Compare And Contrast Myrtle And Gatsby

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Myrtle and Gatsby have dramatically different personalities--Myrtle is vulgar and garish, while Gatsby is more classy and refined--but as part of the “no money” working-class, Myrtle represents a past that Gatsby, now a member of the nouveau riche, has monetarily transcended. However, as Fitzgerald illustrates, social standing does not necessarily follow wealth. Gatsby grew up poor with nothing but his love for Daisy, who, as a member of the “old money” class, embodies Gatsby’s lust for both status and wealth. While Gatsby tries to join the upper class through the acquisition of wealth via organized crime, Myrtle tries to attach herself to money through an affair with Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan. Like Gatsby, Myrtle gains the wealth for as long as she remains involved with Tom but not the status she seeks. In The Great Gatsby, both Myrtle and Gatsby are social climbers with complementary aspirations who exemplify the impossibility of ascending the social ladder, as their lower-class backgrounds blind them to …show more content…
Both Myrtle and Gatsby meet a violent death, symbolizing the corruption of the American Dream. The American Dream is no longer a vision of building a better life; it has devolved to merely rising to the top of the social hierarchy by whatever means necessary. Even worse, while the dream of social climbing might be enticing from a distance, as both Myrtle and Gatsby draw closer to upper-class society, they begin to realize that the Dream is unattainable. They are like boats in a tragic struggle against a powerful current, “borne ceaselessly into the past,” never able to realize their dreams and gain access into a higher class. In the end, neither Myrtle nor Gatsby has risen at all, and they are ultimately destroyed by their utter devotion to a single, unreachable

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