Illusion in The Great Gatsby

  • Length: 1072 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

      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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Illusion in The Great Gatsby." 22 Apr 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Illusion and Reality in The Great Gatsby - Illusion and Reality in The Great Gatsby       The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel about one man's disenchantment with the American dream. In the story we get a glimpse into the life of Jay Gatsby, a man who aspired to achieve a position among the American rich to win the heart of his true love, Daisy Fay. Gatsby's downfall was in the fact that he was unable to determine that concealed boundary between reality and illusion in his life.    The Great Gatsby is a tightly structured, symbolically compressed novel whose predominant images and symbols reinforce the idea that Gatsby's dream exists on borrowed time....   [tags: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald]
:: 3 Works Cited
1555 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Great Gatsby: Gatsbys Illusion Of Himself Essay - The Great Gatsby: Gatsby's Illusion of Himself F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is considered a novel that embodies America in the 1920s. In it, the narrator, Nick Carroway, helps his neighbor Jay Gatsby reunite with Daisy Buchanan, with whom he has been in love with since 5 years before, during World War I. The affair between the two fails, however, and ends in Gatsby being shot and killed. The reason that this was inevitable is that Gatsby created a fantasy so thoroughly that he became part of it, and he fell with it when reality came crashing down....   [tags: essays research papers] 695 words
(2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Reality and Illusion in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - Reality and Illusion in The Great Gatsby   The disparity between illusion and reality plays a very large part in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and one scene in particular, that in which narrator Nick Carraway leaves a soiree held by two acquaintances, Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson (Fitzgerald 41-42), functions mainly to explore this issue. Offering a striking view of this disparity, the scene epitomizes Fitzgerald’s constant struggle to discern between the showy, glittery image of American society in the 1920’s and the reality of the hollowness and insincerity which this image struggles to mask....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays] 657 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
gatillus Illusion Vs. Reality in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - Illusion Vs. Reality in The Great Gatsby     "A confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished," is how Goethe states not to mistake fantasy for reality. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many of the characters live in an illusory world, though few can see reality.     Fitzgerald presents Jay Gatsby as one character who cannot see reality. "Can't repeat the past. Why of course you can!"(Pg. 116) He focuses so strongly on trying to get what he had in the past that he cannot face the reality that he cannot have Daisy....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays] 462 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Illusion in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay - Illusion in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald Before writing The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald must have done thoughtful and extensive research. This is apparent because, to explore the novel's main theme, 'The American Dream', he chose to place it in the 1920s. This was, indeed, a perfect time slot because the 20s were notorious for the numerous ways in which they influenced the public. These years served as a defining point for many aspects of everyday life such as wealth, social status, and general 'success'....   [tags: essays papers] 1120 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Great Gatsby Research Report Essay - I. Introduction In 1896 F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. After growing up in Minnesota he moved to start a career and marry Zelda, the girl he loved. He published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920; the novel was a success and Fitzgerald quickly became one of the most famous young writers of the time. “F. Scott Fitzgerald eagerly embraced his newly minted celebrity status and embarked on an extravagant lifestyle that earned him a reputation as a playboy and hindered his reputation as a serious literary writer”(F....   [tags: The Great Gatsby]
:: 5 Works Cited
1251 words
(3.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay - F. Scott Fitzgerald presents a scathing critique of upper class privilege in The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby’s library in particular, illustrates his fundamental misunderstanding of the self-perpetuating class society in 1920s America. It is a novel about surveillance: the ruling class constantly monitors the system; Gatsby is identified as the usurping “Other” who threatens their status, and must be put back in his rightful place. Gatsby equates appearance with reality, presenting himself as upper class is just as real as being upper class....   [tags: The Great Gatsby]
:: 1 Works Cited
997 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Jay Gatsby's Illusions in Fitzgerald’s American classic "The Great Gatsby" - In life, what we perceive tends to show misconception in how the thought plays out. A good example would be the character Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic: The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was unable to distinguish between his love for Daisy, a reality, versus the illusion that he could recapture her love by establishing and inventing a fraudulent past. He believed he could repeat the past, and acquire a flaunting wealth. In the novel, Jay Gatsby seems incompetent in establishing a difference between the realities of his life versus the illusion he made out....   [tags: Fitzgerald, Great Gatsby, reality, ] 699 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Great Gatsby: American Dream or American Nightmare? Essay - “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby The American Dream, a long standing ideal embodies the hope that one can achieve financial success, political power, and everlasting love through dedication and hard work. During the Roaring 20s, people in America put up facades to mask who they truly were. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald conveys that the American Dream is simply an illusion, that is idealist and unreal....   [tags: The Great Gatsby]
:: 1 Works Cited
1747 words
(5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Search for Utopia in The Great Gatsby Essay -   In Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the reader discovers multiple interpretations of utopia. Each character is longing for one particular paradise. Only one character actually reaches utopia, and the arrival is a mixed blessing at best. The concept of paradise in The Great Gatsby is “a shifting, evanescent illusion of happiness, joy, love, and perfection, a mirage that leads each character to reach deeper, look harder, strive farther”(Lehan, 57). All the while, time pulls each individual farther from the moment he seeks....   [tags: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald]
:: 3 Works Cited
1141 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

  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 mystery and illusion about his past.

He wants to keep his past a secret, and set everyone up to see that he is

living a great life, everyone adores him, and has no problems.  This is all

well and fine until his illusion crumbles and in turn brings the demise of

Daisy and Toms relationship, and his death.  Because Gatsby set up this

fallacy, Myrtle was killed, Wilson was killed, Gatsby was killed, and

Myrtle's and Toms relationship was killed.


      The reality of the whole Gatsby situation, is that he is a crooked

business man, a no good person, a cheat and a lier.  Gatsby made his money

in underhanded schemes, illegal activities, and the hurting of many people.

This was all done for one reason, The love of his life, who could not

accept him because he was not rich enough.


      Fitzgerald definitely does not condemn illusion, in fact, without

the illusion that he creates around Gatsby, this book would not be half the

book it is.  Fitzgerald is trying to tell us through this book that we

should not fall for the mirage that people want us to believe in.  I

definitely feel that Fitzgerald looks down upon illusions, as if he wants

people to stop pretending what they are not and what they will never be.

The author definitely feels that there is a place in our lives for illusion.

 Illusion brings us out of the harsh, dry, despair that we live in on a

daily basis.  Being a hard-nosed realist may be okay for some people, but

in my life I need a little mystery, illusion, and having things being more

than meets the eye.  The Illusions main purpose is to add vitality to the

monotonous way of life we live in.


      In my opinion, fantasies are totally different than illusions.

Fantasies are something that you like to see, while illusions are things

that fool you that you usually do not like. The whole persona of Gatsby

was an illusion, which may have looked like he was living the fantasy life,

but when his whole illusion crumbled, it was obvious that everyone did not

like to be fooled by him.  Daisy has the fantasy that her marriage is doing

all right, although she obviously knows that it is falling apart.  Daisy

creates this fantasy because she wants to believe it.  When Tom's mistress

calls him, Daisy goes out into the yard and gives a lame speech about "a

bird on the lawn that... must be a nightingale come over on the Canard or

White Star Line... It's romantic, isn't it, Tom?"(20)  Her fantasy makes it

possible for her to ignore the obvious signs that her marriage is falling

apart, and because she believes in this and created this, it is a fantasy.


      Illusion serves a great purpose in this novel, although this is

good or bad, it is hard to decide.  Definitely the illusions are looked

down upon Gatsby, but they help present the hubbub and wonder about Gatsby.

The illusions are nothing more than mirages, they make you have a false

sense of sufficiency, which can be a very bad thing when the bottom of your

illusion drops out on you, and you are left with nothing but lies.



Return to