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In chapter 2, how does Myrtle's speech reveal her character?

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hayllie | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:39 AM via web

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In chapter 2, how does Myrtle's speech reveal her character?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 17, 2012 at 2:12 AM (Answer #1)

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Based on her speech, Myrtle appears to be a rather passionate and excitable character. She loves to talk and glories in retelling stories of past adventures and future plans.

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.

Myrtle seems to have big dreams for herself, not always based on reality, and aspires to surround herself with what she considers as being the finer things in life.

I'm going to make a list of all the things I've got to get. A massage and a wave, and a collar for the dog, and one of those cute little ash-trays where you touch a spring, and a wreath with a black silk bow for mother's grave that'll last all summer.

Her judgement is not always reasonable or rational. She has long since come to the realization that George Wilson is not the man or husband she had thought he would be, but she was still living with him. She had to be aware of Tom Buchanan's violent temper, but foolishly still egged him on in an attempt to demonstrate her independence.

'Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!' shouted Mrs. Wilson. 'I'll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai-' Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.

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alundberg | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM (Answer #2)

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In addition to the earlier comments, I think it is also important to note how parallel the "dinner" scene at Myrtle's apartment is to the dinner scene at Tom and Daisy's home.  Throughout the novel, but especially in chapters 1 and 2, we see both the similarities and differences between Daisy and Myrtle.  In many ways, Myrtle, though financially inferior to Daisy, is braver than Daisy because Myrtle at least attempts to grab for the brass ring.  Daisy is not strong enough to do so and loses Gatsby for the comfort of a cold marriage and money.  Myrtle is willing to grab hold of her desires, even though they end violently.

I think it's also interesting to note that Daisy asks, "What do people plan?" in chapter one, while Myrtle makes a list of the things she must accomplish.  Though both women are foolish, at least Myrtle has an idea of what she wants.  I'm not sure that Daisy does.

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