Myrtle Wilson searches for her identity through money. Myrtle evolves into another person when Tom exposes her to a lavish lifestyle. While throwing a party at the apartment she shares with Tom, Myrtle calls a nice dress she is complimented on a “crazy old thing” and says she “slips it on when she doesn’t care what she looks like”. This statement coming from a woman who resides over a garage is obviously false. Myrtle becomes a spoiled little girl around Tom, acting almost giddy at times with the thought of being bought material possessions no matter what they are.
While on an outing with Nick and Tom, Myrtle becomes very excited when she sees puppies on the side of the road and becomes girl like in her demand of the animal. The lack of emotion that Myrtle feels for her husband, who is poor, versus the affection she feel for Tom, who is rich attests to her obvious materialism. Myrtle claims it was a mistake for her to marry George Wilson. Myrtle complains about George frequently and refers to him as “a breed not fit to lick her shoe”. Clearly Myrtle resents the fact that George is not successful and is therefore of little value to her. Tom Buchanan searches for his identity through love.
His sexual conquests are obvious attempts to compensate for the love that does not exist in his marriage to Daisy. Tom desperately wants the love of his wife but has to settle for her loyalty. Tom has come to the conclusion that Daisy will never love him. Her marriage to Tom is one of convenience. Tom represents prestige, companionship, and most of all wealth. Their wedding day was one filled with pomp and circumstance; Tom knew from the beginning that his actions needed to be extreme and lavish. Tom’s wife can’t live without wealth; his attempts to please her are to make her love him.
After finding out about Daisy’s affair with Gatsby, Tom recalls a tender moment when he carries Daisy down from the Punch Bowl to keep her shoes dry. Tom became fearful of loosing his wife when he hears of her other relationship; he wants her to love only him. Tom has hopes and desires for the love that could only come from Daisy. Daisy Buchanan searches for her identity through money. Daisy’s quest to remain at the level in society that she has known all of her life prevents her from choosing a man she loves because he is socially unacceptable.
Jordan recalls finding Daisy in a drunken stooper clutching in her hand a letter from Gatsby. Daisy mumbles that she has changed her mind about marrying Tom, yet after sobering up continues with the ceremony not mentioning the incident again. Daisy makes her choice of a husband who was socially more acceptable and decided to forego any possibility of love. I feel Daisy would have never been satisfied; she marries a man who has money and is miserable without love; but had Daisy married Gatsby when she had the opportunity she would have probably been unhappy with out the riches.
I have discussed man’s search for identity as the theme in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In doing so, I noticed that the characters in this novel never once look inside themselves for contentment. The characters I have discussed, and other in this unique, enter twining novel seek to make themselves hole by attaining sexual conquests, material possessions, and above all wealth. Not surprisingly, none of the characters ever get what they want out of life. Gatsby wants the love of Daisy and instead ends up dead; Myrtle sought to hold on to her rich lover and ends up dead; Tom and Daisy stay unhappily married.