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Copy of Illusion vs. Reality in The Great Gatsby

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Karen Whitney

on 5 March 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Illusion vs. Reality in The Great Gatsby

Illusion vs Reality in
The Great Gatsby

The state of things as they are or appear to be, rather than as one might wish them to be.
Something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
The Great Gatsby portrays the theme of illusion versus reality through the personality and motivations of the characters, their tangled relationships, and powerful motifs and symbols.
Portrait of a Character:
Example 1

Illusion: Tom displays that he is a powerful man through his wealth
“I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife” (137).
Tom knows about the affair between Daisy and Gatsby and attempts to degrade Gatsby to save face and retain a sense of control.

Calling Gatsby “Mr. Nobody” puts Tom in a higher status
“Who is this Gatsby anyhow? ... A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootleggers, you know” (114).
Tom humiliates Gatsby because he is jealous and feels Daisy slipping away.

Reality: Tom views himself as a protector for white people, but in reality is a bigot and a racist.
“The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be – will be utterly submerged” (17).
Tom essentially states that if they don’t look out for their own race that these other races will submerge them.
Example 2

In learning more about Tom and Daisy’s relationship we realize that Tom is cruel and violent.
“Look!” she complained. “I hurt it.” We all looked – the knuckle was black and blue. “You did it, Tom,” she said accusingly. “I know you didn’t mean to but you did do it” (16).
Tom and Daisy are not happy with each other yet they remain together because of social status and expectations.

“Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson. “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai –” (41).
Tom does not know how to manage his anger.
Tom feels guilty over his relationship with Myrtle because she mentioned Daisy.
Tom has no respect and no love for Myrtle as a person and rather uses her as a “distraction”.
Example 1

Illusion: Jay Gatsby believes that he and Daisy will end up together.
“He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: 'I never loved you'… they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house – just as if it were five years ago” (116).

Reality: Daisy did love Gatsby, but has now moved on from the past.
“I want to wait here till Daisy goes to bed… So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight – watching over nothing” (153).

Even though his relationship with Daisy is over, he still sees hope in them getting together. He does not realize that the light in their relationship has gone out.
“Nothing happened,’ … I waited, and about four o’clock she came to the window and stood there for a minute and then turned out the light” (154).
Example 2

Illusion: Gatsby thinks that Daisy truly loves him and not Tom
“I don’t think she ever loved him… Of course she might have loved him just for a minute, when they were first married – and loved me more even then, do you see?” (159).

Reality: Daisy only loved Gatsby because he was wealthy
“She wanted her life shaped now, immediately – and the decision must be made by some force – of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality – that was close at hand” (159).
1 Character, 2 Personas:
Example 1

Illusion: Jay Gatsby is a mysterious and wealthy man through speculation and rumors.
Catherine: “Well they say he’s a nephew or cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm’s. That’s where all his money comes from” (37).

People at Gatsby’s party: “‘Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once’… ‘I don’t think it’s so much that,” argued Lucille skeptically… ‘it’s more that he was a German spy during the war’” (48).

Reality: Owl-eyed man asserts that Gatsby is authentic person because his books are real.
“It’s a bona fide piece of printed matter… But what do you want? What do you expect?” (50).
Example 2

Illusion: Gatsby tells Nick of his “well” upbringing and how he came to acquire his wealth.
“I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West – all dead now … Then it was all true” (69-71).

Reality: Gatsby is really named James Gatz, a poor boy from the Mid-West who changed his identity to become a different person and create an entirely new image of himself to be a man respectable enough to be with Daisy.
"I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. … So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end” (104).

Gatsby did not earn his money by owning legitimate drug stores, but was involved in illegal crime, such as bootlegging and owning illegal bonds.
“I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were.’ … That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him and I wasn’t far wrong” (141).
Example 1

Illusion: Gatsby sees the green light as a sign of hope that he can be re-united with Daisy.
“… He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way… I distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way, that might have been the end of a dock” (21).
Gatsby has tried to get as close as possible to Daisy by buying the house across from hers – only the bay separates them, he is so close yet so far.

Reality: The green light at the end of the Buchanan’s dock is just a light and by believing in the green light, Gatsby sees it as an enchanted object that loses its luster as Daisy slips away.
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (180).
Gatsby was so focused on his dream of winning Daisy back that it never occurred to him that she might have already moved on.
Example 2

Illusion: The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg look out ominously over the Valley of Ashes, resembling the eyes all seeing, all knowing eyes of God.
“‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!’ Standing behind him, Michealis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg …. ‘God sees everything,’ repeated Wilson. ‘That’s an advertisement.’ Michaelis assured him (159).

Reality: The billboard is just an abandoned sign from an optician who since moved his practice away.
“The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic – their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down him-self into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away" (24).

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Group 1:
Portray Jay Gatsby from Nick's point of view. All aspects of your illustration must be backed up by the text. Include at least 5 Quotes with page numbers that tie into your illustration.
Group 2:
Portray Jay Gatsby from the other characters' points of view. All aspects of your illustration must be backed up by the text. Include at least 5 Quotes with page numbers that tie into your illustration.
Group 3: Portray Ja
y Gatsby from Gatsby's own point of view. All aspects of your illustration must be backed up by the text. Include at least 5 Quotes with page numbers that tie into your illustration.

Assessment: You will be graded on the accuracy & artistic expression of your final portrait, your ability to work well and equitably together, and the quotes used to support your portrait.
People with eating disorders, such as anorexia, see themselves as being overweight, they want to achieve the “perfect look”, but in reality they are underweight.
Students would create a goal of wanting to achieve a certain mark, but their actions and attitudes towards achieving the goal determine whether they deserve or not.
People assume that you are wealthy, you are happy. However, wealthy people deal with scrutiny and unwanted attention from the public.
Example: Princess Diana had a tragic death because she was being chased by paparazzi.
People choose to believe in religion. They believe in a god or gods and that gives meaning to their lives. They go to their place of worship and they devote their lives to their religion
The theme of illusion versus reality is conveyed throughout the novel, The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald through:

The personality of Tom Buchanan and how he tried to present himself as a powerful, and overall, great man. However, he is also racist and violent

The relationship between Gatsby and Daisy by him Gatsby hoping it can be rekindled; it already being finished five years ago

The image Gatsby tried to present to others compared to who Gatsby or James Gatz truly was

The symbols; characters such as George see the billboard as God and Gatsby sees the green light at Daisy’s dock as a sign of hope
Gatsby Portrait Groups
Objectives: Students will be able to examine and describe Gatsby from various points of view in the novel. Students will also be able to understand the theme of illusion vs reality in the novel and describe comparable real life situations of this theme.
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