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Illusion In The Great Gatsby Essay

1071 words - 4 pages

James Baldwin looked upon reality and illusion through the eyes of a great author. He saw that all authors live in reality, while everyone else lives in a sense of illusion, or not knowing the whole truth. He shows us that the author must question everything, breaking down the illusions that are set up by people and by our society. Baldwin shows that normal people don't question everything, and therefore are fooled by illusions may times. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald suggests many things about illusion and reality. I think that the strongest thing Fitzgerald suggests is that you create your own illusion, and with this illusion, you shape the person that you are. All of the rich people in this book have some sort of illusion surrounding their persona, but Gatsby has the greatest of all illusions surrounding him.Gatsby is presented as living the charmed life, with plenty of friends, no problems, and an honest man. In the end his whole illusion unravels and we find that he has plenty of problems, is very crooked and dishonest, and has no true friends. He longs for companionship with Daisy, and still can never have that. Gatsby's illusion surrounding him is totally shattered in this book, partly through the actions of Tom who feels that he must discredit his name. Tom, however discredits name to draw Daisy away from him when he finds that Gatsby has become interested in Daisy. When Tom confronts Gatsby, and begins to crumble his illusion, Gatsby is as cool and confident as he always is.Tom's voice, incredulous and insulting: I told you I went there [Oxford]," said Gatsby. "I heard you, but I would like to know when." "It was in nineteen-nineteen. I only stayed for five months." Tom glanced around to see if we mirrored his unbelief. (136) This passage shows that even Gatsby has bought into the illusion that he has created for himself. It is as if he has thought out the answer for every question about his past, so that he can come off as being distinguished and honest.It would be hard to read The Great Gatsby without analyzing if the narrator, Nick Carroway falls into the illusion of Gatsby. With little hesitation I would say that Nick does fall into the illusion set up. From the first few chapters of the book we see how everyone swoons over Gatsby, and is in utter disbelief that Nick does not know the great and all powerful Gatsby. Nick reacts to what everyone tells him about Gatsby in a calm way, as the objective narrator that he is. "Well, they say he's a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm's. That's where all his money comes from... I'm scared of him. I'd hate to have to get anything on me."(37) At this point, Nick has seen Gatsby for a total of about 10 seconds, has never spoken to him, or even really seen him. Because of Gatsby's illusion, people must make up wild stories and guess about his past. Catherine (Myrtle's Sister) has drawn these conclusions about Gatsby, which I feel is just what He would of wanted; total...

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