‘There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote outlines my point of what I will be 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. 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 is 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. 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 that Gatsby has in his house and at his parties. He pays a lot of attention to the details of the colour gold, which could be 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. The dream that this quote is talking about is Gatsby and his dream for a life with Daisy. Daisy is this character in the novel who Gatsby had fallen in love with and then he went away and to find that he couldn’t give Daisy the life she wanted. So this persona of a ‘rich and happy life’ that Gatsby puts up is not only for the people around him but for Daisy. For Gatsby, Daisy is the only thing in his world that can make him happy. He chases this dream to only get caught up in the idea of being with her, resulting in him getting killed for her actions. That’s the illusion behind it, he made everyone think he was happy. When you look at these two quotes in contrast of each other, it shows this persona of this ‘rich and happy life’ he presents to other people. Then the second quotes shows the fact that he never really had the one thing that could make his persona real, and that was Daisy.
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.
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. He is fooling them all and all along he has 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, meaning he would never get caught. 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 a persona of a ‘happy life’ and this is presented to other people in his life and particularly Daisy. While Dylan Rhodes hides behind an image of a person to keep his identity hidden.
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 new and exciting things in different places. 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 this 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 it, yet 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 that whole time, ‘”Jesus,” he said to himself. “drunk for 10 years.”‘ This quote is said right after Mr Trimble leaves Orrison Brown after a meeting with him. 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 and 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. Although both of their story lines are very different, as Dylan creates a whole new life to hide his identity. Mr Trimble, hit an all time low and fell drunk and just hid himself from the outside world letting them think that he was off doing something exciting.
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. This whole idea behind the book is that she is in a dream, so this is her own imagination, it isn’t another character telling her that she is mad, it is herself. This quote can also show that she doesn’t want to leave this state of madness, as it says, ‘all the best people are.’ so this could suggest that Alice doesn’t want to leave this wild 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. 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.
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 their reality. Reading both of these 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. And 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. The difference between these to books is that Alice is in a world that younger person would be likely to create to hide from her reality of her little world. Mr Trimble is in a world of drunkenness that only an adult could be in. He uses that to hide away from his reality of the whole world around him.
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 their 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.