Date of publication: 2017-08-30 11:00
The tragic end to this affair, as well as Daisy and Gatsby’s, reinforces the idea that class is an enormous, insurmountable barrier , and that when people try to circumvent the barrier by dating across classes, they end up endangering themselves.
As we discuss in our article on the symbolic valley of ashes , George is coated by the dust of despair and thus seems mired in the hopelessness and depression of that bleak place, while Myrtle is alluring and full of vitality. Her first action is to order her husband to get chairs, and the second is to move away from him, closer to Tom.
In contrast to Tom and Daisy, who are initially presented as a unit, our first introduction to George and Myrtle shows them fractured, with vastly different personalities and motivations. We get the sense right away that their marriage is in trouble, and conflict between the two is imminent.
Chapter 7 gives us lots of insight into Myrtle’s character and how she sees her affair with Tom. But other than Tom’s physical attraction to Myrtle, we don’t get as clear of a view of his motivations until later on. In Chapter 7, Tom panics once he finds out George knows about his wife’s affair. We learn here that control is incredibly important to Tom – control of his wife, control of his mistress, and control of society more generally (see his rant in Chapter 6 about the “Rise of the Colored Empires” ).
Here, Nick is attracted to Jordan’s blasé attitude and her confidence that others will avoid her careless behavior – an attitude she can afford because of her money. In other words, Nick seems fascinated by the world of the super-wealthy and the privilege it grants its members.
Our citation format in this guide is (). We're using this system since there are many editions of Gatsby, so using page numbers would only work for students with our copy of the book. To find a quotation we cite via chapter and paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball it (Paragraph 6-55: beginning of chapter 55-655: middle of chapter 655-on: end of chapter), or use the search function if you're using an online or eReader version of the text.
In this passage, Daisy pulls Nick aside in Chapter 6 and claims, despite her outward happiness and luxurious lifestyle, she’s quite depressed by her current situation. At first, it seems Daisy is revealing the cracks in her marriage – Tom was “God knows where” at the birth of their daughter, Pammy – as well as a general malaise about society in general (“everything’s terrible anyhow”).
As Nick Carraway says, “you can’t repeat the past” – the novel seems to imply there is a small window for certain dreams, and when the window closes, they can no longer be attained. This is pretty pessimistic, and for the prompt’s personal reflection aspect, I wouldn’t say you should necessarily “apply this lesson to your own life” straightforwardly. But it is worth noting that certain opportunities are fleeting, and perhaps it’s wiser to seek out newer and/or more attainable ones, rather than pining over a lost chance.
Nick's perceptions of others are more accurate than his perceptions of himself. He, too, is caught up in the glitz and glamor of the American dream, going East to make his fortune in the bond business.
We also meet George and Myrtle Wilson in Chapter 7 , both working class people who are working to improve their lot in life, George through his work, and Myrtle through her affair with Tom Buchanan.
If you’re thinking about “deferred dreams” in The Great Gatsby , the big one is obviously Gatsby’s deferred dream for Daisy – nearly five years pass between his initial infatuation and his attempt in the novel to win her back, an attempt that obviously backfires. You can examine various aspects of Gatsby’s dream – the flashbacks to his first memories of Daisy in Chapter 8 , the moment when they reunite in Chapter 5 , or the disastrous consequences of the confrontation of Chapter 7 – to illustrate Gatsby’s deferred dream.