In Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, the narrator describes the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg: But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive,...
In Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, the narrator describes the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg:
But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.
Why does he say "after a moment"?
In The Great Gatsby, the Valley of Ashes through which Tom Buchanan drives is a great grey wasteland of the material from industries, a wasteland evocative of T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Wasteland." In this poem, Eliot bemoans the degraded mess that post-war culture has become. Fitzgerald, greatly affected by this poem, includes this concept in his novel in order to also suggest the waste that occurred during the Jazz Age--not only a waste of industrial resources, but a waste of human resources spent upon the accumulation of material possessions.
This waste of the human potential is symbolized by the dust through which one can see only "after a moment" when this waste settles. When this dust finally comes to rest, the eyes of Dr. T.J.Eckleburg, faded and disappointed from looking at such a waste of American resources, rest upon the highway and Wilson's garage.