How does Fitzgerald's description parallel the description of the "valley of ashes" setting itself in The Great Gatsby?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fitzgerald's writing style matches the reality of the valley of ashes - the sentences are long and complex, just as the territory seems to stretch on and on. The predominant word is "gray" - covering the cars, coating the people, filling the air. Ashes are everywhere, filling the environment just as they fill the descriptive language.

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.

Fitzgerald's choice of words is very graphic and effective at creating an understanding of what the valley looks and feels like, but they aren't particularly unusual words in and of themselves. Like the valley, the language is plain and straightforward - the impact is in the great amount of repetition of the gray ash which envelopes everything and everyone.

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The Great Gatsby

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