Symbolism of Maycomb with The Valley of Ashes in 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott FitzgeraldHow do you feel these two geographical locations compare in terms  of American Society ?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While there does not appear to be much correlation between these two geographical locations, if, however, one considers the setting of the Maycomb courtroom only for the purpose of comparison,  moral decadence is apparent in both locations.  Certainly, there is an immorallity and a myopia to the viewpoints of the majority of the townspeople regarding the Tom Robinson trial which may reflect the eyeless image of Dr. Ecklebury who presides over the Valley of Ashes where there are no spiritual values, a place where Myrtle Wilson is killed and where industries deposit their waste.   

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your discussion post caught my interest because I had never thought to compare the two, but then I thought of the Valley of Ashes--a huge trash heap of sorts--and the Ewells' house close to Maycomb's dump. Both are places where no one wants to live or even visit. Similarly, both locations are the homes to women, Myrtle Wilson and Mayella Ewell, who long for a different sort of life and who are willing to do whatever they can to escape.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I really appreciate your thoughtful consideration of such diverse places, and I concur with your analysis.  My only other thought is that the Ash Heaps are"guarded" by the rather invisible force (but constant presence) of poverty; Maycomb is also "guarded" by an invisible force (but constant presence) of racism.  Best of luck with your analysis!

lit-eng | Student

thanks :) i had just finished re-reading the two books before exams and started to consider how the two settings came to symbolise  central societal issues both authors are calling to attention. For instance the valley of ashes represents, like Maycomb, the division of people based on illogical rationality (ie. race, new v old money and so on). But furthermore, both geographical locations are depitced as places were enviromental factors take their toll on the community (description of George Wilson, harshness of the heat in Maycomb)

when deeply analysed there a multitude of commonalities

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