By describing the
as a dumpster for modern industrial wastes, Fitzgerald demonstrates the decay in human values that results from the competition for wealth. When Fitzgerald first introduces the audience to this waste land, the audience was immediately struck with its peculiar feature: “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat”. Farm is a source of food; and food is a source of life; by replacing food with industrial ashes, Fitzgerald eludes to how modernization is beginning to turn people away from humane characteristics. This point is further supported later in the story when Nick said: “Gatsby is reclaimed by the living dead, by George Wilson, the agent of the Valley of Ashes as well as the agent of Gatsby’s death.”. Indirectly, Fitzgerald clarifies that Gatsby did not die because of George Wilson the person, but rather because of George Wilson the agent of Valley of Ashes . George Wilson is a man who lives in this dumpster of industrial wastes, and he killed Gatsby, a wealthy man of a modern industrialized society. This is symbolic of how the production of wealth and money bring decay and death to Jay Gatsby. This can be seen as a punishment from a higher power that is unhappy with the path that humankind is taking. Valley of Ashes
Throughout the story, Fitzgerald repeatedly emphasizes the point that money is slowing taking over society as a whole, causing ethical and moral decay in the people. This is an important issue to consider because on a global scale, humankind is producing more than they can consume. Yet, there is still millions of people worldwide suffering from hunger and from lacking essential needs. Modernization was meant to improve living standards, but it has brought along the negative effect of people losing themselves in luxurious lifestyles, always wanting more. Capitalism’s ideal is to protect the people’s right to succeed and achieve the American Dream; its ideal rest upon the notion of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But in the pursuit of happiness via materialistic desires, people are losing their ability to be freed from irresistible luxuries.