The Great Gatsby
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Chapter 2

Chapter two begins with the thorough explanation of the outlook of the “valley of ashes.” A location is a far-end place that is located between New York City and the Eggs. The area also serves as a dumping place for all the ashes that are collected from New York. Thus, the area is covered in what is deemed to be grey dust. Nick provides a vivid description of the area. He talks about the large billboard pf Doctor T.J. Ecleburg that appears to be fading. He looks at the two large eyes of the doctor which appear to protrude from his yellow spectacles.  Tom and Nick are detailed to be taking a train to New York City. Tom has the intention to have a stop at the valley of ashes. He plans to introduce Nick to his “girl.” The lady is known as Myrtle Wilson. She is wife to George Wilson, who is a garage owner. The garage is described as “unprosperous bare.” The lives of the Wilsons are simple, a case that Myrtle appears to detest vehemently.

A few minutes later, Myrtle appears out of the garage. She holds a ruse that she is planning to meet her sister in New York City. She, thereby, joins Tom inside the train. The three take a taxi out of the New York train station. Myrtle insists on them having a stop to buy a puppy from one of the street vendors. She states that the dog will be good for the apartment. The three are readily joined by Catherine and some of her friends, including Mckees. They all start drinking excessively. Soon, all of them become quite drunk. Myrtle only pays some little attention to the puppy as a form of showing off a new accessory that she has acquired for her apartment. As they continue with the party, Myrtle starts to complain about her own life. She also goes on to complain about the life that Tom is experiencing in his marriage to Daisy. Tom is quickly angered by the fact that Myrtle has mentioned Daisy’s name. He quickly strikes her, breaking her nose. That marks an abrupt stop to the party. Nick, after that, decides to take a train, in the early morning, back to Long Island.


The valley of ashes is hugely deemed to be a symbolic place. It is, therefore, identified to be covered with a waste of capitalism. People are concerned with the pursuit of riches. The novel, thereby, details some of the damages that are realized as people are so much concerned with finding a way to look for riches. The eyes of Dr. Ecleburg overlook the ashes are the eyes of Dr. Ecleburg. The eyes of George Wilson are also referred to as the eyes of God. The fading of the eyes, thereby, shows that the aspect of religion and spirituality is not existent in the area. Thus, the novel aims to point out that the aspect of corruption and immorality have taken root in the land.

The valley of ashes also brings about the aspect of the motif by showcasing geography as a way of differentiating the various social classes that are available. The author, therefore, uses a contrast between the Eggs, the valley of ashes and New York in a bid to represent a vivid socioeconomic difference that lies between people of different classes. He is keen to diverge the element of class, critically analyzing both the lower class and the upper-class individuals. The author also details the difference between the Wilsons and the Buchanans clearly by using an illustration of the gathering that was present at the garage of Wilson. George seems to be comfortable with the position that he holds in life. His wife, Myrtle is, however, more concerned with having a better life. She loathes the current situation that they occupy in their lives and wishes for some of the changes that may come about She holds the belief that she has a chance to lead a more satisfactory life that may enable her to taken note of some of the elements that are important for her. He has high expectations of reaching a point in time where she may acquire some level of attention and opulence that she has wished for in a long time.

Once the party has started, Myrtle changes from the wife of a poor garage owner to what she believes to be a wealthy socialite. Although she seems to have copied the behavior she puts forth from somewhere else, she appears to be fully committed to approaching a form of life that may enable her to gain the level of affection that she has yearned for long. She has managed to create for herself a fantasy and is fully committed towards its realization. The concept is well showcased in the event where she manages to get a puppy. She appears to have engaged in what may only be termed to be a frivolous purchase. She surely did not need having a puppy, and the money spent towards that end would be deemed to be mere waste. The puppy holds no meaning to the life of either Myrtle or Tom. Although the group present is fully aware that Tom and Myrtle are having an affair, no one within acknowledges the immorality of the behavior.

In spite of the façade that Myrtle had set up, it is clear that she does not have enough energy to lead a life that she is fully concerned with. She, thereby, starts to chant the name of Daisy, Tom’s wife, while drunk. Tom becomes angry and hits her, breaking her nose. The act only helps to remind Myrtle of the place she holds in the life of Tom, both regarding social class and marital status. Through the action, Tom also manages to showcase how brutal he can be. 

Have study documents to share about The Great Gatsby? Upload them to earn free Studypool credits!