The Valley Of Ashes – Annotation – The Great Gatsby

ABOUT half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash−grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.

But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.

  • On the way to New York 
  • Shrink away implies that the road wants to pull away from this area but cant go far. Its “creeped” by it. Desolate means “bleak emptiness” , not much happening , unpleasant. the area doesn’t produce or grow.
  • Valley of Ashes: valley – hole like, Ashes – burnt out dying. NY and other surrounding areas dump their ashes from their fires. Its a dead place.
  • Farm, Grow , Garden , all imply life how ever Fitzgerald states that ashes are growing into things you might normally find on a farm  he also says the gardens are grotesque
  • Grotesque- Ugly and repulsive.  
  • Ashes are forming everything , they are the only things growing. and therefor Fitzgearald is trying to show us that this feeling of being burnt out has taken over this place.
  • Transcendent, beyond or above the range of the normally human experience. – These people live in a world where this is the everyday.
  • Worn out, Tired , crumbling- about to break apart.
  • Obscure operations – not really knowing what is going on. 


One Comment

  1. Josie, it is clear that you know how to use your blog! Your colour co-ordination skills are on point!

    Make sure you are adding to this write up and developing some of the ideas the class discuss. Put your own spin on it!

    Please make sure your other work is uploaded to the blog so we can all see it!


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