What Does The Roaring Symbolize In The Great Gatsby

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Symbolism in the Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, takes place in the 1920’s. This time period in history is often referred to as “The Roaring Twenties” due to the lively and exuberant popular culture of the decade. For the first time there were more people living in cities than on farms and there was an immense amount of economic prosperity. During The Roaring Twenties many people began to stray from traditional morals and standards and created extensive social change. For example people defied Prohibition and participated in new styles of dancing and dressing, thus defining the most popular symbol of the Roaring Twenties, a flapper. Unfortunately, economic prosperity was not all inclusive.. During The Roaring…show more content…
The novel begins with Nick commenting on and characterizing his judgements, morals and standards. He then mentions the “hero” of the story, Gatsby, and says, “Gatsby turned out all right in the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men (Fitzgerald, 2). Dan Seiters, an author and literally critic, suggests that the “foul dust” Nick refers to in this statement is symbolic of the valley of ashes. Seiters describes the valley of ashes as a “metaphor symbolic of a land that produces only dust and death” (6). The valley of ashes is first mentioned in chapter 2 as a “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens” (Fitzgerald, 23). The valley of ashes consists of a stretch of land created by industrial ash dumping. This long stretch of ashes resides between West Egg and New York City so travelers from either place must cross this horrible place that is symbolic of death. The valley of ashes also symbolizes the terrible conditions of the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty

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