An informal party takes place in an apartment Tom Buchanan keeps for his adulterous relationship with Myrtle Wilson. Read from ‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ to ‘I followed’ (p. 39).
• WHY is it important? This episode confirms Tom’s brutal, cynical and misogynistic nature, which exists in stark contrast to Gatsby’s romantically idealised vision of Daisy.
• WHAT themes does it explore? The extract develops the theme of disparity between surface sophistication and underlying corruption. References to a gossip magazine placed over a tapestry image of Versailles resonate with the theme of Old and New World relationships.
• HOW does it work within the narrative? Myrtle’s broken nose recalls Daisy’s knuckle, bruised by Tom, in the preceding chapter, and anticipates Myrtle’s violent death in Chapter VII.
• WHAT language techniques does it employ? The incident seems all the more shocking because Nick reports it in a flat, matter-of-fact, even understated way, avoiding melodramatic language. The names Daisy and Myrtle carry clearly contrasting associations of plant names, i.e. Daisy: pretty and ephemeral; Myrtle: drab and bitter.