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A Submissive's Environment

In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, George B. Wilson is the poor mechanic who lives in the valley of ashes and with his wife, Myrtle. She was his master, his controller, and his life. Was he in love with her? No, he was just glad to have someone that depended on him. When he discovered that she was being unfaithful to him, he was broken. But the thing that killed him was when she got run over by Gatsby. What is a submissive person to do when their master is killed? Myrtle Wilson is George’s environment and the loss of it caused him to kill, not only Jay Gatsby, but himself as well.

The first thing learned about George in the book is that he is not respected by anybody. He isn’t rich, he isn’t smart and he isn’t very friendly. His life revolves around working and his wife. In the second chapter, Myrtle commands George to get chairs for their guests (Tom and Nick). She doesn’t even look at him when she does. She only has eyes for Tom. George doesn’t notice and fetches what his wife desires. Wilson’s neighbor, Michaelis, can give insight to George without work or his wife. “Generally he was one of these worn-out men: when he wasn’t working, he sat on a chair in the doorway and stared at the people and cars that passed along the road. When any one spoke to him he invariably laughed in an agreeable, colorless way. He was his wife’s man, not his own.”(Fitzgerald 98). He is dependent on Myrtle for so much. Maybe not money, but someone to please and work for.

In the day or so before Myrtle is killed, George finds the dog leash that she got when Tom bought her a dog. Myrtle tries giving him reasons as to why she has a leash, but George suspects a lover. He locks her in their house and doesn’t let anyone in or out, excluding himself. This is the only point in the book in which he shows any backbone. He suspects every man on the street of being Myrtle’s lover. They get in an argument and Myrtle runs out the door to her doom. The first pieces evidence of George cracking is the words he speaks after the accident, which is a version of “Oh My God”.

In the days following the accident, Michaelis stays with George in hopes of getting him someone else to cry on. George reveals all that he knows. About Myrtle having a lover, him accusing her of the wrongs she has done and that she must have been running out to the car that ran her over. Michaelis thinks that George is just grieving, but one morning finds George missing. George can be tracked to Port Roosevelt and then to Gad’s Hill, after which, he is lost. But by 2:30 in the afternoon, he knew that Gatsby owned the yellow death car. He found Gatsby in his pool and shot him. He shot himself soon afterwards.

This is the tragic tale of George B. Wilson, the mechanic in the valley of ashes. While he was devoted to making his wife happy, she was having an affair with one of his customers. He found out and finally fought back. Only to have his heart crushed with his master’s death. The end being the death of James Gatz and himself. Without his wife, Wilson had nothing. She was the goal in his life, her happiness. He had hardly lasted a day and a half before he sought revenge and suicide. No man can survive without something familiar in his environment. And George Wilson is no exception.



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