February 28, 2012
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, introduces the reader to scenes of violence that contribute to the meaning of the complete work. Wealthy, powerful characters such as Tom Buchanan are the major causes of violence introduced because they are selfish and careless. Through an accident that killed Myrtle Wilson, or the passionate murder of an innocent man, Fitzgerald incorporates themes of the novel.
The violent act that begins the downward spiral in The Great Gatsby is when Tom Buchanan hits Myrtle, his mistress, in the face. “It was a body capable of enormous leverage — a cruel body (Fitzgerald, 12). ” is how Nick describes Tom’s intimidating physique when he first meets him. So it is not surprising that when Myrtle begins to taunt him by repeating his wife’s name that he reacted and “broke her nose with his open hand (Fitzgerald, 41).” This scene of violence demonstrates that people like Tom, living in East Egg, think that they are better than everyone else and can disrespect or ignore others because of social status. This is the underlying cause of the deaths in the novel.
One of the most tragic scenes of violence occur when Daisy Buchanan is driving in the car with Gatsby, returning home from their dramatic visit to the city with her husband. She is hysterical because Tom revealed that Gatsby is a bootlegger. While passing through the Valley of Ashes, Myrtle runs out to the car because her husband is forcing her to move and she needs help. “The ‘death car,’ as the newspapers called it, didn’t stop; it came out of the gathering darkness, wavered tragically for a moment and then disappeared around the next bend (Fitzgerald 144).” is how the killing is described. As a result of Daisy’s recklessness, she brutally ran over Myrtle Wilson. Besides the fact that Myrtle was murdered, the importance of this scene is that Daisy did not even stop to take a look at the damage her state...