In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, what veils Mr. Wilson's dark suit and pale hair?

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George Wilson lives in the area known as the valley of ashes, located between West Egg and New York City.  Here, it seems as though everything is coated with a thick layer of this ash: the landscape, the cars, the buildings, and even the people.  Wilson is no exception.  He,...

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George Wilson lives in the area known as the valley of ashes, located between West Egg and New York City.  Here, it seems as though everything is coated with a thick layer of this ash: the landscape, the cars, the buildings, and even the people.  Wilson is no exception.  He, too, is covered with ash.  In Chapter II, Nick Carraway, the narrator, says, "A white ashen dust veiled [Wilson's] dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity -- except his wife."  The ash appears to render him even paler and more inconsequential than he already seems to be.  While his wife, Myrtle, is vivacious and somehow colorfully alive, George seems spiritless, and Nick even describes him as "anemic" at one point.  It is a rather sad existence that George leads: he is manipulated by Tom Buchanan and deceived by his own wife, and all he wants to do is get ahead, try to achieve even a small piece of the American Dream.  The ashes that cover over his person seem to foreshadow, even in the beginning of the novel, that both George and his dream cannot survive.

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