Chapter 2

Some things to look out for in


(Form, Structure, Language)

The Valley of The Ashes

  • T o gain some insight into the contemporary literary scene, read T.S. Eliot.‘The Hollow Men’, ‘Prufrock’, ‘The Wasteland’
  • Consider the importance of Eckleburg with regard to advertising and God
  • Note the symbolic significance and descriptive power of the colour grey, ash, etc


  • Sensuous Description: wet lips 18; the argument; disappears with Tom
  • Voice: Course voice contrast Daisy
  • Furniture – symbolism and significance of Versailles 20, 25
  • Catherine as an intradiegetic narrator: s/he is already a character in a narrative that is not hers.  Conveys info  through dialogue.  (Nick is a homodiegetic narrator in that he is a character in his own story who knows no more than he finds out)
  • Materialism 31, 38 / acquisitiveness
  • Use of clothes.  Her personality changes with clothes 21
  • Interaction with Mrs McKee 21
  • Myrtle’s own viewpoint through dialogue e.g. ‘you can’t live forever’ 24
  • Language e.g. ‘creaking pivot’ ‘mincing shout’ 21


  • Gleam of hope 17.  Anaemic, spiritless 17.  ‘white ashen dust veiled his dark suit’ 18. Note the symbolism

Myrtle’s Party

  • Parody of Daisy’s
  • Nick’s reactions and observations: The dried lather 25; The sky ?; Enchanted and repelled 24; artificial laughter 24; The Tribune 26


  • Physical: hits Myrtle. ‘literally forced me from the car’ 17,
  • Cold 17, decisive 19,
  • Rude: ‘yawned audibly 22,


Also see:

Chapter 3 Notes

Chapter 4 Notes

Chapter 5 Notes

Chapter 6 Notes

Chapter 7 Sample essay

Chapter 8 Guided reading 


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3 thoughts on “Chapter 2

  1. Thanks a lot this was very helpful, will definitely use this site again for concerns regarding my English literature work 😀 P.s. I am a A Level English literature student..


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