Illusions vs Reality

Jalen Walls

Illusions Vs. Reality

Sometimes, things are exactly as they seem. If you live in the real world however, more often than not, things are completely unique from your perspective. You have much less control than you believe you do. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby does an excellent job at keeping the characters feeling powerful while maintaining blind to the truth of their powerlessness. There are examples throughout the novel that display the characters' obliviousness to their surroundings. These characters feel that they have control over their situations while only the semi-omniscient reader has the slightest understanding of events. Readers silently observe as adulterous Tom's relationships with his wife and mistress come to an almost simultaneous halt. Readers get a front row seat to see Gatsby's dream of Daisy crumbles in his hands. Readers peer through the window to watch as Nick witnesses the chaos unfold around him. Readers spectate as the characters of the novel realize just how powerless they are; but all too late, as the novel's bloody conclusion leaps from the shadows to take its toll.

Chapter 1

Travel Brochure
The sarcastic tone of the brochure reveals the illusion of a warm welcome. Once Nick enters the Buchanan residence, he falls victim to its reality, hostility. Myrtle is looming in the background as a kept woman. Her presence symbolizes secrecy that Nick becomes a part of when he travels with Tom to the Love Nest. Nick was quickly exposed to reality after Daisy and Tom first began conversation.

Chapter 2

Arrest (Restraining Order)
This restraining order is meant for Tom after he broke Myrtle's nose in the "love nest". Myrtle was under the illusion that Tom had deep feelings for her and not Daisy. The reality is shown when he breaks her nose after she mentions Daisy. Myrtle was so far in the illusion that she would never file a restraining order against Tom. This of course means that in reality, one should have been filed.

Chapter 3

This postcard to the Buchanans from Nick suggest that they would enjoy themselves at one of Gatsby's parties. People who have read the novel know that when Tom and Daisy attended one of the parties, it was anything but "a blast". At this point in the novel, Nick is under the illusion that Gatsby just throws the party because he has too. The reality is that Gatsby only throws parties in hopes that Daisy will one day attend.

Chapter 4

Gatsby's letter to Daisy

My precious doll Daisy,

The memories of your petite pointed toes, your enchanting eyes, and your glorious gams have continued to flood my mind. I am captivated by your keen smile and cannot wait until our next encounter. Forgive me for being stuck on you, but your presence and spiffy appearance will not allow me to leave you. Oh how I long for your touch; a kiss from your lips from which comes the most beautiful voice. I know I am not worthy of you at the moment, but soon i will be able to take care of you. Our time together has convinced me that we are meant to be together even through the end of time. Nothing in this complex and massive universe will keep me away from you. Please wait for me until I am to your standards. Our meeting was not by accident. We are destined to be united for eternity and i will stop at nothing to see you happy. I’d gladly give my life for you, though i’d just as like to give my life to you; along with more love, care and affection than you could find with any other man.

Forever Yours,

Jay Gatsby


Oh how I've also longed for us to be together again. Soon we'll be together to enjoy each other’s company and love. I've no doubt that anyone else could love me as you do Jay. I did however, make a mistake but I am ready for you. I’ll wait however long I must to reunite with you. I’d love to be with you regardless of whether or not you’d be able to take care of me. Your love is all I need in this world. You are all I need in this world. I've realized that no other man can satisfy the love that has grown inside of me for you Jay. As soon as I am able, I will rush to you with open arms, hopeful for our future together. Just me and you.

Love Always,

Your Daisy
Both Gatsby and Daisy were under the illusion that they were meant to be together. Gatsby maintains this illusion until his death. Daisy's reality however, is that she needs wealth to feel happy and comfortable. This is evident when she destroys the letter she wrote to Gatsby, which likely expresses her feelings for him, so that she could marry Tom, who's secure in wealth. Gatsby is also under the illusion that Daisy continued to share the same illusion that he did.

Chapter 5

1920's Advertisement- The Beautiful Shirts Company
When Daisy expresses her awe of the shirts, it is one of the most obvious illusions in the novel. The shirts represented the wealth that Gatsby had attained. Daisy cried because she passed over Gatsby due to his lack of wealth, but then he gains what she needs when it's too late. The advertisement plays on the symbolic importance of the beautiful shirts. In reality, the shirts aren't really that beautiful.

Chapter 6

Twitter Feed
The night at Gatsby's mansion began with false promise. The illusion of the "party" was no longer necessary as Daisy attended. Parties are known to be provide an illusion of joy and happiness. Tom's jealousy of Gatsby and Daisy's apparent closeness was the reality of the party. As tensions rise, reality begins to peek above the illusion of peace.

Chapter 7

Recipe for a long awkward day

  • Obnoxiously hot weather
  • 1 child that represents "change"
  • 2 coupés
  • 1 day on the town
  • 1 Plaza Hotel Suite
  • 3 furious adults
  • 2 bystanders
  • 1 dead mistress
  • 2 ended affairs
  • and a dash of dying dream

Cooking Instructions (No preparation necessary)

Heat tension up with the obnoxiously hot weather. Then, introduce 1 child who symbolizes that somethings cannot be undone. Afterwards, throw in a day on the town. If the tension is high enough, you'll notice a darkening in colour. Next, throw 2 coupés into the mix. Follow up with one lavish suite at the Plaza Hotel. Fill it with 3 furious adults and 2 awkward bystanders. At this point when the the tension's highest, add in 1 dead mistress. After a few seconds of bubbling, you should start to see 2 ended affairs . Lastly add a dash of a dying dream. Stir then bake for 24 hrs. until your Long Awkward Day is complete.
There was so much involved in this tension filled day. The illusion was an innocent day on the town. The reality was that the day was destined to end in heavy conflict. This is also the day when Gatsby begins to question his illusion of a life with Daisy. Tom realizes the reality that Daisy is done with Gatsby. His knowledge is shown when he sends Gatsby to take Daisy home.

Chapter 8

Piece Artwork
This image represents the reality of the "great" Gatsby. The hand coming out of the water represents Gatsby's death in water. The lack of colour, more specifically a green light, represents the dead dream of bright opulence, life and happiness. Instead, the cold dark reality of death and sorrow is represented. Also, the hand is alone, nobody was around to protect Gatsby as he drifted off into oblivion.

Chapter 9

Alternative Cover
This alternate cover depicts the martyrdom of St. Paul. I feel that Gatsby martyred himself to save Daisy. This cover represents more of reality than illusion. That reality, is that it was Gatsby's time to die. St. Paul and Gatsby both died with acceptance that they were about to face punishment for their cause. The "greatness" of Gatsby is his willingness to take blame for who he loved.

Illusions vs. Reality

Original Poem
Perception is everything

Everything except true

We love to cling to the false idea that we see

Things for what they are

But the wise man is the man who knows

He knows nothing

The blind man sees neither illusion nor reality

But accepts that he is blind

The wise man and the blind man are one in the same

Perception is everything

Everything except true

We see what we wish to see

That in the end leads to our destruction

We doom ourselves

Doomed by beliefs of our own omniscience

Doomed by reaching out for dreams

That were never meant to be

Perception is everything

Everything except true

Our eyes always seem to open

Just too late to save ourselves

Fear not,

For self-destruction means you are human

If that is any comfort at all

Perception is everything

Everything except true

But don't open your eyes

For if you know the truth

You will surely die

This poem exposes the false existence of obvious reality. I feel that everyone is trapped in an illusion of some kind. Since that illusion is a product of your perspective, perspective cannot be trusted. I conclude with how reality equals oblivion. Oblivion usually is preceded by realization of reality. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby meets his end after realizing that his dream of eternal unity with Daisy was foolish and just an illusion.