This sample of an academic paper on He Was A Blond Spiritless Man Anaemic reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
In the second chapter of ‘The Great Gatsby’, Fitzgerald introduced a new setting, the ‘valley of ashes’ to the novel. Unlike other settings of the book which is often linked to wealth and prosperity, the ‘valley of ashes’ is a depiction of poverty and desolation. This can be seen by the Fitzgerald’s description of the place itself as ‘a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens’.
The setting itself also reflects on the heavy pollution which is evidently a consequence of capitalism, the so-called American way of living. This further delves into the era of the book whereby the industrial revolution played a huge role in the capitalist economies. The use of phrases such as ‘powdery air’, ‘ash-grey men’ and ‘impenetrable cloud’ portrays the high degree of pollution within the setting itself.
The setting is also the home to the only poor characters in the novel.
The ‘valley of ashes’ as a setting has a symbolical meaning to it. The setting contrasts with the wealthy and affluent lifestyles of the East Egg and the West Egg which were both introduced in the previous chapter. The West Egg and East Egg was described to have glorious and grandiose mansions while the ‘valley of ashes’ was depicted as desolate and filled with pollution.
From the passage, it states that the area is located half way between the West Egg and New York. The West Egg represents the ‘new money’ which shows the social climbers within society. Similarly, New York City represents the quest to achieve the American Dream where one baths in pleasure and wealth. However, right in the middle between the two, lies the ‘valley of ashes’, representing moral decadence hidden beneath the façade of wealth and the American Dream itself. The setting emphasizes on the immorality involved in the achieving of the American Dream and its corruption. It also symbolizes the immoral journey that social climbers take to achieve their wealth.
In the ‘valley of ashes’, a huge billboard of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg peering over the area with his gargantuan blue bespectacled eyes strikes a sense of enigma in the readers’ heart about the place itself. The monstrous eyes ‘brood on over the solemn dumping ground’ probably represents society’s judgmental observations on the corrupt natures within society itself. The brooding eyes may also symbolize God looking down at the moral decadence rooted in the 1920s with dismay. The phrase ‘But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain’ place emphasis on how men had pushed away God as moral decay within the society spreads. As result, it reflects on the fading connection men had with God before and how the role of religion within the society of the 1920s was slowly rotting away.
The second chapter also introduced two new characters, Myrtle Wilson and George Wilson. The depiction of the characters within the passage was based on Nick’s observations and perspectives. His lack of judgment in his observation gave the readers the confidence and trust to believe Nick’s retrospective view of the characters. This gave the narration a more omniscient effect to it. However, in his depiction of characters there was a hint of unreliability to it. Nick says ‘I think…’ shows uncertainty in his observations, which projects his narration as slightly imperfect. George Wilson was depicted by Nick Carraway as ‘a blond, spiritless man, anaemic and faintly handsome’. He worked as an automobile mechanic working in a garage in the ‘valley of ashes’. As a character, he represents desolation and poverty unlike Tom Buchanan who exudes wealth and power. In the passage, George was portrayed as rather subservient and passive to both Tom and his own wife, Myrtle. Through the phrase ‘When he saw us a damp glimmer of hope sprang into light blue eyes’, it depicts George Wilson’s dependence upon Tom through the false promise of business ‘to sell [him] that car’. This exposes the unjust system of the 1920s American capitalist system which depicts the affluent having the ability to control the wealth of the poor. He was also depicted as a weak disrespected man. His own wife, Myrtle showed much disrespect to him as well by ‘walking through her husband as if he were a ghost’.
In addition to that, from the passage, we can tell that Tom was having an affair with Myrtle. George’s wife Myrtle was portrayed as a ‘faintly stout’ and ‘thickish figure of a woman’ with ‘rather wide hips’ and a face which ‘contained no facet or gleam of beauty’. The description depicted Myrtle as a rather plain and unattractive woman in Nick’s eyes. She is a complete antithesis of Daisy Buchanan, Tom’s wife. In the first chapter, Daisy is depicted to be ‘like a flower’ unlike Myrtle who was unattractive. However, Myrtle had an ‘immediately perceptible vitality’ which contrasts with Daisy’s passive nature. Myrtle was further portrayed as domineering as she commanded her husband to ‘Get some chairs’. This shows that she had authority over her own husband, unlike Daisy who passive toward her husband Tom. However, the marriage between her and her husband is depicted as lackluster. She walks through her husband ‘as if he were a ghost’ which illustrates her lack of love and respect for her husband.
Lastly, throughout Tom Buchanan was portrayed heavily in an ugly presentation. Initially, he was depicted as short-tempered and controlling. Nick mentioned that ‘he’d tanked up a good deal at luncheon and his determination to have [Nick’s] company bordered on violence’. This illustrates Tom as a person who would resort to violence to achieve what he wants. Tom was also clearly revealed to be unashamed about his infidelity through his nonchalant actions and speech to George Wilson calling him ‘old man’ and ‘slapping him jovially on the shoulder’. He ‘intently’ states ‘I want to see you… Get on the next train’ shows the blatancy of the affair. His actions and speech amplifies his arrogant attitude. This practically symbolizes the so-called immorality and moral decadence hidden beneath the façade of the aristocrats in the society.
In conclusion, the passage above introduces the setting and indirectly portrays the moral decay within the social hierarchy. The moral decay is further exemplified by Tom Buchanan’s portrayal in a negative light. The setting also shows the social gap between the affluent and the desolate. The portrayal of the relations between Tom Buchanan and George Wilson reinforces the idea of the less wealthy being controlled by the affluent.