Symbols are crucial in the book
and they also permeate through the film but not on the same level. In the film it does not
become quite clear what the symbols stand for.
There are mainly three symbols: The Valley of the Ashes, The Green
Light, and Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.
The Valley of the Ashes stands for the theme of the corruption of the
American Dream by materialism. Words like "dust", "powder" evoke the
emptiness, the hollowness and the futility of America of the Jazz Age. The characters who
live in this valley are aimless, they do not know what to do with their time, life is
meaningless, devoid of purposeful idealism.
It is Wilson who epitomizes the failure of the American Dream. He is
clearly working-class, seems to be continuously sick and he is a loser in his marriage as