Valley of Ashes paragraph

The valley of ashes is a setting in the great Gatsby that illustrates the failure of the American dream. James Truslow Adams once stated that “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” Through Fitzgerald’s development of the setting, The Valley of Ashes, he presents the idea that the American Dream has failed. It is a setting where people who work hard live but these people never reap the rewards of their hard work. Opportunities to live that better, richer, fuller life never present themselves to the people of the Valley of Ashes. As Nick (our narrator) travels through the Valley he notes it is a “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens…” Farm, wheat and gardens all suggest growth and development but by putting the word grotesque in front of the word gardens which means ugly or distorted, gives us the impression that the valley is fantasy and unbelievable. In reality, the Valley of Ashes has nothing going for it and the people who live there strive for growth and development but in reality they are stuck living the same life their entire lives. “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”. The ashes make up everything including the houses and chimneys. The people who live there have no motivation or energy as they know they cannot get out of the Valley of Ashes no matter how hard they try. When it says already crumbling it is as if they have already given up and the way they move and their presence reflects where they live as they put in so much effort an get so little out of it.

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