Great Gatsby`s Minor Characters In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the minor characters play an important role in contributing to the plot, theme and give the reader an overall understanding of the novel as a whole. The three most important minor characters in the novel are Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanans secret mistress, George Wilson, Myrtles husband and the owner of a run down garage on the side of the road leading into the city, and finally Jordan Baker, an attractive young woman golfer who is a compulsive liar, she also eventually becomes more and more involved with Nick Carroway, the narrator. All three of these characters contribute a great deal to the novel as a whole. Though their parts are small, without them the novel would not be the masterpiece that it is.
Jordan Baker is the minor character with the biggest part. she is seen very often throughout the novel. Jordan Bakers most striking quality is her dishonestly. She is tough and aggressive-a tournament golfer who is so hardened by competition and because ot that she is willing to do anything to win. At the end of Chapter III, when Nick is thinking about Jordan, he remembers a story about her first major tournament.
“At her first big golf tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers-a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of the scandal-then died away. A caddie retracted his statement and the only other witness admitted that he might have been mistaken. the incident and the name had remained together in my mind.” pg. 63. This incident stays with the reader throughout the novel, reminding the reader (as it reminds Nick) that Jordan is the smart but extremely dishonest new woman, the opportunist who will do whatever she must to be successful in her world.
Jordan Bakers use in the novel helps Fitzgerald get the story told. Because she is Daisy’s friend from Louisville, she can supply Nick with information he would not have otherwise. She also serves as a link between the major characters, moving back and forth between the world of East Egg (Tom and Daisy’s house) and West Egg (Gatsby’s and Nick’s houses). She is rich enough to be comfortable among the East Eggers but enough of a social hustler to appear at Gatsby’s parties. Jordan serves still another purpose, she is actually Nick’s girlfriend during the summer of 1922.
The Nick-Jordan romance serves as a good sub-plot to the Gatsby-Daisy relationship, and allows the reader to compare and contrast the romantic-dream like love of Gatsby for Daisy to a very practical but weak relationship created through Nick and Jordan. Fitzgerald brilliantly uses Jordan Baker to incorporate Nick into the novel as more than the narrator but as a real person. Jordan is also used to show the contrast between two different kinds of relationships, that of Gatsby and Daisy and Jordan and Nick. Myrtle Wilson is another minor character that plays a great role in The Great Gatsby. She is the wife of George Wilson. Myrtle is a very important character, because Fitzgerald uses her to help expose Toms brutality and to show how Tom is a hypocrite.
Fitzgerald uses Myrtle because it shows how Tom thinks of her as one of his possessions, she is displayed openly to all of Toms friends and acquaintances and they all freely accept her. Tom uses Myrtle for the fueling of his own ego because it makes him feel powerful and superior. The novel is propelled into excellence because of Fitzgeralds ability to use Myrtle to help portray Tom as an evil, brutal and hypocritical man. By incorporating Myrtle into the novel Tom becomes hated more by the reader because he disapproves Daisys relationship with Gatsby but he feels that his relationship with Myrtle is appropriate because Myrtle is nothing more than a possession to him. Myrtle is basically confined to chapter II, except for when she is killed in the end of the novel.
During chapter II the reader finds that Myrtles one wish is to leave her class and to become on of the elite rich. Myrtle obviously has the logic and morals to become one of the elite because she is obsessed with appearances and unaware of the realities of life. Myrtle says that she married George “because I thought he was a gentleman..I thought he knew something about breeding but he wasnt fit to lick my shoe.” (pg. 39). Myrtle honestly thinks that she is above George and that he is so far below her because , in her mind, she is one of the elite because of her relationship with Tom. In reality Myrtle is just another one of Toms possessions. Fitzgerald uses Myrtle to show the reader how the disillusioned life of the rich is not confined to the rich alone.
Myrtle is from a lower class but yet she has shares the same perspective on life with Tom and the rest of the rich. They all feel that money is their key to superiority. Though Myrtle is not rich at all she feels that she superior to the world because she is connected to vast extensions of wealth through Tom. In the end Fitzgerald shows the reader why he incorporated Myrtle into his novel. He used her to show Toms brutality and hypocrisy, but Fitzgerald uses Myrtle for a deeper purpose.
He questions the reader and the readers morals directly and basically makes the reader question his/her own self worth. He asks the reader “Do you feel above the world, because if you think that you are, you have already proven that you are not.” George Wilson is the last major minor character in the novel. He is the husband of Myrtle Wilson and in the end the murderer of Gatsby. Tom treats George in a very unique way. Though Tom is having an affair with his wife he still makes regular contact with him.
Toms attitude towards George is one of pure evil. He treats George terribly because Tom feels that he is so far above him and that he can feel free to treat him with as little respect as possible. Tom uses George as his own personal punching bag. This is seen when Tom baits the poor George into believing that he wants to sell a car to him that in reality, Tom has no real intention of selling. Fitzgerald also uses George to show a love that Tom could never have.
With out George in the novel the joy of true love would not have ever been seen in the novel. Throughout all the relationships in the novel only Georges love for his wife was true. Because of Georges love he was truly richer than Tom could ever be. In the end it is seen why Fitzgerald used George Wilson in the novel. George has such a greater spirit than Tom, and this just shows how Tom, along with the rest of the rich, are so confused as to how to go about life.
Fitzgerald shows the reader that George reacts to the loss of his wife with a show of grief that reveals a love that is beyond Toms capacity. For Tom can not love because he is incapable of true love, This is one of Toms greatest flaws, the closest thing to love for Tom is his love for his money. George Wilson is used in the novel to show how deprived Toms life really is. All three of these characters play such an important role throughout the novel. Though they are considered minor characters, but without them, the novel would not and could not have had achieved the level of greatness that it is known for.
Fitzgerald brilliantly uses Jordan Baker to incorporate Nick into the novel as more than the narrator but as a real person. Jordan is also used to show the contrast between two different kinds of relationships, that of Gatsby and Daisy and Jordan and Nick. Gatsbys relationship with Daisy is one of false hope, a sort of unattainable goal that plunges Gatsby deep into self pity. The relationship of Nick and Jordan is a more modern relationship, neither of them knows a great deal about eachanother, yet they pursue each other purely out of physical attraction. In they end Nick does learn about Jordan and the life she lives and he ends the relationship and Jordan appearance in the novel.
George Wilson played a key role in the novel as well. His purpose was to show the reader the life of a working class man. George showed what life was like for a man who had to work for every penny that he had. Though Tom feels that he is above George, in the end Tom is not. George showed a love that Tom could never have. With out George in the novel the joy of true love would have not ever been seen.
Throughout all the relationships in the novel only Georges love for his wife was true. Because of Georges love he was truly richer than Tom could ever be. Finally, Myrtle Wilson, she was perhaps one of the most astounding characters in the novel. Fitzgerald used her not only to make the reader hate Tom even more but to use her life and demeanor to question the reader directly. Fitzgeralds main goal, for the use of Myrtle, was to not so much to scare the reader into questioning his/her own self worth, but to suggest to the reader that you do not have to blinded by money to be disillusioned in life. The three most important minor characters in the novel are Myrtle Wilson, George Wilson, and Jordan Baker.
All three of these characters contribute a great deal to the novel as a whole. Though their parts are small, without them the novel would not be the masterpiece that it is one of the best of the kind.