Monday, May 7, 2012

Hand in the Fire

The two hands reaching out from the sides of the poster are meant to represent Daisy and Tom. They are reaching toward each other but there is something in the way, and it is another woman's hand on fire. This is the hand of Myrtle Wilson, Tom's mistress. It may seem that her hand is just on fire, but her hand being on fire represents the Valle of Ashes. In the novel, the ashes covering the Valley symbolize the "ashes" that cover Tom and Daisy's relationship, all their wrong doings and his affairs. Not only is Myrtle one of his affairs, but she lives in the Valley of Ashes, the pure symbol of their wrong doings. This is not by sheer coincidence, Myrtle lives here because she is the wrong doing in the period being described to readers through Nick. Myrtle and all of Tom's affairs are what keep Tom and Daisy from being fully happy with one another. Deep down, at one point they must have truly loved one another and they still must for them to remain together. But there is always something keeping them from truly being "hand in hand" as depicted in the portrait, and in the poster it is Myrtle. It is the ashes that cover the Valley. It is Tom's inability to be faithful.

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