According to the Holy Bible, "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (Nelson 1653). F. Scott Fitzgerald apparently agreed with this biblical concept in writing the novel The Great Gatsby. Throughout The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses a great deal of symbolism in order to illustrate how the honorable pursuit of true love and happiness can be obstructed by the immoral pursuit of money. Fitzgerald uses aspects of the setting, characters, and various props (e.g., the green light and the oculist's billboard) to emphasize and represent how Gatsby's obsession with Daisy causes him to solely focus on appealing to her materialistic mindset, rather than winning her heart in a more traditional and noble manner. .
Initially, in The Great Gatsby, the symbolism begins with two cities, East Egg and West Egg, which are separated by The Valley of Ashes. Fitzgerald uses the cities and valley to represent three distinct classes of wealth. As the book opens, Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story, just moved to New York to work in the bond business. Nick lived in West Egg, which unlike the conservative, aristocratic East Egg, is home to "new money". Old money East Egg is characterized by lavish displays of wealth as well as gaudiness and loose morals. Nick's humble abode, a comparatively modest West Egg home, lies next door to Gatsby's enormous, new money mansion. Across the bay from Gatsby's mansion is Tom and Daisy Buchanan's elaborate architectural masterpiece that they call home. The Buchanan's are the epitome of old money; both are well-known socialites of East Egg. Vastly differing from the two other cities, The Valley of Ashes, is a working-class neighborhood lying between the old and new money cities. Fitzgerald's Valley of Ashes, which could be described as a virtual dumpster for modern industrial waste, essentially certifies the decay in human values that resulted from the competition for wealth.