The valley of ashes in Great Gatsby symbolise the failure of the American Dream. The valley of ashes is a long strip of waste land that runs between New york and Long Island. Those who live in the valley of ashes are constantly let down by the dream, as they are working harder than most but can never become anything more. This shows the failure of the American Dream because it is meant to mean “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” – James Truslow Adams.
“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 men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air…”. By calling the valley of ashes ‘grotesque’ its is emphasizing how run down and poor the valley of ashes is because grotesque means comically or repulsively ugly or distorted. Also by the author F Scott Fitzgerald saying how the valley of ashes is a ‘Fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens’ he is alluding more at the fact that Long Island and New york not only turn a blind eye towards those struggling in the valley of ashes they make it even worse by dumping all their waste products there. This makes it even more impossible for the Valley of ashes to ‘grow’ into a better place, it is only making it into a bigger badder place. New Yorkers and Long Islanders were a massive reaspn why those in the valley of ashes lived the way they did and I think that this part of the quote sums up the characters in New York and Long Islans at the time really well. They were all so careless and only cared for there own pleasure and what was best for them. It was clearly obvious that those in the valley of ashes were just as run down as the place the were living in, we know this by the section in the quote that highlights this by saying ‘men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air’. Everyone relied on those living in the valley of ashes but were never there to repay the favour and help them.