Discuss the portrayal of class or social distinctions in Chapter Two of The Great Gatsby.

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Chapter two of The Great Gatsby introduces us to George and Myrtle Wilson and the Valley of the Ashes. George owns a car repair shop, a place Nick describes as "unprosperous and bare." It sits in the Valley of the Ashes, an unappealing locale halfway between the end of Long Island and New York City, a place Nick refers to as a "wasteland." Nick describes George as a "spiritless man."

George, Myrtle and the Valley of the Ashes represent the lower classes, the underside of the American dream. They are a stark contrast to the wealthy Buchanans, with their grand house, servants, billowing curtains, cars, beautiful views, and polo ponies. The wealthy and entitled Tom overflows with an aggressive self-assurance, while George is meek and servile. 

George's wife, Myrtle, is Tom's mistress. She has a brash personality, but we soon see she is lower class. Her apartment, paid for by Tom, is overstuffed with nouveau riche French furniture "entirely too large for it." Myrtle reads a cheap magazine called Town Tattle, and when she changes into overly grand clothes, she puts on "mincing" airs. Finally, she tolerates it when Tom "broke her nose with her open hand." Tom has bought himself a relationship with a lower-class woman, foreshadowing his tendency to treat people as commodities.

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