In the Great Gatsby, did Myrtle truly love Tom or did she just want him for his money and social status?

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Myrtle Wilson is bored with her life and her marriage. Nick does not indicate a belief that she loves anyone. At the party in the New York apartment, her friend tells Nick that Myrtle "can't stand" her husband. Myrtle is certainly aware before she met Tom that the Twenties were...

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Myrtle Wilson is bored with her life and her marriage. Nick does not indicate a belief that she loves anyone. At the party in the New York apartment, her friend tells Nick that Myrtle "can't stand" her husband. Myrtle is certainly aware before she met Tom that the Twenties were roaring—and not at George's wasteland garage. She craves excitement.

Nick presents Myrtle in terms as unflattering as he uses for Tom, but he acknowledges her sensual attraction. Myrtle assumes affectations that she associates with high social status, but clearly, that is not her background. Myrtle mentions being attracted by Tom's nice clothes when they met on the train—she even describes his shoes. She enjoys throwing parties, especially the kinds with plentiful alcohol. She is apparently unconcerned about being seen with Tom once they reach New York and does not think about what her husband might do if he were to find out about their affair. Despite some talk of marriage, Myrtle does not seem that interested in marrying Tom. Rather, she is fairly content to be the mistress—just as long as Tom keeps up her glamorous new lifestyle. Myrtle remains relatively content until Tom smacks her in the face.

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I would argue that she does not really love Tom. When she meets with Tom and Nick, she explains why she is dissatisfied with her husband and mentions that she thought she was marrying a gentleman. Tom has the wealth and status to impress Myrtle, but more importantly, his high place in society makes her feel special and romantic. Rather than simply trudging through life, it appears this woman wants some sort of higher purpose. Unfortunately, Myrtle is searching for it in all the wrong ways. First, she marries her husband, then she begins an affair with Tom. What she does not realize is that Tom does not respect her and will never give her a serious relationship and that even if he were to do such a thing, she would never find the joy she is looking for. She would most likely end up in the same sad state where we find Daisy when she enters the novel.

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