Many of the occurrences in The Great Gatsby produced far-reaching effects for several of the characters. Of these occurrences, one of the most influential and important incidents was the death of Myrtle Wilson. While her life and death greatly affected the lives of all of the main and supporting characters, her death had a very significant effect on the lives of Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby. Tom knew Myrtle better than any of the main characters. He had met her on a train headed for New York. When the train reached the city, she went with him in a taxi, and their affair began. Tom never made much of an effort to keep their relationship secret. In fact, he almost paraded her around in the presence of his acquaintances. They made frequent trips into New York so that they could be together. Myrtle was Tom's escape from his own life in East Egg. While Daisy provided him with a wealthy, acceptable social image, she was not much more to him than a mere possession. His affair with Myrtle offered him a chance to defy his social expectations. Their relationship was important to him because of this opportunity to escape. When Myrtle died, it shook him deeply, especially because he believed Gatsby had been driving the yellow car. After leaving George Wilson's garage the night of the accident, he managed to drive slowly until he and Nick were out of sight. Then he slammed his foot down on the accelerator, driving much faster. He began quietly sobbing, privately mourning her death. He immediately blamed Gatsby for bringing their relationship to an abrupt halt. "That God damned coward!" he cried. "He didn't even stop his car." His feelings of anger and hurt were greatly intensified by the day spent in New York.... ... middle of paper ... ... Great Gatsby. While it meant something different for each of the characters, it had the greatest impact on Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby. Works Cited and Consulted Eble, Kenneth, ed. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Criticism. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973. Gross, Dalton, and Maryjean Gross, eds. Understanding "The Great Gatsby": A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 1998. McAdams, Tony. “Ethics in Gatsby: An Examination of American Values.” In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press. 1998. 111-120. Mizener, Arthur, ed. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963. Pelzer, Linda Claycomb. Student Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 2000.
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