Valley Of Ashes In 'The Great Gatsby'

Words: 1603
Pages: 7

Cierra Thomas


English 3BD

20 October 2016

The Great Gatsby

Literature is a reflection of life and its time as most novels settings and characters mirror the time period. Time periods play an important role as they set the social norms for the book and how the characters are portrayed. An overarching theme of The Great Gatsby is the pursual of the American Dream. Gatsby's American Dream was to gain Daisy back. Even with his overzealous attempts like his extravagant parties and tea time, this never ends up happening. Thus Fitzgerald is portraying the American Dream more like a scam, than something to strive for. As quoted on page of The Great Gatsby, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly
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The Valley of Ashes was not just a city; it figuratively signified much more than that. It represented cities across the entire United States during the 1920's. One definition of ashen is "devoid of color, pallid". This is certainly true of these cities. They were barren, lifeless, as their inhabitants just lived day to day. Fitzgerald himself was part of The Lost Generation, a post-World War I generation group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s ( The generation was “lost” in the sense that its inherited values were no longer relevant in the postwar world and because of its spiritual alienation, the U.S. seemed to its members to be hopelessly provincial, materialistic, and emotionally barren ( For Fitzgerald his experiences and thoughts of this generation materialized in the writing of The Great …show more content…
There were a few instances of social mobility that was normally unheard of during this time period- mainly in Chapter 4 a wealthy African American family being driven around by a White chauffeur and in Chapter 5 Myrtle pumps gas for Gatsby's car at the gas station. These were odd events to have happen as it transcended normal class behaviors and shows that thoughts/feelings were changing regarding African Americans and females. In the 1920’s poor race relations were at an all-time high, but the act of the African American family with a chauffeur foreshadows what would eventually happen years later: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 which was a paramount piece of legislation for African Americans that provided many new civil liberties. Before this new law segregation ("separate but equal") concerns were really in full force: Jim Crow law, the Ku Klux Klan, and Race Riots, amongst other issues. At this point Nick did not know what exactly would happen, but knew that this event was indicative that something significant was