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How did Myrtle know she made a "mistake" when she married Wilson?The Great Gatsby by F....

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missquestion16 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 13, 2011 at 2:00 AM via web

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How did Myrtle know she made a "mistake" when she married Wilson?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 13, 2011 at 2:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are introduced as characters in Chapter Two of The Great Gatsby; Nick describes George Wilson as "bonde, spiritless...anaemic and faintly handsome," and Mrytle as a rather stout woman in her thirties who carries "her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can.”  There is a vitality about her in contrast to her husband who remains covered in a white ashen dust.

When Tom Buchanan stops at the Wilson's shop, Mrytle secretly arranges to meet him in New York City at a designated apartment where she transforms to a socialite in pretense.  During a conversation, her husband George is mentioned, When Nick asks if Myrtle does not like him, she overhears and answers in a way that is "violent and obscene."  She tells Catherine, her friend, that she married George because she thought he was a gentleman:

"I thought he knew something about breeding but he wasn't fit to lick my shoe."

When Catherine counters with "You were crazy about him for a while," Mrytle retorts,

"The only crazy I was was when I married him.  I knew right away I made a mistake.  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."

Afterwards, Myrtle cried, indicating that she had hopes of marrying someone with social position and money, rather than what George Wilson really is.  Clearly, Myrtle is materialistic as is her lover, Tom Buchanan.  She would like Tom to divorce and marry her so she could then have nice things and feel elevated in her social position, her two values.

Poor George is aware that he is not loved, but is exploited by others.  He act of killing Gatsby is a desperate act to avenge himself upon the upper class, but, ironically, Gatsby is a victim himself of the Jazz Age.

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