Explain the Wilsons's strengths and weaknesses in The Great Gatsby using textual evidence.

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I tend to think that the strengths are all George's, while the weaknesses are all Myrtle's. He works hard at a thankless job in a terrible place with a wife who not only does not love him but also treats him like junk. When Tom asks him about business, he...

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I tend to think that the strengths are all George's, while the weaknesses are all Myrtle's. He works hard at a thankless job in a terrible place with a wife who not only does not love him but also treats him like junk. When Tom asks him about business, he "unconvincingly" replies "'I can't complain.'" Business isn't good, but he remains optimistic, with a "damp gleam of hope" in his eyes. He seems to try his very best to do all he can to make her happy, yet she cheats on him and puts him down, acting like he's beneath her: she "walk[s] through her husband as if he were a ghost . . ." He seems to be trusting, at least until he learns of Myrtle's affair, though he really has no one in his life who he can count on; he has no idea Tom and Myrtle are making plans to sleep together while he's in the next room getting chairs.

Myrtle is a tacky and classless woman who puts on airs and cheats on her husband. Myrtle says terrible things about her spouse, like that he is not fit to lick her shoe, when he is the hard-worker who truly cares about her. In the city, she acts with "impressive hauteur" and talks about the "lower orders" as though she is from the upper-class, like Tom or Daisy.

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I guess it really depends on what you think a strength and a weakness are.

Myrtle is rude and a terrible mate because she is a cheater, but Myrtle is very discreet and keeps her secret well:

Mrs. Wilson sat discreetly in another car.

A definite weakness is that when she is with Tom she grows very arrogant:

Mrs. Wilson gathered up her dog and her other purchases, and went haughtily in.

She likes to think she's all that when she's with Tom. I do think it is somewhat respectful not to rub Wilson's nose in the fact that she's having an extramarital affair, but absolutely immoral too.

Wilson's strengths include being hard-working, honest and protective.

A weakness is his stupidity. Tom says of him:

He's so dumb he doesn't know he's alive.

You could argue Wilson's weakness is also a strength. Being unaware is sometimes an advantage in life because you don't have to stress about the problems you just don't know about.

 

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