- Describe three key characters and how they change in the novel.
- Explain what each character helped you to understand about illusion in the novel. Use quotes to support your ideas.
- Describe three important relationships in the text and explain what they revealed about illusion. Use quotes to support your answer.
Statement – Explain / eXample – Explain / eXample Explain / Your ideas
In the start of the book Gatsby had so much hope for a future with Daisy, he believed in the green light at the end of her dock as being the hope for a new life with her, This quote can show us how he felt. ‘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.’ He was so hopeful of this that he didn’t see the illusion then. Still hoping even though it was so “minute” and so “far away” he didn’t see that in that moment but Nick did.
As the summer goes on he finally meets Daisy again after 5 years at Nicks cottage, he then invites her to his house to show her around and he points out her house across the bay, “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay… You always have a light that burns all night at the end of your dock.” In this moment we see that there is no hope left for him and Daisy, as Gatsby is with Daisy in that moment and the Green light has disappeared. As the green light symbolises his hope for both of them to be together.
The rest of the long summer was spent with Daisy after meeting again. Gatsby had then talked it over with Daisy that if they were to be together and move on with a future together, she was to tell her husband Tom that she never loved him. The dispute was to take place and it nearly did although it was said she didn’t mean it and following this they went home and Daisy was to ring Gatsby the next day, but she never did…
‘He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…’ This was how Nick described the way that Gatsby was feeling in that moment, the moment he had realised there was no longer any hope for Him and Daisy to be together. This quote can show us an illusion as it says ‘an unfamiliar sky’ this could mean that Gatsby is looking up at the sky without the filter of Daisy anymore. The ‘frightening leaves’ can show that he may be worried or scared what his life will be like with the filter of Daisy. ‘Grotesque… rose’ this symbolises Daisy as she was Gatsby’s rose, and a rose is something so beautiful when you catch your first glance but roses have thorns and Gatsby was only now seeing that. Gatsby was living his life stuck behind this illusion of hope which never was going to happen.
In the beginning of the story Nick comes of as a straight up person who tells you how it is and doesn’t fake it or add irrelevant judgement. We can see this from the two following quotes, ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”’ ‘In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores.’ Nick being the narrator of this story this would seem like a good trait to have and throughout most of the story he does reserve his judgements.
As the story goes on he continues to show us this side of him. He even tells us himself, ‘I am one of the few honest people I have ever known.’ He tells us this as a way for us to think he is a good person and he has good morals but if you “read between the lines” you will see that maybe he isn’t who he thinks he is or what type of person he wants us to believe he is. This is a part of the illusion about Nick you believe he is this great person who has good morals but in actual fact, he is hiding Tom’s affair and helping Gatsby get back together with Daisy who is married with a child. This makes me think that Nick can show us this idea of illusion as he wants us to believe his is this really nice person who sticks up/by what he believes but if you think about it he really isn’t.
Near the end of the story we read the following quote which ends up going back on what Nick first said in the start of the story, as he said ‘I’m inclined to reserve all judgments.’ This quote shows us that he does judge the other characters in this story which goes back on what he said, ‘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…’ From this quote it shows us his real feelings on Tom and Daisy and it can show us more about who Tom and Daisy really were.
Daisy is thought to be this pure and perfect person who is sweet and kind. Throughout the novel we see that side of her as the narrator of the story; Nick, sees her to have this pure persona but we see parts of her real persona which Nick didn’t pick up on till the end of the story. Here is a quote that I believe can show us some of this persona, “I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Daisy says this in an open conversation she has while talking to Nick and Jordan. By this quote we can tell she wants to believe her life is great and that can almost come off in a stuck up way as if she is trying to tell them her life is better than theirs.
Further on in the story we still see this fake persona she try to pull off, sometimes it can just be in the way she says stuff. She probably means what she says but the as you can read it it feels as though there is a sarcastic tone behind it. As she says here, “I certainly am awfully glad to see you again.” Daisy says this as she meets Gatsby again for the first time in 5 years. In the moment she may feel that way but you can tell by the way that it is written it can show a small amount of sarcasm or like she is trying to act very “proper” or mature. If you compare this quote to the quote in the paragraph above you will notice a major difference. She almost sounds childish and stuck up in the first quote but in this 2nd quote she sounds so innocent and polite. This makes it seems like something doesn’t add up almost as if there are two different people so this could mean that one of these people are fake. This is the illusion behind her as the people who are around her think she is this pure, innocent sweetheart.
Towards the end of the story Nick starts to notice who Daisy really is and that he has been believing in this illusion she has put up in front of her. The first time he really sees it for himself and not through anyone else eyes he says this, ‘She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby nothing.’ This was always who she was a reckless and careless person who gave Gatsby so much hope and then she grew it all away, making everyone thinking her life was so perfect and she was perfect, when if you really look at her life how could someone be happy with that, she is married to someone who had an affair and not only that but she has a child with him. Yes she may have a lot of money but as people say money can’t buy you happiness.
3 important relationships throughout the novel
Gatsby and Nick
Gatsby and Nick have a strong relationship in this novel, and especially for only knowing each other for only 3 months (the summer). Their relationship can show us illusion as nick is drawn in by Gatsby and believes in his happy and full life by the way he smiles as it is shown in this quote ‘He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in a life.’ Throughout the novel Nick talks about Gatsby have a smile that is so pure, but people can fake smiles and Nick never sees this in Gatsby, yet he still to the end believed in “The Great Gatsby.”
Tom and Myrtle
Tom and Myrtle’s relationship shows us a lot about illusion throughout the novel. Their relationship was based on illusion as they both were trying to live a life they knew they would never have. It was like a game of mums and dads when you were young, as they pretended to live this life outside of their real life. Tom rented out an apartment and they would stay there, he even bought Myrtle a dog, and they both acted as if that was their life.
Gatsby and Daisy
Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship can be heavily related to illusion as right throughout the novel it seems so pure and it eludes us to believe I the hope Gatsby has for them as well, but we then find that is not the case. As we read the novel there are little snippets of who Daisy is, but as we come to the end we see who she fully who she is. This who character she is playing not only eludes us but it gives Gatsby so much hope, only to be ripped away right under him in the end.