|Portrayed by||Georgia Hale |
|Residence||Valley of Ashes, Long Island, New York, United States|
George Wilson (husband) Catherine (sister)
Myrtle Wilson is Tom Buchanan’s lover, whose lifeless husband, George Wilson, owns a run-down garage in the Valley of Ashes. Myrtle herself possesses a fierce vitality and desperately looks for a way to improve her situation. Unfortunately for her, she chooses Tom, who treats her as a mere object of his desire. When her husband demands to know who her lover is, she runs out of the room and into the road. She recognizes the yellow car driving by, thinking that Tom is behind the wheel.
Myrtle aspires to a better life. To heighten the tragedy of Myrtle's death, Nick emphasizes her hunger for life, frequently using the word 'vitality' to describe her. She has a 'vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smoldering'. Myrtle resents George because he isn't rich - he even had to borrow 'somebody's best suit to get married in'. Myrtle thinks she married below her class, she says George 'wasn't fit to lick my shoe', but she's actually working class herself. This is clear from the way she speaks - she uses non-standard grammar and 'obscene' language.
Nick ridicules Myrtle's attempt to appear upper class - he describes her voice as a 'high mincing shout'. This lack of sympathy encourages the reader to see Myrtle as greedy, rather than ambitious or desperate. She naively thinks that Tom will leave Daisy and clings to him despite his abuse, because of his wealth and upper class status.