The Great Gatsby
Nick travels into New York with Tom. En route they get off the train at Wilson’s garage so that Tom can see his mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle meets them in New York and Tom insists that Nick comes with them to ‘their’ apartment. Other people are invited, including Myrtle’s sister, and they have a small party. People get drunk and, in the middle of an argument, Tom hits Myrtle and breaks her nose. Nick wakes up in the station in the early hours, waiting for the 4am train home.
The chapter begins with the description of the valley of ashes and the advert, showing the eyes of Dr T J Eckleburg. Together they represent important ideas about materialism and consumer culture .
Increasingly, through the chapter, people get more and more drunk – which ends up in the physical violence of Tom breaking Myrtle’s nose and the bizarre humour of Nick, stood next to a half undressed Mr McKee, as he shows him his photographic portfolio.
The physical nature of Tom and Myrtle’s relationship is stressed in a number of ways – the description of Myrtle as a particularly sensual character; her description of meeting Tom focuses on physical appearance and proximity; the physical nature of their relationship (she sits on his knee, they clearly go into the bedroom to have sex pg32, his physical violence). All of this stands as a huge contrast to Gatsby’s idealised love for Daisy.
Again Nick takes the role of the detached observer who overhears/ watches the action – at one point during the party Myrtle points at him and refers to him as ‘that man there’; Nick imagines how the room looks from outside and imagines someone looking at it.
Tom’s physical strength and desire to control people are stressed. “he literally forced me from the car… his determination to have my company bordered on violence”. Later, his desire to control slips over into violence as he breaks Myrtle’s nose because she says Daisy’s name when he has told her not to....