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Reynolds7 Roland Reynolds Mrs Halbrook English III 14 May 2000 Symbolism in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby is one of the most symbolic works of literature written this century and to truly understand the book one must first understand its symbolism The characters the cars they drive the colors and even the peoples names all have some type of symbolic meaning These symbols add a quality to the novel that sets it apart from other works Though there are many symbols throughout the novel the three most significant symbols in F Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby are the Valley of Ashes the eyes of Dr T J Eckleburg and the green light at the end of the Buchanans dock all of which add texture to the plot while serving as the novels main ideas One of the most important symbols in literary history is the Valley of Ashes The Valley of Ashes is a desolate and lonely area of land about half way between West Egg and New York This deserted area is no more than a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens where ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally with a transcendent effort of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powderly airFitzgerald 27 The valley is full of foul dust that floats in the wake of Americans dreams the waste of spiritual resources exploited in a desperate effort to sustain that impossible and disastrously circular thrust into the future and the waste of spiritual resources exploited in the service of vast vulgar and meretricious beautMoyer 223
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