I'm working on my English project and I need a song which represents the death of Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby. Someone have a few ideas??? Thanks :)

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Myrtle Wilson, in the novel The Great Gatsby, is the picture of a woman torn between her own "must-haves." While married to George Wilson, she dreams of a life with Tom Buchanan (because of his wealth and, more importantly, his buying of gifts for her).

When looking at songs which could represent Myrtle, one can examine two different ideas: the actual death of Myrtle or the situation she found herself in (given the multiple relationships).

Here are a few suggestions for both scenarios:

1. "Does He Love You" by Reba McEntire

2. "Killed By Love" by Alice Cooper

3. "Killing Me Softly" by The Fugees

4. "So Tired" by Ozzy Osbourne

5. "Woman in Chains" by Tears For Fears

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Thinking about Myrtle's death in The Great Gatsby, we might want to find songs that match up with the failed romance or aspirational (albeit illicit) qualities of Myrtle's narrative. 

She comes to a grim end in the novel. 

"Myrtle Wilson, her life violently extinguished, knelt in the road and mingled her thick dark blood with the dust."

We might also consider looking for songs that match this rather tragic image and that speak to the idea of being mistreated, undervalued or otherwise taken for granted. 

One song that comes to mind is "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. This song's lyrics match the larger ethos of the novel. 

"You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes

You just might find

You get what you need."

Had Myrtle lived through the night, she would have woken to a life without Tom in it. She would have had to come to terms with her life as it is/was in her marriage with George Wilson. This is what Nick is led to do in the aftermath of the tragedy. He breaks things off with Jordan, cuts ties with Tom and Daisy and leaves the east to go back home. Yet he is somehow richer for his experience, even as he is subjected to the darker truths he has discovered about people, about himself and about human nature.

The Rolling Stones song also refers to debauchery and to a somewhat negative view of life. These ideas clearly speak to the themes of the novel as well. 

Another potential song to use could be Michael Jackson's "You Wanna Be Starting Something," a song that explores irresponsible behavior from people who disregard any sense of morality when making decisions. 

Madonna's "Material Girl" also comes to mind. 

"They can beg and they can plead
But they can't see the light (that's right)
'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always Mister Right"

Myrtle chooses to cheat on her husband with a wealthy man who entertains her by buying her things and pampering her with his money. Superficiality is arguably the hallmark of Myrtle's character and so songs that concern the results of a superficial worldview should work nicely to describe her narrative arc.

Other concepts that could be examined through songs can look at Daisy's role in Myrtle's death. With Daisy we have the option of using songs that address emotional instability, self-destructive behavior, irresponsibility and entitlement. 

funbunmusic's profile pic

funbunmusic | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

A good song to represent Myrtle wilson in the great gatsby is Good As I Was To You by Lorrie Morgan


It's a fantastic example to help you summon ideas




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