The Great Gatsby chapter 2 notes



  • "romantic readiness"- defined by something intangeable
  • "heightened sensitivity to the promises of life"
  • "related to one of those intricate machines"
  • "an extrodinary gift for hope"
  • "something gorgeous about him"- aura
  • symbolises wealth/richness, dreams, evilness, freshness, bright but deadly, the awakening of his dreams, how unreachable his dreams are, supernatural? 


  • "ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenitrable cloud, which screens their obscene operations from your sight"- upper class making it difficult for people to move up social ladder, keep the lower classes ignorant
  • "leaden"- shows how much effort goes into making the lower classes stay in their station
  • "his eyes...colourless dumping ground"- society itself is a performance, social life is always watched, jazz age, inescapeable
  • "ashes take the form of houses"- abscence of home, emphasise isolation+ ashes as living forms
  • "groteque gardens"- direct contrast to Beauchanan's garden
  • "a desolate area of land"- resonance with no-man's land
  • "a solemn dumping ground"- shows how careless members of the upper classes are as they have destroyed, what the reader can tell, used to be a thriving ecosystem, through industrialisiation
  • "ash-grey men"- ghostliness
  • "ash"- destruction, life in death, sickness, withering, judgements, malnourishment
  • "grey"- dominant ephiphet, decay, abscence, loss, depression, lack of life- in direct contrast to growth/life/"vitality" + green light
  • "painles"- describe the days- metaphorical person behind the glasses has turned numb as a result of the destruction
  • "dismal scene"- as if valley itself is a place of mourning
  • Dr T.J.Eckleburg's eyes- judgements, symbolisim of death and decay of modernity/capitalisim- billboard= theological/religious symbol, advertisements
  • Valley of ashes= headonisim/counter to the Jazz age of partying and drinking, critique of the priorities of the jazz age
  • Headonisim( abstract noun) /headonistic (adjective)= the pursuit of pleasure/self indulgance
  • shows how Fitzgerald's society doesn't care about destroying anything that is beautiful/could potentially be beautiful- left the eyes to become weather worn also shows carelessness
  • could show how the society itself is like a performance as it is aware  that the eyes see everything, especially as it has not bothered to cover them or take them down


  • "a blond spiritless man, anaemic and faintly handsome"
  • "a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes"
  • "wiping his hands on a piece of waste"
  • "spiritless"- lack of life, depressed/miserable, ill, tired, lack of energy- given up, ambitionless, lacking "vitality"
  • "anaemic"- white, cold, ill, sickly
  • "faintly handsome"- just about handsome, not eye-pleasing, pitied/a pitiful presentation, matches environment
  • "damp gleam of hope"- muted, struggling
  • Conversation with Tom= economic desperation
  • "unprosperous and bare"
  • Wilson embodies the valley of ashes
  • cars= metonym- represent people
  • "wreck"- carelesness of society, lack of movement


  • "walking through her husband as if he were a ghost" + "without turning around spoke to her husband"- relationship with Wilson
  • doesn't like the life she has- trying to get out of her class- despises her husband
  • "fainty stout"
  • Fitzgerald- beautiful people can't die
  • She has hope "nerves of her body were continually smouldering"
  • more mature- contrasts with…


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