Describe the significance of Nick and Tom meeting Myrtle and George at the garage. Include the elements of place, later significance of this event, and what we know about the characters.

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This is the first time Nick has met Myrtle and George Wilson in the story.  Nick begins his retelling of the event by describing the setting of the garage in the valley of ashes and the garage itself. It is a contrast in every sense with the opulent mansion in which Tom and Daisy live, emphasizing the differences in class and social position between Tom and the Wilsons.

The differences continue with the ways in which Tom and George relate to each other. Tom is outspoken, in charge, and not quite a bully but certainly condescending, while George is obviously in a position of need and discomfort.

"Hello, Wilson, old man," said Tom, slapping him jovially on the shoulder. "How's business?" "I can't complain," answered Wilson unconvincingly. "When are you going to sell me that car?" "Next week; I've got my man working on it now." "Works pretty slow, don't he?" "No, he doesn't," said Tom coldly. "And if you feel that way about it, maybe I'd better sell it somewhere else after all." "I don't mean that," exaplined Wilson quickly. "I just meant--"

Myrtle appears, a woman whose face "contained no facet or gleam of beauty," but the chemistry between her and Tom is immediately evident.

walking through her husband as if he were a ghost, shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye. Then she wet her lips,

This meeting, in this location, establishes the completely separate worlds of the Wilsons and the Buchanans. It highlights the gulf between the real and legally married lives of Tom and Myrtle and their impassioned but forbidden affair. Nick attempts to remain separate from the entanglements and complications but is drawn into awareness of what is happening, starting with the meeting at the garage.

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