Compare Nick's description of "the valley of ashes" in The Great Gatsby to his description of the Buchanan's house.

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Although Nick Carraway emphasizes many different features in describing the forsaken land he calls a “valley of ashes” near the Wilsons' garage and the Buchanans’ lavish home, one underlying similarity is important for the novel’s development. Both locations are artificial and devoid of genuine human emotion. Both descriptions make extensive use of sensory images, especially color.

The valley of ashes is described as gray and barren, including things like “lead” that are naturally gray. Nick ironically calls the heaps of debris “gardens” and emphasizes the futile toil of men who do not grow anything. With the concept and the phrasing, Fitzgerald is evoking T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland.” Tom and Daisy ’s home, in contrast, is described in bright, living color as “red and white” and “rosy” and as “gold” and sunlit. The house, which is “even more elaborate” than Nick thought it would be,...

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