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Metaphor and Symbolism in The Great Gatsby The Valley of Ashes / The American Dream. Rollins AP Lang, Spring 2014. Symbolism . Symbol : a thing that represents or stands for something else, esp. a material object representing something abstract.

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metaphor and symbolism in the great gatsby the valley of ashes the american dream

Metaphor and Symbolism in The Great GatsbyThe Valley of Ashes / The American Dream

Rollins

AP Lang, Spring 2014

symbolism
Symbolism
  • Symbol: a thing that represents or stands for something else, esp. a material object representing something abstract.
  • We assign meaning to symbols. Thus, the symbolic meanings of an object or action are understood depending on when, where, how, and by whom they are used.
    • For example, a chain could symbolize unity/strength or imprisonment.

http://literarydevices.net/symbolism/

the valley of ashes
The Valley of Ashes
  • Read the article by Roger Starr.
    • What was the actual ‘valley of ashes’? What does it represent in The Great Gatsby?

http://www.litkicks.com/InGatsbysTracks#.UuP-K9LnZdh

the american dream
The American Dream
  • Read “Are the Rich Happy?” by Stephen Leacock
  • What is the ‘American dream’?
    • The dream, according to Fitzgerald: individualism, discovery, the pursuit of happiness
  • What is the ‘American dilemma’?
    • Consider the extravagance/excess of the Jazz Age
the american dream in gatsby
The American Dream in Gatsby
  • Discuss Nick’s attitude in chapter 9
      • [Klipspringer] was one of those who used to sneer most bitterly at Gatsby on the courage of Gatsby’s liquor…” (169)
      • “After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that…” (168)
      • “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy…” (179)
  • How do Americans idealize ‘success’ (power/wealth/leisure)?
  • How does Gatsby idealize his dream (Daisy)?
  • How does the unworthiness of the objects ruin these dreams?
d angelo s book club
D’Angelo’s Book Club
  • Watch the clip from The Wire, beginning at 0:16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DOy4hCih7w
  • What is Fitzgerald saying about 'The American Dream' in the ending of The Great Gatsby?
  • How do you interpret the final line of the novel?
    • “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly back into the past.” (180)
        • How would your opinion of the novel change if the book ended with Gatsby and Daisy living happily ever after? Although that ending might be a “happier” ending, would it be authentic? Would it make the book better? Why or why not?