‘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.