In The Great Gatsby, how long had Myrtle and George been married? 

In The Great Gatsby, how long had Myrtle and George been married?


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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter VIII of The Great Gatsby, after Myrtle's death in the previous chapter, we hear of what happened after Myrtle's body was taken away, from the testimony of Michaelis, who is a neighbor of the Wilsons. This testimony is given to us via Nick. 

Michaelis runs a "coffee joint" (143) near the ashheaps, and while he does not seem to be exactly a friend to the Wilsons, he does try to help George after Myrtle is killed. He asks George how long they had been married and whether they had any children, and this is when we learn that George and Myrtle had been married for twelve years and had no children.  Michaelis offers to go find a priest for George, someone to talk to and counsel him in his grief.  George declines this offer, and as the conversation continues, Michaelis learns that George had suspicions about his wife, that she had a lover, and then George makes the accusation that her lover has deliberately run Myrtle down with his car.  It is this misidentification and misunderstanding that results in Gatsby's tragic death, since it was not Gatsby who was driving the car nor who was Myrtle's lover.  

poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Great Gatsby, we learn that Myrtle and George have been married for twelve years. This information is disclosed through a conversation that a neighbor of the couple, Michaelis, has with George after Myrtle is run over by Daisy. 

This marriage has resulted in no children and is dissatisfying to Myrtle, who longs to rise above her station in life and rejects the low social class to which she belongs. Myrtle married George because she thought he was a "gentleman" and "knew something about breeding" but eventually decides that "he wasn't fit to lick [her] shoe."

Bored with George's passivity, Myrtle begins an affair with the controlling (and also already married!) Tom Buchanan. Tom sets Myrtle up with a glamorous apartment in New York where the two can flaunt their relationship and engage in their extramarital relations. 

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The Great Gatsby

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