Tom takes Nick to meet Myrtle Wilson, Tom's woman, who lives in a section
of Long Island known as the Valley of Ashes. Her husband, George, has a gas
station and an auto repair shop there and the couple live directly above it.
It is located in a desolate section on a road that runs between West Egg and
New York. Nearby is a large billboard on which is painted a fading advertisement
for an optician with the eyes of a Doctor looking over the area with a pair
Tom has Myrtle meet them in the city, where Tom buys her a dog. They go to
visit Myrtle's sister and also visit her neighbors, Catherine McKee and her
husband, who is an artist. They gossip about Gatsby, and Myrtle discusses
her husband, claiming that she was crazy to marry him, and how she met Tom.
The party breaks up when Myrtle starts using Daisy name and Tom breaks her
nose with a blow of his open hand.
This chapter brings into focus the other two settings of the novel, the Valley
of Ashes and New York City. The Valley is described as being gray, bleak,
and poverty ridden. The most dominant feature of the area are two huge eyes
of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, a billboard advertisement of an optometrist. They
first take on meaning in subsequent chapters.
New York City is presented as being vibrant and glitzy. In this setting,
Myrtle can give her fantasy full reign and she becomes lively and boisterous.
Tom can indulge in his vulgarity and carry on his love-affair with Myrtle
without any concerns.