Chapter 2 Gatsby blog notes


Describe the "valley of ashes". What does it look like? What does it represent? Does it communicate something about the society which Fitzgerald presents?

  • part of a road which goes beside a railroad, incredibly dusty, nothing there except "the eyes of Doctor T.J.Eckleberg"+ a small river with drawbridge that lies across, lifts up to let boats go through- everything decaying and grey
  • "the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscene operations from your sight"
  • "ash grey men" represent upper class/bussiness men part of soc- "stir up an impenebtrable cloud", used to describe how diff for lower classes to move up social ladder
  • metaphorical cloud "screens their obscene operations from your sight"- upper class do things lower classes and reader are oblivious to
  • spades= "leaden"- how much effort goes into making sure lower classes stay in station+ stay none the wiser about what actually goes on their society
  • "his eyes, dimmed a little by many painless days...brood on over the solemn dumping ground"
  • Nick describes valley as "solemn dumping ground"- how careless members of upper class are, destroyed what could have been valley with thriving ecosystem through industrialisation
  • days = "painless"- metaphorical person behind glasses has turned numb as result of destruction
  • valley itself is place of mourning "dismal scene"
  • shows Fitzgerald's society doesnt care about destroying anything that is/could be beautiful
  • left Eckleburg's eyes to become weather worn- carelessness of society
  • eyes could show how society is like a performance- aware that eyes see everything- not bothered to cover/take down
  • eyes= worshipping advertising as if God

How are Wilson and Myrtle different from Tom and Daisy? Is this shown in the language used to describe them or the way they interact with other characters/each-other?

  • different in ways- shown in language used to describe
  • Nick describes Wilson as "blond spiritless man, anaemic and faintly handsome"- Tom in chap 1, "sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercillious manner"- Tom is superior to Wilson, "supercillious" compared to "spiritles"
  • Tom "standing with his legs apart on the front porch" compared to Wilson "wiping his hand on a piece of waste"- difference in status- Wilson has been working, Tom taking it easy looking out to garden
  • difference in greetings- Nick meets Tom, Tom greets with a look that seems to say "Now don't think that my opinion on these matters is final...just because I'm stronger and more of a man than you are"- Nick meets Wilson, "when he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes"
  • Wilson finds hope in interacting with others, Tom finds pleasure in intimidating others
  • Wilson+Myrtle interact diff to Tom+Daisy
  • Myrtle is…


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