On the same day that Tom finds out about Daisy’s affair with Gatsby, another significant occurrence in the plot comes into being, impacting the lives of our main characters dramatically. Myrtle Wilson, Tom’s mistress, is run over and killed by Gatsby’s new yellow car. Allow me to explain how exactly this event came about.
George Wilson discovered that his wife was having an affair, which made him become physically ill, just at the thought. He locked her up in her room to prevent her from going to see her lover, and he planned to move away with her to prevent her from seeing him ever again. This move on his part is completely out of character for him, because he is usually a weak, fearful guy who lets himself get bossed around by his wife. He has become more courageous and has decided to take action for once.
Myrtle was somehow able to escape from her room in her last few moments, to scream at Wilson, and to run outside, right into the path of Gatsby’s car. I can speculate that she might have done this because she believed that Tom was driving the car and she wanted to run away with him. Also, she might have came out due to her jealousy of Jordan, whom she mistook for Tom’s wife earlier on. Or she could have simply just been running away from her husband. Gatsby’s car never stopped and kept driving on, without a care in the world, after Myrtle was instantly killed upon impact.
Tom, driving his own blue car, becomes excited to see peoples’ misery when he sees a lot of traffic up ahead, indicating that an accident occurred. True to form, he doesn’t care that someone may have gotten injured or killed. He just notes, “That’s good. Wilson’ll have a little business at last.” But his whole demeanor changes when he realizes that someone close to him has been killed. Tom walks into the garage and sees Wilson hysterical and in shock about the event that has just occurred. Tom takes on an authoritative persona once he realizes what happened and he begins to tell Wilson to pull himself together. Tom wants to be sure that he doesn’t receive the blame for the crime because he was driving that yellow car earlier on in the day. He wants to save his own skin above anything else. Tom remained strong among the people in the garage, but once he got back into his car, he began to cry. He believes that Gatsby is the one who ran over Myrtle.
Gatsby tells Nick what happened later that night, but his focus is still entirely on Daisy. Gatsby seems perfectly fine that a woman was killed with his own car; his only concern is how Daisy will take the news. He seems to have filled up his heart entirely with Daisy, leaving nothing else to fit inside. It is revealed that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle was, in fact, Daisy, but of course Gatsby is more than willing to take the fall for her. She was not in a proper emotional state at the time she ran over Myrtle and wasn’t able to stop afterwards. Gatsby is too blindly in love with Daisy to realize anything else going on around him besides her. He is planning on watching her house all night to make sure she is okay and that Tom doesn’t hurt her, which I personally think is a little creepy.
Meanwhile, inside the house, Daisy and Tom appear to be having an intimate conversation, about what, I don’t know yet. This chapter leaves me brimming with questions: Who will get in trouble for Myrtle’s death? Will this experience change Daisy? What will happen in the love triangle between Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby? I hope to find out the answers soon.