How does George Wilson treat women in The Great Gatsby? What quotes prove this?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first time we see George Wilson, his wife seems to order him around a bit, and he allows it.  When Tom and Nick arrive at the garage, she says to George, "'Get some chairs, why don't you, so somebody can sit down.'  'Oh, sure,' agreed Wilson hurriedly, and went toward the little office [...]."  Later, the last time he talks to Tom, he says, "'I've been here too long.  I want to get away.  My wife and I want to go West [....].  And now she's going whether she wants to or not.  I'm going to get her away.'"  At first, then, he seems to implicitly trust her, but once he finds out that she's been having an affair and cheating on him with someone else, he seems to believe that it is his prerogative to take away any other poor choices she might make.  He decides for them both that they are going to move away, and he doesn't really care if she still wants to go or not. 

To be fair, he seems to genuinely mourn Myrtle after she's died, and this implies that he really does love her.  However, he seems very traditional in thinking that, as her husband, he gets to limit her choices.  In order to prevent her from continuing her extramarital affair or engaging in any other questionable behavior, George believes it is his right, perhaps even responsibility as her husband, to remove her from any temptations.

Aside from Myrtle, we don't see George interacting with many other women.  Jordan is in the car when George discusses the move out west, but he's really only talking to Tom.  Perhaps this implies that George doesn't really look at any women other than his wife: while she has been unfaithful to him, he would never dream of being unfaithful to her.  It doesn't seem like something that would ever occur to him.

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The Great Gatsby

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