Why does Fitzgerald have Main Street go by Wilson' shop?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The street Wilson's shop is on is described as "a sort of compacted Main Street ministering to it and contiguous to absolutely nothing." This image of main street is the foil (opposing concept) to Wall Street. Wilson represents the middle working class as opposed to the upper, materialistic class of Gatsby and his well-to-do party goers. The idea here is that Wilson toils away on old cars for his own benefit, while he fixes expensive cars for the upper class. The upper class relies on people like Wilson to sustain their lavish lifestyle. Wall Street feeds off Main Street and gives nothing in return. Tragically, and ironically, the only return Wilson gets is that his wife is killed by one of the cars he'd repaired (Gatsby's). Wilson does rely on the rich for business, and may even see his work on expensive cars as a glimpse into a better life, but his business if failing: and this proposes the idea that the middle class is at the mercy of the upper class, even if they are in business together.

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The Great Gatsby

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