Level 1 English

Your task is to write your own paragraph about the Valley of Ashes and What it represents about the American Dream. 400 words approx


Throughout The Great Gatsby, a novel written by F.Scott.Fitzgerald, The Valley of Ashes symbolises the failure of the American Dream. This novel has represented the failure of the American Dream and the real goal;to simply survive. “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.” This quote from chapter two introduces the reader to The Valley of Ashes. From the beginning, the Valley of Ashes is presented to be a place for the poor. The ashes resemble the death of the American Dream (although many, such as Mr Wilson, are blind to the ash). The piles of ashes showing generations worth of the failed dream. It has built to form houses and chimneys as more people move to the Valley of Ashes, the American Dream continues to stay out of their grasp and goes up in smoke. ‘The fantastic farm’ is worked on by the people, and here the wheat grows like ridges into hills cutting off access to the outside world. The wheat has created grotesque gardens of ash and failure, where people who fail are dumped like ashes to the world. Grotesque meaning repulsively ugly, a place where people don’t want to be and can only dream of getting out of, hence the American Dream. Mr Wilson and Myrtle, like many others, work hard as men who move dimly as if half alive, and covered in ashes and transcendently dream of an escape from their barren lives. But never will they leave for it is a place that is not to be left by any means. This was shown by Myrtle, as she became closer and closer to getting out of the Valley of Ashes fate stepped in and she was murdered. This all shows how F.Scott Fitzgerald has intertwined, from early on (chapter two) that the American Dream in the Valley of Ashes was already at an end due to its social standing to the outside world.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. This is really good. Make sure you capitalise “D” in Dream. 🙂

  2. Hey Ella,

    Great start. You clearly express the symbolism behind the VOA setting in the beginning of your paragraph and have selected relevant quotations to analyse.

    I want you to look at clarifying some of your explanations around how your selected quote develops the symbolism of the VOA. In places, your explanations are underdeveloped.

    I also want you to check your understanding of what the wheat is in the selected quotation as your explanation makes it seem like wheat grows into hills, which is incorrect.

    Mrs. P


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