The Great Gatsby – Myrtle Analysis

Myrtle is an incredibly important part of the story The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In this book, Myrtle paints the portrait of an era with a tainted brush. Because she is a flapper, she is looked down upon somewhat. She is rebellious and does things that were not approved of by the “lost generation.” An example of this would be drinking. Myrtle lives in the Valley of Ashes and really dislikes it there. Myrtle is married to George Wilson, but is a mistress to Tom Buchanan.
Myrtle’s physical appearance is a brand new thing during this time. She has her hair cut in a short bob. She wears short dresses and just the general traits of a flapper. A description that shows this would be, “She had changed her dress to a brown figured muslin, which stretched tight over her rather wide hips as Tom helped her to the platform in New York.” (page 26-27) Myrtle serves as a foil for Daisy. Tom has Myrtle as a mistress and so then doesn’t appreciate Daisy as much. After Myrtle is killed it shows Tom how much Daisy means to him and that he should appreciate her more. Daisy doesn’t really know her but gets mad when she calls during dinner because she thinks that is very rude.

Myrtle treats George, her husband, very poorly. She believes that because he is poor, he is worthless. Tom tries to think of ways to get Myrtle away from George to be with her. In fact, Myrtle goes to an apartment with Tom. They actually end up getting in a childish fight, and Tom hits Myrtle. George gets really angry at her when he finds out what is going on and locks her up, because he think she’ll run away.
Myrtle is a very important part of this story. She shows the portrait of an era by representing a flapper. She serves as a foil and helps to show Tom how much Daisy really means to him. Myrtle is a very interesting character, and helps emphasize things throughout the entire book.

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