Practise Paragraph – The Valley of Ashes and how it relates to the American Dream

Throughout the novel ‘The Great Gatsby’, the Valley of Ashes is a location that alludes to the idea of the failed American Dream. The Valley of Ashes is this place that everyone who’s dream has been let down seems to end up. The American Dream is an idea where everyone equal and have equal opportunities. However, the people living in the Valley of Ashes have never had the same quality of life as those in West or East Egg. We are first introduced to the Valley of Ashes when Tom and Nick are driving through it towards Manhattan. It is first described as a “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens.” This description begins to shape our image of what this piece of land may look like. The word “grotesque” means distorted or ugly , very much like the reality of the American Dream. It is distorted into a perfect idea when in reality it is quite ugly. The fact that “ashes grow” enhances that the let down of the American Dream is constant. There are always more people who’s dreams are being letdown as time goes on. When he says “where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke”, it shows that there are mounds of ashes that occupy this area. These ashes also almost represent the people living here’s failed dream, and how all their lost dreams are piled on top of each other like a pile of ashes. The line “with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air”, shows how tired and hopeless the people living here are. How they work hard to try accomplish their dreams, however they will always be stuck in this poverty. Fitzgerald has described this area in a way that makes us feel repulsed by the place and the people that live there. However, these people’s dream has ultimately just been let down. They haven’t been able to accomplish their American Dream so therefore fade away in the Valley working for nothing.

2 Replies to “Practise Paragraph – The Valley of Ashes and how it relates to the American Dream”

  1. Hey Keria!

    Would you mind if I borrowed your writing during tomorrow’s lesson? I think it would provide a stimulating discussion for the class and you with some valuable feedback on where to move forward from this point.

    There are some really strong moments in this paragraph- well done!

    Mrs. P

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