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The Great Gatsby

             In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, symbolism adds depth to the story, without introducing confusion. Fitzgerald's symbols are large, concrete and obvious. Examples of this symbolism are the valley of ashes, T. J. Eckleburg's huge blue eyes, and the green light on the Buchanan dock which Jay Gatsby idolizes. The valley of ashes is "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."(23) The valley represents the moral disintegration of the roaring twenties by showing the barren wasteland which contains the byproducts of the pursuit of wealth and the American dream. "Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight." (23) This shows how one can get caught up all of a sudden in a cloud of confusion. They are just walking along, minding their own business, doing their day-to-day activities, and suddenly get caught up in an impenetrable mess. This happened to Nick. He was just minding his own business, and then he met Gatsby, who planned things for him without his approval or advice, and who basically used him to his advantage. Nick had no way out of this mess, but he did not really want one. He was the only person who cared enough to give Gatsby a proper burial. Another symbol in this novel is T. J. Eckleburg's huge blue eyes. "The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic- their retinas are one yard high. they look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.

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