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How Is Myrtle Successful In The Great Gatsby

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Twenty-first century Canadian spoken word artist and poet Boonaa Mohammed said that “if the whole world was blind, how many people would you impress?” If no one could see your extravagant clothes or fancy house, would people still be attracted to you? In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this is emphasized through Tom's mistress, Myrtle. Through Myrtle’s lifestyle as a mistress, Fitzgerald shows that when people live a life based on superficial morals, they gain a false sense of superiority, which leads to the need to relentlessly prove it. In Myrtle’s regular life, she is in a low social class. She is married to a mechanic living in a basement with folding chairs as furniture. This is quite different from how she lives in…show more content…
In the apartment, she turns to her sister in a pompous tone “I had a woman up here last week to look at my feet and when she gave me the bill you’d of thought she had my appendicitis out’” (31) Myrtle tells her sister, even though appendicitis is a disease, not the organ that is removed. Despite the fact that she herself is married to a mechanic and is a mistress, which are in no means prestigious positions, she talks in a very condescending manner towards her sister, making it sound like she’s had decades more of the higher-life experience. Myrtle also talks about her supposed wealth when “she turned to Mrs. McKee and the room rang full of her artificial laughter. ‘My dear’ she cried, ‘I’m going to give you this dress as soon as I’m through with it. I’ve got to get another one tomorrow. I’m going to make a list of all the things I’ve got to get. A massage and a wave, and a collar for the dog, and one of those cute little ash-trays where you touch a spring, and a wreath with a black silk bow for mother’s grave that’ll last all summer. I got to write down a list so I won’t forget all the things I got to do’”(36). She talks about money like it is no big deal and a common topic even though it’s the exact opposite. By listing out all of the things that she has to buy, it makes her seem richer and of higher maintenance, even though she really can’t afford any of that. She even offers to give up what she is making out to be a very expensive dress like it’s no big deal. She makes it sound like all of Tom’s money is her own. Likewise, she is patronizing when she refers to her husband and says “‘I married him because I thought he was a gentleman, ... I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe’”(34). She thinks she’s so much better than her husband even though she lives in a
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