The Desolate Landscape of the Valley of Ashes

The valley of ashes

One of the settings in this passage is the “valley of ashes” that lies around half way between West egg and New York. The description of the valley is of which everything is old and it also shows the ugliness of the valley. The valley is also known as the waste land, as the people just dump their waste there. It is built and formed up by ashes; ashes are usually used to show the remains of something once well.

Thus I feel that the valley of ashes got its name because it is used to symbolize a much lower status of wealth as compared to the west egg or New York and that the people living there are the much poorer people.

The valley of ashes is also a stop that people will definitely stop by as they are travelling from West egg to New York, it can be as short as one minute to as long as half an hour.

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From there they can see the valley; they can see how bad or undeveloped the place is. However I feel that this is also like a transition stage between West egg and New York.

The garage in the valley of ashes

Another one of the setting is at the garage in the valley of ashes. “The interior was unprosperous and bare”, this showed that the place was really run-down and no one actually bothers about the design and layout of the place, thus fitting into the valley of ashes as it is where a much lower class of people live.

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“only car visible was the dust-covered wreck of a Ford which crouched in a dim corner” this showed that the garage does not have any frequent customers and that the last someone wanted to buy a car was a long time ago as the car was covered in a layer of dust. Further this can be backed up by “when he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes” this showed that indeed there wasn’t any customer for a long time and he felt happy seeing us as this means that he may actually be able to sell off the car.

Doctor T. J. Eckleburg

“The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic – their irises are one yard high” from this I feel that it seem as if Doctor T. J. Eckleburg eyes are like god looking over the valley regardless of the weather and time. God is like using the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg to look after the people at the valley. I also feel that it also symbolizes nick the narrator eyes, as he is the one that has the overall picture of what is actually happening. While the other characters in the novel are either influenced by one another, or they have their own views and not being able to understand the whole situation in a fair way.

Another way I see the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg is that it is like a sense of hope for the people staying at the valley. Like I have said, Doctor T. J. Eckleburg eyes can be perceives as god watching over them, “blue and gigantic” here can be used to relate to the sky as the sky is blue in colour as well as in bondless. “Yellow spectacles” the colour yellow here also can be used to relate it back to the sky, yellow can be like the sun the source of hope for the people. The people in the village can know that there is someone constantly looking out for them and that they too can look towards god for hope and a change.

Wilson - the owner of the garage

Introduction of Tom the character is near the scene when the garage is introduced also. “The interior was unprosperous and bare” this is actually referring to the interior of the garage itself, but I feel that it also reflects the character of Wilson and his personal wealth status. Thus, it also shows that Tom is more superior to Wilson who is “unprosperous and bare”.

Tom gives me an impression that he likes to flaunt the fact that he has a mistress. “Taking hold of my elbow, literally forced me out of the car” this shows that he did not even ask nick whether he wanted to go and see his mistress. He just forced nick out of the car and brought him to see his mistress. I feel that he is a very proud guy also as he doesn’t feel that there is anything wrong with having a mistress. He is also seemed to be a very daring man. At the garage, just when Wilson went away for awhile, he quickly took the opportunity to ask his mistress out to meet him on the train as he wanted to see her badly.

Wilson was the owner of the garage, he was a spiritless man. He gives me the impression that he is much of a lower status than tom. He thinks that he is much more inferior to tom. After tom replied coldly towards him, he quickly rebutted back to explain himself; this clearly shows that he fear of offending tom. He also gives me the impression that he is afraid of his wife and very obedient to her. His voice faded off halfway while he was talking, because he realizes that his wife was approaching them. Also with just one sentence from his wife, he quickly and immediately went to fulfill her orders of getting chairs for tom to sit on.

Tom mistress seemed to be a controlling wife as she has the control over her husband, Wilson. Her entrance thru the garage gives her a very lady-like atmosphere around her, which not many ladies would still be able to do it. She also gives me the feeling that she does not give her husband respect, she just walked passed him as if he was a ghost and talked to him without even looking at him. Thus showing that she does not give her husband the respect he needed and just go towards tom and “looking him flushed in the eyes”.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

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The Desolate Landscape of the Valley of Ashes. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The Desolate Landscape of the Valley of Ashes essay
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