She begins her affair with Tom Buchanan after he sees her on the train and later presses against her in the station:. Myrtle's role in the story isn't as large as Daisy's, Gatsby's, or Tom's. With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. While both characters are willful, impulsive, and driven by their desires, Tom is violently asserting here that his needs are more important than Myrtle's.
To see Myrtle's life events alongside those of the other characters, check out our timeline of The Great Gatsby.
Our citation format in this guide is chapter. Unlike Gatsby, who projects an elaborately rich and worldly character, Myrtle's persona is much more simplistic and transparent. This echoes Nick's view of Myrtle as a woman and mistress, nothing more—even in death she's objectified.
For example, we get the sense Myrtle loved her husband when they got married, but has since been disappointed by his lack of cash and social status, and now feels stifled by her twelve-year marriage:. Especially given that one Daisy ends up killing the other Myrtleis Myrtle just a one-note "other woman," or is there more to her?
Just then, she spots the yellow car heading back for Long Island.
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She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can. This doesn't prevent her from continuing the affair. That Myrtle thinks accepts Tom's lie shows that she is not a well-schooled as she thinks she is about the life and customs of the elite class she wants to be a part of.
Wielding power over her group of friends, she seems to revel in her own image.
He locks her upstairs in their house, determined to move out west once he gets the money from the car sale he's waiting on from Tom. Myrtle glimpses Tom, along with Nick and Jordan, as they drive up to Manhattan in Gatsby's yellow car. Here, we see Myrtle transformed from her more sensuous, physical persona into that of someone desperate to come off as richer than she actually is. When we came into the station he was next to me and his white shirt-front pressed against my arm--and so I told him I'd have to call a policeman, but he knew I lied.
Myrtle desperately wants to come off as sophisticated and wealthy despite her humble roots. She pointed suddenly at me, and every one looked at me accusingly. Unlike Nick's description of Daisy, which focuses on her voice, mannerisms, and charm, and unlike his description of Jordan, which focuses on her posture and athleticism, Nick's description of Myrtle focuses almost entirely on her body itself.
I was going up to New York to see my sister and spend the night. You will most likely be asked to write about Myrtle in relation to other characters especially Daisyor in prompts that ask you to compare the "strivers" in the book including also Gatsby, George Wilson with the old money set Tom, Daisy, Jordan.
She hits Myrtle, who dies instantly. To find a quotation we cite via chapter Myrtle MS lady looking for man paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball it Paragraph beginning of chapter; middle of chapter; on: end of chapteror use the search function if you're using an online or eReader version of the text. Perhaps this fits with her role as Tom's mistress, but it also indicates Nick sees little in Myrtle in terms of intellect or personality.
The graphic and bloody nature of Myrtle's death really sticks with you. Find out more about Myrtle's role in Gatsby in this guide! The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long.
This attraction serves as a foil to the more deep-seated emotional attraction between Gatsby and Daisy, the novel's central affair. We don't know a ton about Myrtle Wilson's background except what we can gather from the passing comments from other characters. Even in death, Myrtle's physicality and vitality are emphasized. In this moment, we see that despite how dangerous and damaging Myrtle's relationship with Tom is, she seems to be asking George to treat her in the same way that Tom has been doing. While that moment cemented Tom as abusive in the eyes of the reader, this one truly shows the damage that Tom and Daisy leave in their wake, and shapes the tragic tone of the rest of the novel.
I knew right away I made a mistake. Then I heard footsteps on the stairs and in a moment the thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door. When George confronts his wife about her affair, Myrtle is furious and needles at her husband—already insecure since he's been cheated on—by insinuating he's weak and less of a man than Tom. Also, their fight centers around her body and its treatment, while Tom and Daisy fought earlier in the same chapter about their feelings.
Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment and as she expanded the room grew smaller around her until she seemed to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air.
Still, before the novel begins, Tom has gotten comfortable showing Myrtle around in popular restaurants and doesn't hide the affair. This description also speaks to the strong physical attraction between Tom and Myrtle that undergirds their affair. Book Guides.
On that day, she buys a dog, has sex with Tom with Nick in the next roomthrows a party, and is fawned on by her friends, and then ends up with a broken nose when Tom punches her after she brings up Daisy. I was so excited that when I got into a taxi with him I didn't hardly know I wasn't getting into a subway train" 2. I tried to show by my expression that I had played no part in her past. Later on, in Chapter 7George starts to suspect she's having an affair when he finds her dog's leash in a drawer at the house.
Nick finds her efforts tacky and vulgar, and he spends a lot of time commenting on her clothes, mannerisms, and conversational style. And Tom's the first sweetie she ever had.
She is oblivious about upper-class life: she tells her sister at one point Tom doesn't divorce Daisy because Daisy is Catholic. This moment is also much more violent than her earlier broken nose.
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She smiled slowly and walking through her husband as if he were a ghost shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye. Myrtle's death emotionally and mentally devastates George, which prompts him to murder Gatsby who he mistakes for both his wife's killer and loverand then kill himself.
He borrowed somebody's best suit to get married in and never even told me about it, and the man came after it one day when he was out. While invoking Daisy's name here causes Tom to hurt Myrtle, Myrtle's actual encounter with Daisy later in the novel turns out to be deadly. Thinking it's Tom, she runs toward and then out in front of the car, waving her arms.
He had on a dress suit and patent leather shoes and I couldn't keep my eyes off him but every time he looked at me I had to pretend to be looking at the advertisement over his head.
In most books and movies, the "other woman"—the woman having an affair with a married man—is often painted as a villain. Also, this injury foreshadows Myrtle's death at the hands of Daisy, herself. Michaelis and this man reached her first but when they had torn open her shirtwaist still damp with perspiration, they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath.
The death car. Myrtle's disturbing acceptance of her role as a just a body—a piece of meat, basically—foreshadows the gruesome physicality of her death. We're using this system since there are many editions of Gatsby, so using s would only work for students with our copy of the book.
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Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room. The idea of Myrtle Wilson is introduced in Chapter 1when she calls the Buchanans' house to speak to Tom. We get our first look at Myrtle in Chapter 2when Nick goes with Tom to George Wilson's garage to meet her, and then to Myrtle's apartment in Manhattan for a party. Here we see Myrtle pushing her limits with Tom—and realizing that he is both violent and completely unwilling to be honest about his marriage.
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After all, to Tom, Myrtle is just another mistress, and just as disposable as all the rest. But Daisy is driving the car, and she decides to run over Myrtle rather than get into a head-on collision with an oncoming car. Perhaps this causes Myrtle to misunderstand what she means to Tom: she doesn't seem to realize she's just one in a string of mistresses.
However, she is crucial to the plot of the story, and especially to its tragic conclusion. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur. She looked around to see who was listening: " 'Oh, is that your suit?
In fact, the image is pretty overtly sexual—notice how it's Myrtle's breast that's torn open and swinging loose, and her mouth ripped open at the corners. I never was any more crazy about him than I was about that man there.
To learn how best to approach this kind of compare and contrast essay, read our article on common character pairings and how to analyze them. Our team of PrepScholar admissions experts have compiled their knowledge into this single guide to planning out your high school course schedule.
Notably Tom, who immediately sees Gatsby as a fake, doesn't seem to mind Myrtle's pretensions—perhaps because they are of no consequence to him, or any kind of a threat to his lifestyle. Myrtle and George fight later that evening, and Myrtle manages to run out of the house after yelling at George to beat her and calling him a coward.