Please cite a few pertinent text passages in reference to my previous question about The Great Gatsby (see below). For what do New York City, the valley of ashes, West Egg and East Egg stand in...

Please cite a few pertinent text passages in reference to my previous question about The Great Gatsby (see below). 

For what do New York City, the valley of ashes, West Egg and East Egg stand in The Great Gatsby? In which way are they different from each other?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Although this question has already been aptly answered, I would be happy to provide a review as well as some significant quotes.  New York City is always an escape: an escape for Tom to frolic with Myrtle or an escape for the people of Long Island who hover amid boredom in their riches or an escape for Tom who has just found out Gatsby’s real intent with Daisy.  “’But it’s so hot,’ insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, ‘and everything’s so confused.  Let’s all go to town!’” (118).  “’All right,’ broke in Tom quickly, ‘I’m perfectly willing to go to town. Come on—we’re all going to town’” (119).  The first two paragraphs of Chapter 2 are the absolute best place to find quotes to support the symbolism behind the Valley of the Ashes, the symbol of vastly negative reality in America (sharply contrasted with the Eggs, of course).  “About half way between East Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land” (23).  In my opinion, the absolute best quotation is as follows:  “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” (23).  West Egg has always been the symbol of the “new rich.”  A good place to look for a text passage would be the early pages of Chapter 1 where Nick first describes it.  “I lived at West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two” (5).  Similarly, it is also a good place to find a text passage in reference to East Egg, the symbol of the “old rich.”  “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water” (6). 

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