The Importance Of The Settings In Novels

1763 words - 7 pages

“It’s pretty, isn't it, old sport?”(Fitzgerald 53), hollow words that describe an era precisely. The Great Gatsby is a wonderfully depressing novel about a man who literally made a name for himself and died in search of the American Dream. It was set in the Roaring Twenties, also known as the Jazz Age, a time about dynamic subcultures all around the world, and their grand art, social lives and music. This book is set by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the North East of the United States, New York, and Long Island known as West and East Egg. Setting is very crucial element in any novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the setting of The Great Gatsby in a very graceful manner. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald utilizes setting such as “The Valley of Ashes,” Gatsby's grand mansion, West and East Egg. Fitzgerald uses these settings to express, symbolize and represent the current state of society and help the reader peer into the soul of the great Gatsby. His motivation to do this is to show the flawed and misconceived connotations of society's morality at this time.
Although we spent little time here in the novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald utilized “The Valley of the Ashes” to its fullest. In this novel “The Valley of Ashes” symbolizes a great number of issues of morality in this society. “The Valley of Ashes” was located between New York and the two Eggs. “The Valley of Ashes” is a barren wasteland made of the ashes of which were dumped there as a byproduct of various modern items and was polluting this area. Although the valley of ashes is treated as ““nowhere”, a place to be driven through on the way to “somewhere” by the characters from both East and West Egg.”(Angela D. Hickley 1), Fitzgerald riddles it with heavy symbolism. Fitzgerald uses “The Valley of Ashes” as a harsh representation of modern society and moral decay. “This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat…” (Fitzgerald) Fitzgerald uses this and the scene where they drive by to show the careless behavior of an immature rich society who carries a blind eye towards the destruction they are causing. “The Valley of Ashes” is also the resting place of the billboard of Dr. T. TJ Eckleburg. Fitzgerald uses this setting to comment upon God in this society, and how their morality has been lost over time. So much so that those the societies view of God has completely morphed. He expresses this idea through the situation between Wilson and Michaelis. Wilson continues on, "God knows what you've been doing, everything you've been doing...God sees everything.”(Fitzgerald 187) Wilson blankly stares into the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg as if he was staring into the eyes of God, he does not know that what he perceives as god, and what this society perceives as God in this time is actually the byproduct of obsessively materialistic views and the worship of money in this society. He does not know that “That’s just an advertisement.”(Fitzgerald 187) Fitzgerald also uses this wasteland as a symbolic...

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