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What is ironic about Myrtle saying "You can't live forever"?

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brookie21 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2010 at 8:50 AM via web

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What is ironic about Myrtle saying "You can't live forever"?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM (Answer #1)

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In chapter two of The Great Gatsby, Tom, Myrtle, and Nick are the primary guests at a party Myrtle is hosting for her neighbors.  The apartment in the city is where Tom and Myrtle conduct their illicit affair, and on this day everyone gets a little out of line--in fact, Tom actually hits Myrtle, hard, in the nose when she taunts him about his wife Daisy.  In the course of this evening, Myrtle makes this statement:

You can't live forever.

The irony of this line is that, not so very long from this time, Myrtle will be dead.  She makes the statement in a rather flippant way, no doubt; however, she clearly has an intent when she breaks out of her house and runs into the path of the car she thinks Tom is driving--an act that costs her everything. 

 

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