How does the Valley of The Ashes affect the people who live there?

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The Valley of the Ashes is a desolate place. The giant, faded eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg on an old billboard hover over the landscape. It is described as a place halfway between New York City and West Egg. It is a wasteland, characterized by great heaps of ash making a grotesque sort of city of ash. The eyes of Doctor Eckleburg suggest that someone (God?) watches over this landscape, so opposite from the lush world of mansions not far way: people might want to forget this land, the underside of the American Dream, but it is not forgotten.

George Wilson is a pale, faded, abject man struggling to make a living with his garage in this barren place. His poverty seems to have beaten him down. The white dust of the ash appears to have penetrated him. Nick Carraway describes him as

 a blond, spiritless man, anaemic, and faintly handsome. When he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes.

His wife, Myrtle, seems determined to create a life with Tom outside of this depressing place. Tom says it is good for to get out the Valley of the Ashes:

"It does her good to get away."

It's hard not to agree.