An Analysis of The Valley of Ashes and The Eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg as symbols in The Great Gatsby
The 1920s are generally regarded as a decade of cultural and economic prosperity. The American economy boomed following the end of World War I, becoming an industrial powerhouse because as the other countries were building themselves back from the rubble, America was implementing policies of “laissez-faire”, promoting business growth under minimal regulation. As the rich became richer, the poor also became poorer, given. The bustling life of a plutocrat was rarely complete without his share of moral discrepancies. The lives of businessmen were rigged so much that outsiders who sought for success and wealth found it difficult to escape from their social class. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the Valley of Ashes and the Eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg as symbols to parallel the desolation and moral decay present in the 1920s as well as to portray the American Dream as a futile quest. The Valley of Ashes is a historically, and geographically accurate location in New York City. Between West Egg and Manhattan laid this barren wasteland. The infertile state of this area was brought upon by a garbage disposal project run by The Brooklyn Ash Removal Company. During the 1920s, the city of New York did not own enough land to dispose of all the waste it was producing. For this reason, it paid some businesses around the city for the right to dispose the excess waste onto their land, one of these tracts being located in the Valley of Ashes. The ashes accumulated in the land from the coal burners used to burn the garbage. In the 1920s, coal was used more than oil or natural gas. It is interesting about the Valley of Ashes is that today the area has been transformed into Flushing Meadows Park, where Shea Stadium and the Billie Jean King Tennis Center have been built. In fact, the project to completely renovate the area may have in fact been partially initiated...
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