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According to Catherine (Myrtle's sister) in The Great Gatsby, why has Tom not left...

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user4453926 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2013 at 2:31 AM via web

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According to Catherine (Myrtle's sister) in The Great Gatsby, why has Tom not left Daisy to marry Myrtle?

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may-stone | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:05 AM (Answer #1)

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In chapter 2, Nick relates a party that Tom organizes in a city hotel room with his mistress Myrtle and Myrtle's sister Catherine, among a select group.  Over cocktails, Catherine gossips about her sister's affair to Nick while Tom and Myrtle are nearby.  Catherine tells Nick that neither Tom nor Myrtle can stand the person that each is married to (Daisy and Wilson, respectively), and that she believes they should stop making themselves miserable by staying with their spouses.  Catherine says, “It’s really his wife [Daisy] that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.”  

However, Nick knows that Daisy is not Catholic, and he relates that he is "shocked" to hear this because he knows it's a lie.  The implication is that Tom has made up a story about why he cannot conveniently leave Daisy for Myrtle's benefit, who passed it on to Catherine, who gossips it to Nick in this scene.  So despite Catherine's instance that both Tom and Myrtle are miserable with their spouses, Tom at least is not really interested in leaving his wife.

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