About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat . . . where ashes take the forms of houses. . . .
But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic. . . . But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under the sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.
I have been drunk just twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon; so everything that happened has a dim, hazy cast over it. . . . I sat down . . . to read a chapter of Simon Called Peter—either it was terrible stuff or the whiskey distorted things, because it didn’t make any sense to me.
‘Neither of them can stand the person they’re married to.’ ‘Can’t they?’
‘Can’t stand them.’ She looked at Myrtle and then at Tom. ‘What I say is, why go on living with them if they can’t stand them? If I was them I’d get a divorce and get married to each other right away.’ ‘It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.’ Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.
I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the Park. . . . Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.