Myrtle In The Great Gatsby

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Fitzgerald uses Myrtle’s party to remove the reader from the wealth of the East and West Eggs and instead focus on the other end of the social spectrum. The behaviour in this contained space emphasises some of the author’s views, and also brings out characters’ traits that had not been seen in the first chapter. Nick’s character is more thoroughly investigated, and his strong sense of morality is clearly tested, making him ‘enchanted and repelled’ by the situation he finds himself in. This is clearly an attitude that Fitzgerald wants to impress upon his readers in this chapter, as Nick becomes detached from his surroundings during this extract and, as he claims to be the author of the book, seems to be addressing the reader. Although Nick…show more content…
The same can be said for his mistress, Myrtle. The relationship between them shows that neither of them cares for their infidelity, despite both being married. This allows Nick to make generalisations about them and again show his own heightened sense of right and wrong. Interestingly, he never once questions Tom’s spending habits, instead referring to them as ‘her [Myrtle’s] purchases’, which is exactly how Myrtle wants to be viewed. Her desire for attention is obvious through her shift in personality when her party guests arrive, as well as a ‘costume change’ that ‘influences’ her to act in a different way. This is one signifier that Myrtle wants to be someone she is not. Other signs that this is the case include the repeating mention of gossip magazines such as ‘Town Tattle’. This suggests that she is trying to learn as much as she can about the elitist world she is not a part of, and can discuss people who are as though she knows them. The need to play her part is obvious in her continuous consumerism and need for materialistic possessions, seen in the decorations of ‘the apartment’, which are a desperate attempt to be ostentatious and impressive to her neighbours and sister. The furnishings of the apartment are ‘entirely too large for it’, suggesting that Myrtle is compensating for the genuine shortcomings in her wealth and status, and this manifests itself both in her physical appearance and in the space around her. It is quite obvious that Myrtle is ‘enchanted’ by her surroundings and wants to further her involvement in them, as she slowly reveals throughout the chapter whilst becoming more and more
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