Depiction Of Characters From The Great Gatsby

Honesty: A Simple Word With A Complex Meaning

Honesty. A seven letter word that is familiar to most everyone. Children from the time they can talk, are raised with morals that include: not to lie and to always tell the truth. Society, however, has fallen into a pit where it is now moral to lie and treat others with disrespect. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s well-known novel The Great Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanan’s relationship is corrupt and full of lies and adultery. Tom has a mistress, who happens to be married herself, and Daisy is reunited with her love, Gatsby. Tom makes frequent trips to meet up with his mistress, Myrtle, in New York City, where he has an apartment with her. He buys her extravagant items, like a puppy, all to make her happy and provide an escape from her husband who she has been married unhappily to for eleven years. Myrtle has an obsession with material items and clearly enjoys her time with Tom. Daisy, on the other hand, is also amazed by materialistic and extravagant things. Daisy portrays her fascination of materialistic items through her frequent visits to Gatsby’s house and the admiration she has towards his extravagant parties. The lack of honesty in Daisy and Tom’s relationship causes countless tragic events, which include the death of both Myrtle and Gatsby, and the misery of both Tom and Daisy.

The lack of honesty in Daisy and Tom’s relationship ruins their marriage and can be seen through Tom’s relations with Myrtle, further causing both Tom and Daisy’s endless misery. From the start, Daisy and Tom’s relationship is built on infidelity. While Nick visits Daisy and Tom for the first time in years at their house in East Egg, he meets Jordan Baker and finds out that Tom has a mistress, Myrtle. During the middle of the dinner, “The butler came back and murmured something close to Tom's ear whereupon Tom frowned, pushed back his chair and without a word went inside” (Fitzgerald 19). This interruption during dinner creates an awkward environment and pretty much ruins the rest of the evening. Everyone at the dinner that evening is aware that Tom has relations with someone other than Daisy but no one questions it, they just accept it. Readers can gather that this sudden interruption to dinner affects Daisy because right after Tom leaves to talk on the phone she “thr[ows] her napkin on the table and excuse[s] herself and [goes] into the house” (Fitzgerald 19). Daisy's abrupt actions clearly show that she is uncomfortable being around Jordan and Nick when they both know that Tom is with another woman. From this passage, readers get a glimpse of the bashful side of her and the desertion she feels from her husband. The fact that Myrtle calls during dinner is astonishing. As Jordan Baker states, “‘She might have the decency not to telephone him at dinner-time. Don’t you think?”’(Fitzgerald 20). This incident at dinner is not the first event that readers experience of Tom and Myrtle interacting with each other. On Tom and Nick’s way to New York City, Tom insists that Nick meet “‘his girl”’(Fitzgerald 28). They pick Myrtle up on the way and go their apartment in the city. While they are there, Myrtle invites her sister, Catherine, to the apartment and all have drinks. In this passage, Fitzgerald informs readers that Tom and Daisy have an unhappy marriage and Tom’s relations with Myrtle are to blame. As Catherine and Nick start to conversate Catherine informs readers that “‘Neither of them can stand the person they are married to”’ (Fitzgerald 37). As Catherine and Nick’s conversation continues, readers get more insight on the actual problem in Tom’s relationships. He expects Daisy to agree with his separate life with Myrtle and for her to be there for him when he needs her. Catherine states that the only reason they have not gotten a divorce with their spouses and gotten married themselves is that Daisy is Catholic, and the Catholic religion forbids divorce. The next section of this passage is important because Fitzgerald switches to Nick’s internal monologue in which he states that Daisy is not Catholic and that he is “shocked at the elaborateness of the lie” (Fitzgerald 38). At this point in the story, readers realize that Tom made up that Daisy was a Catholic so that he could easily have both Daisy and Myrtle at the same time without any complications. Tom’s misery, however, may not seem visible because it is covered up by his self-esteem and morale. At the conclusion of the novel, readers discover that Daisy and Tom have once again left town and escaped to Europe, one can only believe that it is not to get away from the tragic death of both of Tom and Daisy’s lovers, Gatsby and Myrtle.

Daisy and Gatsby’s love affair is genuine but is ruined when Daisy settles for Tom because of his position in society and collection of materialistic items, which eventually causes her misery and distress. Daisy and Gatsby have known each other before Tom and Daisy even meet. Before Gatsby goes to war, Daisy and Gatsby are in love but Daisy is impatient and does not wait for Gatsby after the war, but instead marries Tom for his money and advantages that his world offers for her. On the day before Daisy’s wedding day, Jordan describes her “drunk as a monkey. She ha[s] a bottle of Sauterne in one hand and a letter in the other” (Fitzgerald 81). Jordan also describes her as “pull[ing] out the strings of pearls. ‘Take’em downstairs and give’em back to whoever they belong to….Say Daisy’s change’ her mind!”’ (Fitzgerald 81). Daisy is an absolute disaster! She is second guessing her marriage to Tom and becomes concerned by what her married life will be like with him. The passage illustrates Daisy as holding a letter in her hand. One can only assume that the letter is from Gatsby proclaiming his love to her. If it was not a letter from him, why would she be acting this way and second guessing her marriage to Tom? She goes through with the marriage, however, and does not see Gatsby again until Nick invites her over one day for tea, at the request of Gatsby. During Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion readers can clearly identify that the love they have for each other is genuine, but, as a result, Daisy breaks down and becomes like the night before her wedding. Fitzgerald describes her as “cry[ing] stormily. ‘They’re such beautiful shirts’, she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me so sad because I’ve never seen such-such beautiful shirts before”’ (Fitzgerald 98). Fitzgerald characterizes Daisy as pathetic, and it makes the reader feel sorry for her. As Gatsby gives her the tour of his house and throws shirts at her in a playful way, she comes to the realization that this whole life would have been hers if she did not marry Tom and instead waited for Gatsby. At the time of her and Tom’s marriage, she was so ready to get on with life and build a life with a Tom, a wealthy man, that she failed to appreciate what she already had. Now she regrets marrying Tom and for not waiting for Gatsby because she is missing out on a life of genuine love that only one person can give her, Gatsby.

The absence of honesty in Daisy and Tom’s relationship directly causes the death of Myrtle and Gatsby. One day, the group decides to go into town, and Tom rents out a suite at the Plaza Hotel for the group to socialize in and enjoy the bottle of whiskey that he brought. The conversation topics span from the wedding that is occurring below their suite to Gatsby’s past. Through Daisy’s lack of veracity with Tom about her feelings towards Gatsby, she causes the death of Myrtle and eventually her lover. Gatsby abruptly notifies the whole group that “‘Your wife doesn’t love you’...’She’s never loved you. She loves me”’ (Fitzgerald 137). At this point, Gatsby is irritated with all the secrets that remain concealed and wants to get the facts out in the air. Readers can infer from this passage that Gatsby feels some stress from the constant lying that is going on between Daisy and Tom and wants to clear it all up. He also wants to make Tom jealous and angry because right before Gatsby blurts out that Daisy loves him, not Tom, Tom is harassing Gatsby and questions his lifestyle. There is obvious tension between Gatsby and Tom and it is all over Daisy. It takes a great deal of courage for Gatsby to stand up to Tom and tell him that his wife never loved him and she is leaving him for Gatsby. This incident would never have been an issue if Daisy waited for Gatsby and followed her gut feeling and waits for Gatsby, regardless if he is rich or not. As the conversation continues tensions increase tremendously and eventually Daisy is so distressed that she and Gatsby leave the hotel to go home. Further along in the novel, it reveals that Daisy drives home because she thinks that it will calm her down, which is symbolic because she physically ends the life of someone that is threatening to her relationship with Tom, Myrtle. After the "death car" hits Myrtle and kills her instantly she is described as “her mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long” (Fitzgerald 145). Fitzgerald portrays Myrtle as giving up the last bit of energy that she has in her body. Myrtle is the first individual to die in this novel so far, and Fitzgerald describes the graphic scene profoundly. Myrtle only runs out in the road because she thinks that the car is Tom’s and wants to escape her husband captivity and be with Tom. After a few days has gone by, George continues to become insane and once he realizes who was driving, or he thought was driving, the car he goes on a rampage and kills Gatsby in his swimming pool. It is critical to realize that the only individuals that are still alive at the end of the novel are Jordan, Nick, Tom, and Daisy. Tom and Daisy have a second chance at life and building a relationship in which it will not include dishonesty and lies.

The existence of dishonesty in Daisy and Tom’s relationship causes multiple disastrous events, which consists of the death of both Myrtle and Gatsby, and the misery of both Daisy and Tom. If Daisy did not become upset at the hotel, then Myrtle would not be dead, and neither would Gatsby. All the deaths and unhappiness between characters all lead back to Tom and Daisy’s unhealthy and corrupt marriage. Dishonesty is a powerful weapon that can kill a relationship and make life miserable. If one constantly portrays oneself as a dishonest person, no one is going to want to engage with that individual and is just setting oneself up for failure. In today’s society adultery is acceptable because there is now a solution, divorce. This is a tragic situation because people have lost the initial reason marriage is even an option, so they can be with someone they love and to stay married through the hard and challenging times. Lying and being deceitful is now correct in society’s eyes because the only thing one has to worry about is oneself. Society is falling into a deep pit, and Fitzgerald offers a crucial life lesson in his novel for his readers, that having dishonesty as part of one's life not only affects one's relationship with the other person but most importantly it affects the people around.

10 September 2019
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