things you might normally find on a farm. he also says the gardens are grotesque- ugly, disgusting, repulsive
  • ashes are forming everything. They are the only things that are growing and therefore Fitzgerald is trying to illustrate that the feeling of being “burnt out” has taken over this place.
  • beyond or above the range of normal human experience. These people live in a world where this is the everyday.
  • worn out, tired, you are going to break.
  • not easily understood, not the ordinary 
  • these words emphasis the creepiness of the art and give it a gloomy, paranormal feeling.
  • the dust and ashes that are drifting over the barren and obscuring sight





One thought on “Gatsby the valley of ashes annotation”

  1. Emma, it’s great to see you using your blog and I think the colour coding is an effective way to identify the way Fitzgerald uses words. Make sure that when we are doing this analysis in class, you add your own thoughts to this write up.

    Make sure you are posting your other work here on your blog so that I can comment on it.

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