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Read the following description of the Valley of the Ashes.

“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 ash-grey 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.”

What does this area symbolize in the novel?


The Valley of Ashes symbolizes all of the waste in modern society and the fact that no one thinks about what happens to the things they throw away.


The Valley of Ashes represents the decay that results from the pursuit of wealth and the poverty that exists in the shadow of that wealth. It is symbolic of the “carelessness” of the rich in many ways.


The Valley of the Ashes represents Gatsby’s past and how he wants to forget where he has come from.


The Valley of the Ashes represents infidelity and the lack of respect characters have for marriage and relationships.


The Valley of the Ashes symbolizes the past and a time before great wealth led to the large homes and lavish parties of West Egg and East Egg.

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