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In The Great Gatsby, why would Tom lie about Daisy's being Catholic?

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uhlizza | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 31, 2012 at 2:11 PM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, why would Tom lie about Daisy's being Catholic?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM (Answer #1)

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"You see?" cried Catherine triumphantly...."It's really his wife that 's keeping them apart.  She's a Catholic and they don't believe in divorce."

In Chapter Two, Nick Carraway reports the conversations in the New York apartment on the hot afternoon in which he and Tom ride the train to the city; there, Myrtle Wilson's sister tells him the purported reason why Tom has not divorced Daisy for Myrtle.  However, Nick knows that Daisy is no Catholic.

Obviously, Tom has conjured up this tale as a means of forestalling Myrtle from pressuring him to obtain a divorce.  For, a man of his social and economic stature would have no intention of marrying a woman from the Valley of Ashes who lives over a garage.  She is simply an amusement for him until the next comes along as Tom Buchanan is a philanderer.

This incident, along with the previous description of the Valley of Ashes, establishes the parallels between the physical wasteland of industrial by-products and the spiritual wasteland of the amoral lives of the Jazz Age.  

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