Myrtle Wilson is a minor character in The Great Gatsby. Myrtle was the mistress of Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man in upper class New York. She just wanted a better life for herself, but in the end her desires killed her.
For Myrtle, her affair with Tom is a way for her to escape her bland life in the Valley of Ashes. It's also a way for her to climb the social ladder of society and project herself as a wealthy and high class woman. To her, New York City is no place for the poor, and she is dedicated to finding happiness in things that do not belong, such as Tom and his gifts. Myrtle herself possessed a fierce vitality and looked for a way to improve her situation. Unfortunately for her, she chose Tom, who treated her as a mere object of his desire.
When the characters were in the Grand Plaza Hotel after Tom had ‘won’ their argument by ousting Gatsby as a bootlegger, Tom tells both Daisy and Gatsby to drive on back in Gatsby’s car by saying “‘You start on home Daisy…. In Mr. Gatsby’s car’”, he sends them back together mostly to rub the fact that Gatsby’s attempt at being with Daisy failed in his face. Earlier, in chapter 7, Fitzgerald describes Myrtle watching Tom, “In one of the windows over the garage the curtains had been moved aside a little and Myrtle Wilson was peering down at the car”. It should be noted that she was looking at the car in this instance and that she had made a connection between Tom and the car. When Tom sent Daisy and Gatsby back in Gatsby’s car, Myrtle thought that it was Tom who was driving the car and ran out to meet it. This situation ends with Myrtle’s death and the blame for the death placed upon Gatsby.
Myrtle’s death was an untimely one, but overall led to the conclusion of the whole novel. When she was hit by speeding Daisy, her demise directly led to the deaths of George and Gatsby himself. Yes, it is tragic that Myrtle dies so brutally, but her death takes on greater meaning when one realizes that it is materialism that brought about her end.
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