How many people die in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"?

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price7781's profile pic

price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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There could be an argument that anyone who made it out alive from The Great Gatsby was lucky to survive given the wild parties and reckless behavior of the wealthy class the book portrays.  The lack of true empathy for others not of the same social class leads to the deaths of three characters in the novel.  Myrtle Wilson (Tom Buchanan’s lover) is run over by Daisy Buchanan driving Gatsby’s car on the way back from New York City.  Daisy and Gatsby don’t even stop to see if Myrtle is dead or alive. George Wilson’s grief over the death of his wife, causes him to shoot and kill Gatsby and then kill himself. George Wilson thinks that it is Gatsby who killed Myrtle because it was his car.  (As readers, we think it is Gatsby as well until the truth comes out.) 

I think there is an argument that Fitzgerald is also portraying a class of society that is “metaphorically dead.” Their lives revolve around appearances, old money, and status.  They are indifferent and privileged, and their lives are unfulfilling and boring despite the face they put on at the lavish parties they attend.  The super-wealthy in the novel are just going through the motions of life, trying to live up to the expectations of their social class. Daisy and Tom’s loveless, “dead” marriage portrays this idea.

luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Three of the main characters die: Gatsby himself, Myrtle Wilson, and George Wilson.  Dan Cody died years before the story began.  Myrtle is killed by Daisy when Daisy hits her with the car as Daisy is driving back from New York City to her place on East Egg.  George Wilson kills Gatsby because he thinks Gatsby was driving the car that hit and killed Myrtle. George then turns the gun on himself and commits suicide. 

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