Why Did Myrtle Marry George In The Great Gatsby: Exploring Motives

The Downfall of American Society in The Great Gatsby

On the surface, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s bestseller, The Great Gatsby, seems like a tragic love story about a man and a woman who can never be together. However, when more closely examined, one realizes that the novel has a much darker underlying theme. It is a representation of the downfall of American society as a whole during the “Roaring Twenties.” Specifically, Fitzgerald shows how the love of money and the need for materialistic things leads to the decline of moral standards, greed, and shallowness. Wealth and social class influence all aspects of life in the novel, especially love.

Money’s Influence on Relationships: Why Did Myrtle Marry George?

To begin, money influences the relationship between George and Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle says that she mistakenly believed George was worthy of her, only to find out that he was poor. She comments: “I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe.” (Chapter 2). This shows how Myrtle married out of convenience rather than love. She married George in hopes that he would help her raise her social status. In addition, Myrtle’s materialistic desires and general dissatisfaction with her own relationship are what leads her to have an affair with the very rich Tom Buchanan.

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The Impact of Social Class on Gatsby’s Pursuit: The Quest for Daisy’s Affections

To continue, Gatsby’s quest for Daisy’s affections is also affected by class. Their affair is thwarted when they first meet in Kentucky because of the economic gap between them. Daisy is taken by Tom because she is impressed by the pearls that Tom got for her while Gatsby was away at war. In contrast, Gatsby has a loyal heart as he resorts to becoming a criminal in order to make enough money to impress Daisy. “He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity” (Chapter 5). Only after he succeeds in gaining a fortune by bootlegging does he attempt to rekindle his relationship with Daisy.

Moral Decay and Consequences: The Tragedy of Gatsby’s Loyalty

This is ironic as Gatsby’s loyalty is what leads to his eventual murder. He takes responsibility for the car crash while the Buchanan’s selfishness and carelessness allow them to remove themselves from the situation both mentally and physically. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made.’. This quote illustrates how Daisy and Tom have become so corrupted by their wealth that they abandon their morality. Their willingness to leave Gatsby and the car crash behind symbolizes how little moral value the people in this society possessed.

Conclusion: Superficial Worldviews and Moral Decay

To conclude, Fitzgerald paints a dark picture of the world in The Great Gatsby. He shows how the economic growth of the 1920s led people to have superficial worldviews. They believe that their satisfaction lies in things such as social class, materialism, and wealth rather than in things such as morality. This lack of basic human decency leads the characters of the novel to break laws, have horrible relationships, and even death. People marry out of convenience rather than love, cannot be with the people they desire, and abandon friends as soon as they cease to be of use to them.                         

References:

  1. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 1925.      

Text Messaging Affecting Literacy: Unveiling The Positive Impact

Text Messaging Affecting Literacy: The Positive Influence

A message may pop up on a cell phone screen looking similar to this; “Meet u @ ten 2nite c u l8r.” Text messaging has become the most common form of communication. Ninety-seven percent of Americans are reported to use texting as a form of communication. The average American teenager sends texts about 100 times a day. Text language contains abbreviated words, symbols, emojis, and little or no grammar. Teachers worry that the increased use of text language is taking a large toll on their students’ writing skills. These worries are pointless. Text messaging has a positive effect on students’ literacy skills. It provides teenagers with a fun way to communicate, a boost of confidence, language and writing skills, and a basis for reading.

Fun and Effective Communication: The Appeal of Text Messaging

Ask any teenager, and they will tell you that texting is fun. Texting is a way to help children practice communication skills through something they enjoy. It also can help a child come to realize that writing can be fun. Since texting has come about, there has been more writing done among children than in the past.

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Building Confidence and Expressing Opinions: Texting’s Social Benefits

By providing an easy and fun way to communicate with others, text messaging helps children get over social awkwardness. One of the main goals in a classroom is to build the student’s confidence. Texting builds students’ confidence in their writing skills because they can do it freely without the pressure of writing formally. In addition to building confidence in their writing skills, texting also helps students be confident with their own opinions. Because they are responding to text messages constantly without anyone standing over their shoulder, they come to find what they believe. This develops within a student the ability to weed out outside voices.

Enhancing Language and Communication Skills: Debunking Negative Claims

Teachers have recently been lamenting over the fact that their students’ writing skills are becoming terrible due to the increase in text messaging. One concern of theirs is that the increase in the use of text language will affect their students’ English. Text language has no effect on students’ English. Actually, text language is a different language altogether. Learning to understand text language helps sharpen students’ linguistic abilities. It will be easier for a student who texts to catch on to other languages.

Positive Effects on Spelling, Grammar, and Critical Thinking

Teachers claim they have seen a decrease in the quality of students’ writing. They believe that the students cannot spell correctly anymore due to the use of acronyms. Surprisingly, texting has a positive effect on children’s spelling skills. A study was done to test if texting has any negative effect on children’s spelling. In the study, children were asked to translate one sentence from text language to regular English and one sentence from English to text language. The proctors counted up the spelling mistakes in the English translation from the text language and found that those who text more have greater abilities in spelling.

Teachers have also complained that they have found various grammar mistakes in the students’ formal writing. For example, students start sentences with lowercase letters, leave out punctuation, and use abbreviations. A study was done on college students and found that college students who text a lot were not found to use acronyms in their formal writing. They understand that shortened words are unsuitable for formal writing. Texting helps students learn about writing to a specific audience. It helps them learn that this way of writing is appropriate for writing to friends in a text message but not for a formal paper.

One teacher claims that she feels that her students’ writing doesn’t contain emotion anymore because nowadays, “emotions are always sideways, smiley faces.” In text messages, written-out emotions are replaced with symbols and emojis. This is, in fact, incorrect. In text messages, children must figure out how to get their emotions across in different creative ways. This only adds to the child’s ability to portray their emotions in writing.

Children also build their creativity by figuring out different ways to get their point across in a text message. Because they are confined to a specific number of characters, children must figure out how they can express their ideas in the least amount of words possible. This also teaches children how to choose their words carefully and omit needless words from writing. For example, instead of writing, “I will see you tomorrow at the neighborhood playground.”, they will write, “See you tomorrow at the park.”

Another teacher stated that her students are “woefully unskilled in critical thinking and interpretation.” This is an incorrect belief. When reading a text message, the child must decipher what the message is saying. This sharpens a child’s critical thinking skills and ability to analyze writing. In addition, those who used text language more were found to have better vocabulary.

Text Messaging and Reading: Debunking Negative Claims

The teacher also says that text messaging is negatively affecting their students’ ability to read. Because text language omits the vowels, it helps establish the basis of reading, which is sounding out the letters to create a word. It also helps students’ reading comprehension because they have to decipher what the text message is saying. Because they are reading text- messages all day long, it actually helps with their reading skills.

A study was done including 80 college students. Thirty-four of the students used text language, called, and forty-six did not. Those who do use text language are called “texters,” and those who do not are called “nontexters.” Each student met with an experiment proctor individually and was asked to do a few things. First, they were asked to send one email to their professor and one email to their friend. The purpose was to see the differences between the two emails. They found that the “texters” used a lot more text language in emails to friends, but in emails to professors, the “texters” and the “nontexters” scored equally because they understood that it is not appropriate to use text language in a formal email. Next, they were asked to translate a sentence from English to text language and to translate a sentence from text language to English.

The “texters” scored higher in translating English into text language. Both groups scored about the same in translating text language to English. They were also asked to translate specific words in text language to regular English. The purpose was to see whether texting has an impact on spelling those words that are most commonly used in a text message. The results of this test, together with the results of a standardized spelling test, showed that using text language has no direct correlation to spelling errors in students’ writing. The students were also asked to take a standardized literacy test. The results showed that there was no difference between “texters” and “nontexters” in literacy skills, and those who texted more had better vocabulary.

In conclusion, teachers who believe that texting is detrimental to their students’ literacy skills are incorrect. Truthfully, text messaging is a tool that is only making students’ writing better. Texting only benefits the literacy, verbal reasoning, spelling, grammar, and communication skills of students. The next time a teacher grades a student’s paper and finds a spelling, grammar, or any other mistake, their first thought will not be, “It’s probably because he or she texts.”   

References:

  1. “45 Texting Statistics That Prove Businesses Need to Take SMS Seriously.” SimpleTexting, www.simpletexting.com/texting-statistics/.

  2. Lenhart, Amanda. “Teens, Smartphones & Texting.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 20 Mar. 2012, www.pewresearch.org/internet/2012/03/19/teens-smartphones-texting/.

  3. Cullington, Rita. “Does Texting Affect Writing?” The New Media & Society, vol. 13, no. 1, 2010, pp. 91-100.

  4. Myhra, Vicki. “Text Messaging: An Innovative Method of Communication.” Research in the Teaching of English, vol. 40, no. 4, 2006, pp. 413-426.

  5. Dansieh, Solomon. “The Use of Text Speak in the English Language.” English Language Teaching, vol. 8, no. 11, 2015, pp. 224-229.

  6. Plester, Beverly, et al. “Text Messaging and Literacy: The Evidence.” Routledge, 2011, pp. 139-154.

  7. Drouin, Michelle. “Texting, Textese and Literacy Abilities.” Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 35, no. 3, 2012, pp. 358-373.

  8. Vosloo, Steve. “Mobile Learning and Literacy: A Synthesis of Arguments and Outcomes.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 12, no. 2, 2011, pp. 117-140.

  9. Wood, Clare, et al. “Exploring the Longitudinal Relationships Between the Use of Grammar in Text Messaging and Performance on Grammatical Tasks.” British Journal of Developmental Psychology, vol. 32, no. 4, 2014, pp. 415-429.

  10. Cullington, Rita. “Smileys, Etc.: Linguistic Hygiene in Text Messaging.” English Today, vol. 26, no. 2, 2010, pp. 16-23.

  11. Drouin, Michelle. “College Students’ Text Messaging, Use of Textese and Literacy Skills.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 28, no. 4, 2012, pp. 331-335.

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