Significant Connections

‘There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote outlines my point of what im trying to get across. I will be explaining the significant connections in the four following texts. The Great Gatsby, written by F.Scott Fitzgerald, Now You See Me (film), directed by Louis Leterrier, The Lost Decade, written by F.Scott Fitzgerald, and lastly Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll. My overall idea that I want to get across is that people hide behind the illusion of something in their everyday life, and more often that not we may not know but if you were look closer you can see the real person and who they truly are.


My first text I will be looking at the Great Gatsby written by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I will be explaining about how the main character; Jay Gatsby, hides behind this illusion of a perfect life. Happiness creates part of what people believe is a perfect life. Gatsby’s persona makes us think that he is happy but he truthfully isn’t.

The first quote I have pulled out of the text is ‘I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West,’ This quote shows us as the reader what Gatsby wants people to think of him and what life is like. There are many other examples like this that shows us that he supposedly lives this rich and happy life. It is said to be filled with many crazy extravagant things like his house and the many parties he throws. Fitzgerald uses great attention to detail of the objects Gatsby has in his house/at his parties. He payed a lot of attention to the details of the colour gold, which could have been a symbol of Gatsby’s rich life.

As we reach further into the book we start to uncover who Gatsby really is and one of the quotes that stuck out was, ‘paid a high price for living to long with a single dream.’ This quote not only shows the end of Gatsby but many other things about him and his mysterious life. In the end of the novel Gatsby was murdered, for something he didn’t do. So the narrator starts to look at his life in a different light. We see that Gatsby put up this persona that his life was great and full but in actual fact he was never really happy. As the reader we know this because the one thing that Gatsby needed to be happy was something he could never have. Gatsby was in love with another main character in this novel, her name was Daisy. Gatsby tried so hard to get this perfect life that he thought she wanted, so he could have her. But in the end he realised that was it, he could never have her, he could never be happy. That’s why this quote shows us that he did pay ‘a high price for living too long with a single dream.’ as he ended up dying for chasing after the dream of being with Daisy.

That’s the illusion behind it, he made everyone think he was happy but when you look at these two quotes in contrast of each other it shows the life he was trying to show off to other people and then the fact that he never really had the thing that could create that life and he ended up paying for it.


For my second text I have chosen a film called Now You See Me, directed by Louis Leterrier. This presents the idea of illusion as the one main characters from the film; Dylan Rhodes, pretends to be someone who he isn’t. He plays the character of a federal agent and he and his partner are investigating the ‘four horseman’. The four horseman are four talented magicians who are asked to perform acts together (by the main horseman). No one knows the true identity of the main horseman so the two agents are supposedly trying to track him down. The four horseman don’t know his or her identity either.

The first quote I have picked from the film is, “Always be the smartest guy in the room.” This quote is said by another main character in the film called Atlas (he is one of the four horseman). In this scene Dylan is questioning all of the horseman individually and when they turn the camera onto Atlas he talks about magic and how they completed their latest performance which was to rob a bank by using magic. So one of Atlas’s quotes was ‘the no. 1 rule of magic is, Always be the smartest guy in the room.’ At this point in the film we don’t know what Dylan Rhodes true identity is yet, but towards the end of the film we come to find out who Dylan really is and this quote can become very contradicting towards Atlas. The main horseman is Dylan Rhodes. By this stage in the film Atlas and the others do not know this so this quote from Atlas becomes very contradicting.

The next quote I have chosen to look at is, “The more you think you see the easier it will be to fool you.” This quote is said by one of the four horseman at their second act within the film. This can relate to the illusion behind Dylan as the whole act of the show is set up by him and the four horseman are just following the directions that he has given them. It also relates to him because he is sitting in the audience himself. He is acting as the federal agent so he ends up ploting all these things against himself because he is the horseman. He is fooling them all because all along been chasing himself and that’s why neither him or them were ever caught.

This represents the idea of illusion very well. It goes back to my statement saying that people hide behind illusion everyday. If this was a real life situation Dylan would have had to do all these things to become a federal agent and to get the job of chasing down the main horseman, being himself meaning he would never get caught. But that’s the illusion because people around him would see him as a federal agent who is doing his job but he is really only doing it to hide his true identity.

This text links to the Great Gatsby as they both show the idea of people who hide behind an illusion of something which most likely masks who they truly are. With Gatsby he hides behind the image of his life and how it is presented to the world. While Dylan Rhodes hides behind an image of a person who he wants to present to the world around him.


My third text that I have chosen is the Lost Decade, written by. F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Lost Decade presents the idea of illusion through one of the main characters, Mr Trimble,  who has been “away” for 10 years and everyone thinks he has been away doing exciting things in different places but he has really just hidden himself away, drunk for the past 10 years.

The first quote I have chosen from the text is, ‘But I was taken drunk that year – every-which-way drunk.’  Throughout the short story he never mentions that he has been away and drunk and everyone so far assumes that he has been away. He then admits that he has really just been drunk. This is the first time throughout the story that we hear this. This shows that he may have only been drunk for that year and he doesn’t seem to let on much about where he has been for the rest of the time in the past 10 yrs.

My second quote that I have picked out from this short story is placed at the very end of the text which shows that Mr Trimble is finally admitting that he was a drunk, ‘”Jesus,” he said to himself. “drunk for 10 years.”‘ This quote is said right after Mr Trimble leaves Orrison Brown after their meeting. This still means that Mr Trimble won’t admit to other people where he has been for the past 10 years, but he has finally admitted it to himself.

Mr Trimble had been hiding behind this illusion for 10 years. He knew that people thought he was away doing new exciting things. Well he wasn’t he was to busy being drunk.  Which he couldn’t even admit to himself that he was really drunk for the last 10 years of his life, until he sees the city and how it has changed. This could mean that he has seen the world in a different light and he can now see in front of his illusion and stuff he has missed out on.

The idea behind the film, Now You See Me (my second text) and the idea behind the Lost Decade have Similar ideas behind the two characters I have chosen. Both of these characters are living in different lives to their own and only at the end of each of the texts are they fully revealed for who they are.


My last text I have chosen to look at is, Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll. Alice is the main character in Alice in Wonderland and she presents the idea of illusion very well. Alice thinks she is in this crazy, wild and wonderful world when she is really just in a dream.

The first quote I have chosen from this book is, ‘”Have I gone mad?” “I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something the best people usually are.”‘ This quote shows how Alice may have changed from her old self and she starts to realise it too, but it also shows that her imagination doesn’t want he to leave this feeling of madness. This whole idea behind the book is that she is in a dream, so this is only her imagination, it isn’t another character telling her that she is mad, it is herself. It could also mean that she quite doesn’t want to leave the mad state as it says ‘all the best people are.’ so this could suggest that Alice doesn’t want to lose this feeling and she wants to stay in the crazy world.

The next quote I have picked out of this book is, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” This shows that Alice is using this imagination or this dream to fight against her reality. As I explained earlier Alice may not want to lose that feeling so following this quote it shows that she is using her imagination in her dream to get away or hide from her reality. That is her illusion because she can’t face her reality so she hides behind this illusion of a dream.

Alice hides behind the illusion of thinking that she is in a crazy world when all she is doing is dreaming and using her imagination to hide away from her real life and her reality. At the very end of the book she wakes up to find that she fell asleep while her sister was reading this boring book to her. That was her reality she didn’t want to listen to this boring story so she fell asleep and got lost in her imagination that created this fake, wacky yet wonderful world for her to dream in. But at the end she had to wake up and she had to face reality.

The Lost Decade and Alice in Wonderland have very similar ideas that link in together. Mr Trimble hides away in a drunken world while Alice hides away in a mad world, both of them do this to get away from reality. Reading both of the texts both characters follow this theme of madness or as if they are one sandwich short of a picnic. Mr Trimble rambles on and connects sentences together that don’t quite make sense together. As we read Alice in Wonderland we notice that she has all these crazy ideas and weird things keep happening along the way, and all these things are coming from her imagination. That is why I think both these texts themes relate to each other.

Throughout reading and watching these four texts I have learnt many things about how not only different characters appear but how people in the world could easily put up an illusion of their life as well. The Great Gatsby shows us that people around you may not be truly happy and you may not even know. Now You See Me puts up the illusion of a fake life of someone superior to hide behind so no one could find Dylan’s true identity. Who knows anyone could do that to hide something. The Lost Decade shows us that you never really know where people actually are, people may need serious help but you could think that they are completely fine. Alice in Wonderland shows us that maybe sometimes you do need to hide from reality but at the end of the day you always have to come back and face it, you do at some stage have to wake up. That is why I picked these four texts as I think they all show qualities of peoples life and their illusions.




The Illusion of Happiness – Draft Speech


‘Happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion.’                     Maybe you don’t believe this, or maybe you do but that’s the illusion behind it.  You will never know what the truth is behind other peoples so called happiness. It could just be sadness and confusion. Many people in our lives will hide behind it. To us, it may look so real. The illusion of Happiness also has to do with the stereotype of true happiness. What we see and what we think is true happiness is different to real happiness. It’s the same with the illusion of happiness. So I have concluded three main things to talk about that I think show the illusion of happiness, Money, the stereotype of happiness and lastly the mask of happiness.

point no. 1

Some people believe that money can buy you happiness, but when people say money can’t buy you happiness they really mean it. Many people deny that they truly believe that fact, but no one ever voices it. This is because they spend it before they see it.  A lot of this money goes towards the material things that people think they need in order to be happy. Its like when you watch an ad for a product and they guarantee that ‘if you buy this it will make your life easier/better’ This is the same principle you create for yourself when you come to buy something. First, you think you need something so you go out and buy it, then you might see something you like, and you tell yourself you need it, so you buy it. Throughout society you see this a lot. There will be a new trend and so you have to go and buy it. And why do you do that? you do that because you want to show other people that you are up with the trend and you also have the money to spend. Money also has to do with many other things in your life, not just the wee material things.

moving on to point no. 2

Society creates this stereotype of a life of true happiness, ‘the ideal life of happiness.’ As teens, we also see or hear about this a lot, as we are now growing up and more things are expected of us, in order for us to live a happy life. Once we get out of school we are expected to go to university or get a higher education, like a diploma or certificate for something. This is what we are expected to do, but the rest of it comes a long with this. Once we have got this education we can now get a stable job. After gaining a stable job, you may meet someone and get married. After marriage comes children that many people wish to have. After having this stable job for a while, you may have created enough money to get the house you want. Now after all of that, have you noticed how it all relates back to money. You have to pay for your education, or you specific course you wish to take. You have to pay for your big wedding with all these guests. You also have to pay for nearly everything for your children, think toys, clothes, food, books, school supplies. They are necessities for a child and their needs but if you reach further into it, it goes back to keeping up with the latest trends and we all know this. When you were little and even still now you ask for stuff from your parents because you wanted or want to look cool, you might not need it but you want it so they go and buy it for you. All of these things show people the money you have and not  the happy life that this stereotype is about.

now point no. 3

All your life you have been in training, ever since you were little. Being a toddler or a young child you were always made to look happy. You are always told to smile at others; that’s a hint there, ‘you are told to smile at others’ some people say it is to look friendly, but maybe it is to look like you are ‘happy’. This is your early training stage to masking your happiness. As you get older, say into your early teens or even before that, you start to believe in it yourself, you start make yourself look ‘happy’. Yay, you have completed training stage, but as you hit the age of 13 or above you start getting different emotions and this is when your training really starts to come in and help out. You start to feel upset or angry but the issue is you more often than not you don’t know yourself why you feel like this. Then you start to hide behind what I call the illusion of Happiness. You hide behind this from others around you. Don’t tell me you haven’t done it before because we all have. Sometimes you might do it to your parents, to your peers at school, to your teachers or coaches, to strangers in the street, to family, to anyone really. After this it becomes ingrained in you to make sure you smile to the person walking towards you or your teachers as you walk into class, or you parents as you walk in the door we all do it at some point, and many people start to believe it.

To conclude my speech, I believe that people do hide how they truely feel beside this illusion of happiness, and they follow this stereotype which society has created in order to seem like they live this happy life. And by doing this they just work and work to get money. Money is what society practically tells us we need in order to live this perfect stereotype of a full and happy life. Rather than doing this you could be working in the job that you want to be doing and do the things in life you enjoy and spending time with the people you love. So as I said earlier ‘money can’t buy you happiness’ always believe that because if you think it can you may find yourself in this education or job just to get the life society thinks you need, which is most likely not the life for you. And that is why I think most peoples happiness is just an illusion.



Practice Essay 2


  1. Describe at least one important object or symbol in the written text(s).
    Explain why this object or symbol helped you to understand at least one character.
    Note: A symbol could be a place, person, or thing that represents something more than itself. 

    Symbol Character Example
    Green Light Gatsby ‘He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way… Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.’

    ‘Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy, it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.’

    Flowers Daisy ‘that was the inexhaustible charm the rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals song of it.’

    ‘What grotesque thing a rose is.’

    Eyes Nick ‘Their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire.’

    ‘Gatsby looked with vacant eyes.’

    ‘ “I used to laugh sometimes” – but there was no laughter in his eyes.’

    ‘Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage she had had, were definitely gone.’

    ‘He was looking at the eyes of Doctor T . J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night.’

    Throughout the novel Fitzgerald talks about the green light and he also tells us that it is related to Gatsby. He doesn’t tell us how but it always comes back to Gatsby and his hope for a life with daisy.

    Nick narrates the first time he sees Gatsby in this way, ‘He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way… Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.’




Practice Essay


(Introduction here)

‘There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.’  In this novel; The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, we are introduced to many characters that are placed into the scene of one crazy summer in New York during the early the 1920’s. We meet many people throughout the book but in this essay I will be focusing on three main characters, Gatsby (Jay Gatsby), Daisy Buchanan and Nick Carraway. I will focus on these three characters and how they show us this idea of illusion, and how in the end they all fall behind this illusion they give off.

Throughout the novel the main character Gatsby shows us the idea of illusion by hiding behind an illusion he has created for himself, which slowing begins to fade away. Gatsby shows us this in many ways as he creates a new person for himself to hide from his past and go back and change it.

We first see the side of Gatsby’s illusion as Nick talks about his “factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy.” He then goes on to describe this place, and then finishes the sentence with,  “It was Gatsby’s mansion.” Gatsby’s mansion as nick says, is an ‘imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy.’ meaning that Gatsby has constructed his mansion to be exactly like this hotel but it is not the real thing, it is fake, It is one of his illusions he places in front of him.

“His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God — a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that…  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.” This is another quote in the book that can show us the idea of illusion that Gatsby puts across.

Nick our narrator starts off the quote by talking about Gatsby’s parents and how Gatsby never accepted them. Gatsby believed he was a ‘son of God,’ so he followed that belief, and left his parents. He then in creates a new persona, a completely different person for himself and goes onto to hide behind this illusion.

YOUR IDEAS: Explain how this character is revealed throughout the text, the authors purpose and how it relates to the outside world.

Fitzgerald shows us this idea that Gatsby hides behind an illusion because he may want us to see the the idea that people all around you hide behind illusions. This illusion that Gatsby hides behind is to hide from his past so it Fitzgerald might also show us this as a way of saying that people might have bad pasts that they potentially don’t want to share with the world or the people around them. Gatsby is revealed throughout the book to be this character who seems like he has it all, he has everything that everybody else in that era of life in America wanted. It was what was called the American Dream.   When we reach further into the book we learn more about him.








Plan for English essay

Describe at least one important character in the written text.

Explain how this character is revealed to you throughout the text.

Character Ideas Evidence
1. Gatsby Caught up in the past. “Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” 

‘Paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.’

2. Daisy White meaning plain. ‘Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashion-able East Egg glittered along the water.’ 

“I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.”

3. Nick He is judgemental. ‘They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then they retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…’


Language Features

Fitzgerald has a very poetic way of presenting language. He uses the same devices consistently throughout his writing.

1. Select three passages from the book (about a paragraph or two in length) that we have NOT annotated as a class. Annotate these passages and identify the language features that Fitzgerald uses. Explain the effect of these features and why he may have chosen to use them.

2. Fitzgerald uses many allusions throughout the novel. Select one of these allusions and explain the connection between it and the book. Bonus: how can you link it to our theme of “illusion”.


‘Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes.’

  • Pale as death – this is an example of a simile as it compares pale to death which are two similar things.
  • Plunged like weights this is another example of a simile as a weight to plunge would be a likely thing as the are something that is heavy and if you were to throw a weight into water it would plunge into it.
  • Tragically – This is an example of emotive language as the writer wants us to paint an image in our head of how Gatsby really looks in this moment.   


‘Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath.’

  • Minute by Minute – this is an example of repetition. Words are repeated to make a clearer or more precise understanding of the scene taking place.
  • Cheerful – this is an example of emotive language as Fitzgerald would have wanted to make the writer see the cheerful situation.
  • Dissolve and form – This is an example of a juxtaposition as both of these words contrast towards each other and are placed next to each other.


‘The flowers were unnecessary, for at two o’clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby’s, with innumerable receptacles to contain it. An hour later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie, hurried in. He was pale, and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes.’

  • A greenhouse arrived – this is an example of a hyperbole, because I doubt Gatsby brought an entire greenhouse into Nicks house.
  • The front door opened nervously – this is an example of personifications the door is given human qualities which is in reality not possible.
  • He was pale, and there were dark signs  – this is an example of a paradox as the first statement is contradicted by the second statement.

Allusion Quote

‘As Gatsby closed the door of “the Merton College Library.”’ 

“Merton college library” recreation is a form of illusion. The fact that the library is a ‘fake’ version of a prestigious place links to the persona Gatsby  has created for himself. The library is full of real books (owl-eyes says so in chapter 3) representing the effort that Gatsby is putting into creating himself. The use of real books could also represent the fact that Gatsby honestly believes in his fantasy persona.


We have focused our entire study around illusion and how it is presented in the text. This idea is our central theme.

1. Explain what you think Fitzgerald is trying to say about society by presenting the idea of illusion so thoroughly throughout the text.

2. Discuss how “illusion” is a real idea for teenagers. What problems/challenges/issues do teenagers face each day and how can we relate them to illusion.


We have focused on the theme of illusion throughout this novel study, and Fitzgerald shows a lot of illusion throughout this novel, The Great Gatsby.

The theme illusion in relation to society now and/or at the time this book was published is really relatable to society in many ways even still now. People hide behind these images they create for themselves, these images then become illusions for the people around them/you/us.

Fitzgerald shows us the illusions to what life was like during the 1920’s era. This was after WW1, when nearly everybody all just wanted to party and get drunk. This was at the time harder to do as it was illegal in the United States to produce, import, transport and sell alcoholic beverages. Throughout this book Gatsby has many parties which include the consumption of alcohol, not only this but his parties included many different people on the scale. This included most ages, all classes, both genders and all races, which at the time was frowned upon hugely. Even today people still hide behind the illusion that this type of segregation wasn’t as big as it was and for some people it sadly still is.

Another illusion that comes up a lot in this book is how much the characters believe in the materialism of this world they lived in. ‘A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…’ Nearly every paragraph or even sentence has illusion in it, just like the one I stated above. A new world, material without being real, this quote shows us how much these characters believed in the materialistic things in the world. In particular Daisy was so attached to these material things and in particular we can see this in the scene where she cry over the beautiful shirts and says “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such — such beautiful shirts before.”