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Illusion Vs. Reality in The Great Gatsby
Transcript of Illusion Vs. Reality in The Great Gatsby
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.
“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.
Living life alone vs. living life in the presence of others.
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” (109).
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” (145).
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” (147).
What is an Illusion?
An illusion is something that deceives, by producing a false or misleading interpretation of reality.
Illusion Vs. Reality
The Great Gatsby
By: Michael Pac
What is Reality?
The state of things as they should be, rather than what people want them to be.
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).
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?” (152).
Reality: Daisy only loved Gatsby because he was wealthy
The Eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckelburg
Illusion: Gatsby tells Nick of his “well” upbringing and how he came to acquire his wealth.
“I'll tell you the God's truth....I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West – all dead now … Then it was all true” (65).
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” (98).
Gatsby did not earn his money by owning legitimate drug stores, but was involved in illegal crime, such as bootlegging and owning illegal bonds. His education at Oxford was not as it seemed.