“The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by a small foul river, and when the drawbridge is up to let barges through, the passengers waiting trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour. There is always a halt there of at least a minute and it was because of this that I first met Tom Buchanan mistress. ” While people are waiting for the train, between West Egg and New York they are surrounded in a place where Fitzgerald names the “valley of ashes. The opening chapter of the Great Gatsby details the rich and American values. The second heaper Is where the valley of ashes Is Introduced. Fitzgerald portrays this landscape In such specific words that helps the reader capture the ambiance of the plot. The valley of ashes influences the reader to feel Like It Is a metaphor for the world today, some people can be stuck In this world but feel nothing. All the glitz and glamour can surround you , however, you may still be able to feel dead Inside.
The word choice In this paragraph Is very significant and It Is Important to analyze each word, which all emphasize the desolation of the landscape and society. The first four words of the arcograph caught my attention right away. This is the first time Fitzgerald introduces the valley of ashes. A question that came to mind when name the valley of ashes was introduced, why did he choose those specific words to describe the place? Why is it so significant if they are just ashes. Also why ashes?
Whose and what were they once? These questions really made me wonder as to what deeper story is there to the valley of ashes. Fitzgerald goes into depth describing the place but not how it got its name of valley of ashes. In addition, the name of the valley of ashes is a foreknowing for Myrtles death that takes place there later on in the story. Myrtle dies in the valley of ashes. She gets ran over by daisy driving the car in such a horrifying way because her body was ripped apart and she died in such pain.
This makes a lot of since as to how she died that way because the valley of ashes is all dark, dusty, and gloomy so I was expecting a tragic way of her death due to where she was while it took place. In addition, the next few words ” the small foul river” really caught my eye, considering that foul is a very strong word and gives me a negative vibe made me feel as if the deader would get negative vibes if the reader were there by themselves Furthermore, when I think of the word river I picture a beautiful long lasting, peaceful, calm, and full of life.
Whenever someone thinks of a river the first thought to mind Is not usually a foul river. Rivers are usually a source of beauty in poetry. Foul also suggests a lack of life whereas rivers are usually portrayed as opposite. When reading this paragraph the read might feel as If Fitzgerald chose the right word to describe the river that would be in the valley of ashes; this phrase Is what really made me picture he valley of ashes as a very dirty and dark place. The term foul may suggest how no one lives In the valley of ashes and barley any people stop there.
Furthermore, when Fitzgerald mentions the drawbridge and the train he tries to use this to show the reader old vs.. New. The only middle ground Is nothingness, emphasizing the “desolation” of the landscape. The word dismal Is a very strange word to connect with the paragraph because It made me wonder what kind of people would Walt and look at this stop? And when they stopped and looked how would it change their outlook? ND wondering having so many questions, how come it is in between two lively cities and the middle is so dead? Why is the train stopping here?
The next phrase that jumped out to me was ” at least a minute. ” If it were not for that one-minute he wouldn’t have even known her and she would have meant nothing. This showed me that nick had a lack of value for the human life; he mentions Tom’s mistress as if no importance to his life. In addition, the last three words “Tom Buchanan mistress” takes the reader back to where Fitzgerald was foreknowing at the beginning of the novel. The placement of these two words in relation of to the beginning of the book may foreshadow the events to come.
Perhaps the decadence in the time period reflects how people were trying to ignore the past of WWW. As WWW starts off society begins to realize all the glamour is coming to an end. Fitzgerald asserts that ashes represent something already burned, which may symbolize WWW. The people stuck at the train station may insinuate that society is still stuck in the desolated mind set. This shows that society might not be ready for what is to come due to their avoidance of the past lessons and inability to learn from their mistakes.