How does Tom's treatment of Mrs. Wilson affect Nick in The Great Gatsby?

Although Nick is a fairly detached narrator in The Great Gatsby and seemingly tries to report on the events around him without great emotional influence, he views Tom and Myrtle's affair with a sense of scorn.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tom has found a gem-in-the-rough in Myrtle, and with a little money, he can transform her from a woman with a "thickish figure" who holds "no facet or gleam of beauty" into a woman who wears chiffon as she "swept about the room" and embodies an "impressive hauteur" in a "blue crepe-de-chine" dress.

Myrtle believes the lies Tom tells her in order to ensure he can hang on to her as his mistress—and nothing more. She is convinced that Daisy is Catholic and doesn't believe in divorce, so Tom is unfortunately stuck with a wife he doesn't love. Of course, Nick knows that this is not rooted in truth. Daisy certainly isn't a Catholic, and Nick notes that he is "a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie."

Tom seems comfortable with Myrtle in public, and she feels comfortable enough to call his home during dinner. Yet when she brings up Daisy's name in chapter 2, Tom defends his wife by breaking Myrtle's nose.

Nick can see that Myrtle is simply a fun side adventure to Tom. He also realizes that...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 826 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on