Valley of Ashes- failed
New York- opportunity/illusion
`F. Scott Fitzgerald critics society through his language feature in the Great Gatsby Novel by using setting. He shows the idea of how the American dream is False (valley of ashes), illusion (New York) and corrupt (West Egg). The American dream is the dream that everyone is given equal opportunity and that achievements come with hard work and dedication. The dream that life will be successful. Fitzgerald displays through settings how this is impossible and a “dream”.
The Valley is a poor community in between New York and Long Island. It represents the failure of the American Dream. The reason why the valley of ashes refers to the failure of the american dream is because of what the people do and how they are rewarded. The people in the valley of ashes are hard workers. They work so hard in what they do but receive no reward. The stay in the valley and cannot escape. The valley of ashes is first described in the book as “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens.” This is said by Nick when he and Tom are travelling to new york. When nick says “fantastic farm” he is referencing to how the people work. For a farm to be “fantastic” all the workers have to put their effort in to make it successful. This term describes how the people work in the valley of ashes and how much effort they give. It describes that the people in the valley of ashes are really hard workers that put in great effort. “grotesque gardens” illustrates that the valley of ashes is a distorted and ugly community. It implies that the people in the valley are living the ugly side of the american dream. He also mentions ashes which is used to show the failure of their hard work and that it is growing and blocking the people from escaping. Another quote that references to the valley of ashes is “”But above the gray land and the spasm of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it.” THe gra land is the valley of ashes. This is because the valley of ashes is filed with dust and ashes which is grey. The “bleak dust that drifts endlessly over it” is the ashes dust. The dust of the ashes is representing still the failure of the people. This means that having the dust drift endlessly over the valley of ashes wil mean that it is blocking the people from escaping and living a life with achievements. It keeps them enclosed.
New York is a big city that represents opportunity and the illusion of the american dream. New york is the place where “anything” can happen. This is why it represents the illusion as people think anything can happen but that is false. A quote that describes the “opportunity that New York has is when Nick and Gatsby are going to New . Nick says “anything can happen now that we have slid over this bridge.. anything at all.” This quotes backs up my statement as Nick is saying that there is opportunity for anyone and that they will be able to achieve anything. It referring to that everyone will have an equal opportunity to achieve things and that anyone could do it.New york is presenting the illusion of the american dream as it makes the people think that they can achieve anything and that everyone will be able to achieve this with equal opportunities. This is the illusion as we know this is wrong because there are rich and poor in the world so the poor won’t get the same opportunities as the rich.
West Egg presents the corruption of the american dream. This is because the people who live in West Egg have cheated their way to the top. For example, Gatsby. He was a bootlegger (someone who sold alcohol illegally). This means that Gatsby has cheated his way to his money. The american dream is the idea that everyone has worked hard and have achieved lots. Gatsby hasn’t done this, he hasn’t worked hard and achieved lots, he has just cheated his way too the top and took the easy way. A quote that backs this is when Tom says “He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter.” This is how Gatsby cheated his way to the rich and the status he has. He hasn’t worked hard like the american dream should be so he has corrupted the dream. He has just took the easy way and sold something that was illegal and high demanded so he hasn’t earned his status. This corrupts the system of the american dream of everyone have worked hard to achieve there great accomplishments.
In conclusion, Fitzgerald presents his idea of how the american dream is just a “dream” through the different settings and the lifestyles and history those people have in those settings. He makes the american dream seem impossible as people will not always have the opportunity (valley of ashes) or people might cheat their way to the top (West Egg). This is the idea he has displayed through his language features.