Significant Connections

“We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality.” If we choose to live under illusions, it shows we feel we’ll never be fully satisfied with our lives; and since every single person who’s ever lived, has been caught up in some kind of dream, we know for a fact, there is no such thing as a perfect life. We can wish all we want to have the ultimate life but in reality that wish will never come true. The four texts ‘Almost Infamous’ by Peter Williams, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘Clueless’ by Amy Heckerling,  and ‘Plain Truth’ by Jodi Picoult prove to us that no matter the amount of effort, not everything will turn out as planned. In the short story ‘Almost Infamous’ Brent Sandri considered everything to be famous, but in the end, he became known for something he didn’t want. As for Jay Gatsby, he was the master of illusion, he had a strong belief nothing was worth it until he got wealthy and got the girl he wanted. In the film, ‘Clueless,’ Cher Horowitz was spoilt, expecting everything to go her way, but this isn’t the case when she gets lost within her own illusions. All these texts are quite similar to the beliefs of the Amish in the novel ‘Plain Truth; they can’t handle when things don’t happen like they’re supposed to. “The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self. “

In the short story “Almost Infamous” written by Peter Williams,  “Brent Sandri always wanted to be famous. Or at least well known. ” The main character was persistent in finding his direction in life that would lead him to fame.  His ideas reached out of his range of abilities, but he was so set on becoming famous he didn’t mind. He set his mind on becoming the best radio presenter in the world, well at least in his town. Brent was so caught under his illusion of being famous he began acting like one; even though he was only a small town radio presenter, “he even thought of changing his name.”  Brent  committed fully to his dream, trying so desperately to  reach fulfilment. Brent thought “… he was pretty good” because of the illusion he cast himself, but in reality he wasn’t anything special in the wide world. He was acting as if his job was going to be the start to his perfect world and began to think he was too smart for himself. One night he decided to get his smokes out of the car but he soon discovered he’d locked himself out of the studio. Brents dream of becoming a successful presenter came crashing down when he was fired. His dream took over his mind, and he became distracted by the reality of his job in front of him; he made a ‘rookie’ mistake because he was so focused on the big picture rather than the small tasks at hand. Instead of being well known for something with pride (which was his ultimate dream), he was known for his most embarrassing moment.  His illusion and obvious arrogance was the reason his mistake was unveiled and reality caught up to him. Brent Sandri was trying to reach absolute fulfilment, to live in a perfect world but instead, his dream became a failure.

“The Great Gatsby” written by F. Scott Fitzgerald gives us an  insight to the illusions of a struggling man and his dream. Throughout a hectic 1920’s summer in Manhattan, we see the persistence of a man named Jay Gatsby travelling from poverty to wealth just to reconnect with his lost love from 5 years ago. He was deeply unsatisfied with his life “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.”  He started when he was young and continued on for many years, adding on continuously until it was too late to go back. He had to follow through with his original plan, it was too late to turn back or everybody would think selfish and greedy man. The Great Gatsby is quite similar to the short story “Almost Infamous” by Peter Williams because of the passion and dedication both characters had for their dream of wealth and living in absolute fulfilment. Gatsby set his dreams high just like Brent Sandri. They were almost out of reach; “…the colossal vitality of illusion,” was his weak point, he’d put so much pressure on everyone around him to fit in perfectly to his imagined world. He’d created a greater vision of Daisy than what even she thought she was; Gatsby’s lover felt his pressure, she knew she could never live up to his expectations.  He would try everything to keep Daisy within his grasp; Gatsby and Brent both pushed to find a way their dream would work out, with a happy ending. This never happened for them because of their illusion of having the ultimate life; however, they saw sight of their perfect worlds, just before the walls came crashing down. They came down hard on Gatsby, crushing his persona and  releasing the reality.  Gatsby and Brent let their desires run their lives, typically, this would be fine but especially for Gatsby, he made his dreams unachievable. They became naive to the fact that anything could go wrong that would completely destroy their dreams. Gatsby fell into his own trap;  mentally, he was his real murderer.

The film “Clueless” directed by Amy Heckerling tells the story of a rich and meddlesome girl named Cher Horowitz who claims she has a normal life. She believes she is envied by all around her, even though she wished the size of her bank account scared people away rather than luring them in. She believed in her illusion that everything she did would turn out right for everyone, including herself. But nothing did; she upset her friends, got taken over in the school’s pecking order and even lost the boy that stood outside her illusion. Once her heart was broken, her world and illusion started to shattered with it. Just like Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby,” she couldn’t see the problems occurring in her life. Both characters thought they were living perfectly normal lifestyles, but it was the illusion tricking them, their reality was a very distant thought; it was almost hidden. They were oblivious to the fact that they were taking advantage of the people around them to get to where they saw they needed to be, their perfect world. For example, Cher only sets up two of her teachers to make them happy just so she’d get good grades; while Gatsby uses Nick to get close to Daisy, only causing him to have a mental breakdown in the end. They were both too caught up in their own illusions to worry, or even realise how everyone else’s lives were playing out.  When Cher reflected on her past ways of living, she began to realise it was the reason she had ended up where she was. Cher even admitted to herself: “I can’t believe I failed. I failed something I couldn’t talk myself out of?” She was so overwhelmed that money and a dad who’s a lawyer can’t create a perfect environment for her; she “was just totally clueless.” Which is a similar thought that rsn through Gatsby’s mind, because he was perplexed that all his money couldn’t win him anything. To Cher, when this illusion was revealed, “it was some kind of alternate universe” to her which is just like when Gatsby ” looked up at an unfamiliar sky” as everything started to make sense to him.  They were both so caught up in their illusion that they ended up losing everything they wanted and had worked so hard to achieve.

In my last text “The Plain Truth” by Jodi Picoult, an amish girl (Katie Fisher) becomes caught in the middle of a murder trial for her own baby. Although, her innocent background makes it extremely hard to believe she was capable of such an act, the amish are also a strongly entrenched community who despise the divergent. Katie was accused of lying and began being questioned about her ways; ” if (she) didn’t remember something happening, was it because it never happened? Or because (she) wished it hadn’t?” Their culture is so dissimilar to ours, because if someone stands out in our world its respected, whereas in an amish community attempting to stand out will get you shunned. It is their biggest fear, to lose a sense of their society because all they’ve ever know is to be part of a community; they couldn’t bear to have to stand alone. So when Sarah Fisher discovered her daughter’s hidden pregnancy, she freaked out because she couldn’t bear to lose her second child for being kicked out of the community. Even though all evidence pointed to Katie as the murderer, it was in fact Sarah who murdered the baby because she couldn’t handle how things didn’t happen like they were meant to. This is a similar situation Cher was in. Both characters had to do everything they could to get themselves out of the situation but unluckily for Cher and Sarah, their unwise actions backfired, and they waved their perfect life goodbye. It is good to compare these books because Cher in “Clueless” shows us a community that applauds standing out to get what you want and to find your way; whereas Sarah in “Plain Truth” shows us the importance and lengths people go to in order to not stand out within the Amish community.

These four texts prove to us that there is no such thing as a perfect life. No matter how hard we try, no matter what lengths we go to make things work in our favour, we will never be fully satisfied with our lives. All four characters: Brent Sandri from “Almost infamous,”  Jay Gatsby from “The Great Gatsby,” Cher Horowitz from “Clueless,” and Sarah Fisher from “The Plain Truth,” make the decision to live their lives under an illusion. But illusions will never come positively, they always follow with some kind of consequence. It turns out to be a lot of work for nothing when everything starts drifting away out of your reach, all because people boost their ego to become obsessed by the idea of having a perfect world. “The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self.”

 

Close Reading Tasks

the rivers pawn.

find a quote that foreshadows (hints) that this rafting trip is not going to go perfectly. Explain your answer.

I think that there are a few statements from the narrator hinting the trip wasn’t going to go well. When they say they’re nervous and how “the sight of the wild water made (their) stomach toss,” we understand the person is not confident and believes they’re not capable of the rafting experience. The word choices like “Rapids smashing violently against the rocks,” shows us how the narrator is nervous. The reason these words make me sense the trip won’t go well is if the person shows discomfort they will be on high alert and overthinking every situation (like the rain); in this short story, the rain was a distraction to the person so when they fell out of the boat they panicked and were unsure what to do.

identify at least five different emotions that the writer feels during the experience and explain how those emotions are conveyed.

 

Is your perception of reality an illusion? speech

TOPIC: is your perception of reality an illusion?

PURPOSE: to create thoughts/feelings in my audience

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” well at least that’s what T.S. Eliot tried to convince us. However, because this statement contradicts the perception of reality in our minds, we try to protect ourselves and our misconceptions while denying the accusations, believing he is the person creating an illusion rather than our own minds. So is our perception of reality, in fact, an illusion?People feel as if they need these illusions in their life to run away from the reality that they have been trying to ignore and put behind them. Our generation is constantly trying to hide the raw truth behind a curtain of illusion and deceit. They feel that by putting up a wall, they can block out any kind of reality from putting pressure on their lives. By having the option to distort reality, people feel as if they have control of events around them even though it’s only twisting the truth. It’s like when Donald Trump said he wanted to build a wall between America and Mexico, all he was doing was hiding a problem behind a wall. He wasn’t confronting the issue, he just wanted it to not affect him. With a wall in place, the problem would still be occurring but he was so tangled up in his illusion that he won’yt care what happens outside his bubble.But this can actually give confidence and comfort to a person if they can’t handle the many stresses of the real world. It gives a form of a shelter where people can create a preferred outcome where they can pretend everything is alright. I don’t know why people think that if they separate themselves from all the messed up episodes, our world becomes a safe and happy place. In New Zealand, 83% of people claim they are satisfied with their lives, rating a 7 or above on a scale of 1 to 10. However, we will never know if people are truely happy due to the illusions they put in place over reality, as it has become an unconscious decision people can no longer control.  Possibly people who are unsatisfied with their life or are constantly competing with mental illness may be the only ones who can see through their illusion; their perception of reality could be clear. Maybe they struggle to form an illusion, resulting in them seeing all the imperfections in everything that everyone else decides to stay oblivious to.To many people, they form illusions to cause a diversion, they have to distort reality to be able to only see what they want. And people put in so much effort to stick to their illusions even though it contradicts reality. Peoples perceptions of reality blind them of the truth, we have all just learned to build an alternate world around us that we can tolerate.Because Charles Swindoll once said that life is 10% what happens to you and the other 90%, is how you decide to react. So why do we react and put up this illusion of a perfect world when “we cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way? We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude.”

 

  1. T.S. Eliot: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality,”
  2. people feel like they need illusions in their life to run away from reality
  3. illusion gives confidence
  4. satisfaction vs mental illness
  5. used as a diversion and is a delusion to the unwanted and the rejected truth
  6. your perception is the illusion
  7. we stick to the illusions although it contradicts reality 
  8. acknowledging reality: we have never been able to accept reality for what it is we have just learned to build an alternate world around us that we can tolerate.

 

 

paragraph 2

In The Great Gatsby, flowers are a big symbol in the book, they are used to materialise the rich. Fitzgerald has named the characters in relation to the flowers, such as Daisy, Myrtle and Carraway, all from different social classes. They would come into the book in conjunction with the relationships, especially with Gatsby and Daisy, the most superficial characters in the novel.  Before the reunion of Gatsby and Daisy, there was only history between them, that has now caused an imagination for a second chance for Gatsby.  However, when Gatsby “kissed her… she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.” Daisy, a very common flower,  fulfilled one goal for Gatsby, the ultimate goal. Gatsby thought this would be enough, he had imagined over and over again that “At his lips’ touch,” his dream would be complete. But this would never be the case, although Gatsby paid his way towards Daisy, it doesn’t mean one action will complete the transaction. He learnt from Daisy that you can always buy flowers but they will never live forever;  he can’t just buy a life with Daisy and expect it to work out as planned.     The flowers also show the progressive changes of the relationships as they grew and delved deeper into one another’s true personalities. Sadly for Gatsby, he never comprehended Daisy’s one true personality until right before his death. When she never called him back “He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky… and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is…” Gatsby finally realises Daisy isn’t the soft, pretty ‘daisy’ she lets on, she is, in fact, a rose. She is beautiful at first and from a distance, but as soon as you get too close, you discover the dangers it holds; the innocent flower can hurt you with one touch. 

 

 

practise essay

“We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality.” In the novel “The Great Gatsby”, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, we get an illuding insight into the world of a hectic 1920’s summer in Manhatten. I’ll be explaining the three main symbols of water, flowers and the comparison of yellow and gold the seven key characters fabricated themselves.

Throughout the novel, water is shown as a representation of time. The water exposes the time Gatsby and Daisy spent apart and the struggling currents of water that are keeping them apart. Although Gatsby is persistently swimming against the current of time, we know it is impossible to reverse time. Fitzgerald shows us a clear and in-depth understanding of how time and water has affected the characters in the novel The Great Gatsby. When Gatsby and Daisy finally reunite after a long five years, it is raining heavily as all the time falls apart. However, once the awkward air had passed between the two characters, the sun came out while they were reminiscing old times and remembered the mutual love in each others company. Gatsby mentioned this to Daisy as if she hadn’t already noticed that it had “stopped raining.” Daisy replied with “her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty,” that  “told only of her unexpected joy.” by saying,  “I’m glad, Jay.” This shows how the relationship is more one-sided. They are on unequal footing and Gatsby is only a memory for Daisy, it’s all he ever will be. Her half-heartless reply shows she is less invested in their future together she’s not prepared to give up what she already has just for him.  Although Daisy was trying to deny the past with passion, deep inside she felt an urge to follow along and leave her life with Tom behind. She was torn between the two opportunities in front of her but she was letting her mind overthink the situation at hand. The water shows the struggle of not being able to leave the past behind for a new and ‘better’ life. Daisy needed a rapid, not a current that would allow her to live a double life, but time is never in our favour; we have no control of water and we never will. However, it took Gatsby too long to realise he couldn’t get Daisy until he could cross the water, and to walk on water is undeniably impossible. Even before he discovered his dream of Daisy was irrational, the water was giving him more than one sign that he didn’t have a chance with her. “If it wasn’t for the mist,” that rolled in while showing Daisy the “green light that burns all night” at the end of her dock across the bay on East Egg they could see her house; they would have been able to see Gatsby’s hope together. Fitzgerald was showing us how the hope of a new beginning was getting clouded over by time, by the past five years that have haunted Gatsby for his whole life.

Language Features

  • Fitzgerald uses many allusions throughout the novel. Select one of these allusions and explain the connection between it and the book.

“Her face was sad and lovely(1) with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth(2), but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion(3)

    1. juxtaposition- the two adjectives can be compared and contrasted to give a more in-depth understanding about the object being defined. In this case, it is used to show the irony behind Daisy’s persona. It reflects her empty white personality that is hidden or overshadowed by her beautiful and ‘lovely’ appearance. This is the illusion Gatsby fell under, only seeing her as the gorgeous unharmful daisy rather than the true rose that she is. He didn’t realise the melancholy that comes with living in the high status he’s dreaming of being a part of.
    2. Fitgerald refers to eyes a lot throughout the book, they come to this passage when describing Daisy. He says she has bright eyes, even on a sad but lovely face; I feel this means her eyes are easy to read and are the windows to her soul. We can understand a lot through Daisy’s eyes, especially when she’s not truly happy when she smiles. Fitzgerald says she has ‘a bright passionate mouth’ to show she has to put effort into and is passionate about lying through her teeth. She uses her mouth to hide the fact that she is not happy living in her ‘fulfilled’ life, however, her eyes are the downfall to this act. We learn the truth through her eyes, even if she puts on an extraordinary play with her mouth.

 

  1. The tone of Daisy’s voice can change frequently due to the mood she is in or wants to be in. She has a certain way with her voice that can become very persuasive when she wants it to. Daisy uses this ‘singing compulsion’ to allure men in physically and emotionally. This is used effectively against Tom and Gatsby who both fall under the charm of her voice.

 

 

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes(1) before us. It eluded(2) us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther(3). . . . And one fine morning ——So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past(4).” -metaphoric piece

  1. Emotive language- ‘Greenlight’ and ‘orgastic future’ had represented hope. The green light on the end of daisy’s dock was the symbol of hope for Gatsby throughout the novel. We see the progression of it being bright then clouding over until he no longer looked for it. The hope for an exciting future with Daisy ahead began to gradually diminish slowly until it was no longer there for Gatsby.
  2. The dream had slipped out from Gatsby’s firm grasp, it had escaped him, but they will never be able to escape it. Gatsby was just another person who failed to find the past by attempting to restore and transcend their past lives. His unobtainable dream failed because of the impossibility of it all.
  3. ‘Faster’ and ‘further’ are connotative languages to give the reader the impression that they will never give up. That every day, they would push on never losing sight of their dream. Gatsby stayed very optimistic for over five years even though everything seemed to go wrong for him. He always was getting pushed back and never got close enough to the dream that it became tangible. This language shows the dream did not die with Gatsby.
  4. Remembering that water represents time, we know they stayed persistent with fighting the time but struggled to make it to the past. They kept rowing towards the green light of hope, even though they were getting held back by the present. The present was restricting them from turning their dreams into reality, they were too tangled in the illusion they spun themselves to move on. We can relate this line to ‘The American Dream’ as people trapped outside it keep pushing, keep working even though they are making no progress in life and never will until an opportunity springs on them. They keep that one hope of escaping the cycle as motivation to keep going.

 

“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white(1) face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God(2)… Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch, she blossomed like a flower (3) and the incarnation was complete. 

    1. connotative language- White has many meanings that come with it, which is why it is a perfect colour to assign with Daisy. At first white means pure, beauty and innocence however, he comes to learn that for Daisy, White actually comes with the feeling of emptiness, plain and indecision. When we look deeper into Daisy as a character, these words describe her very accurately. The word white is referenced with Daisy a lot through the novel to help us have a more in-depth understanding of her as a character.
    2. Gatsby had been planning this moment for too long, he couldn’t rush and let it ruin his dream. It had to follow the perfection he saw her as. He knew once the moment had happened, he couldn’t take it back, so he would fully commit his life to her when it did. He would take his crazy and unrealistic visions for their future together with him. Gatsby would stop looking for other girls, changing his antics from before he met Daisy. However, sadly for Gatsby, he was committing his whole life to a perishable soul, one that wouldn’t care to stay around to stick it out to the end.
    3. This is a reference to a continuous symbol and extended metaphor of flowers throughout the novel. The flowers focus on characters and their actions but especially focus on Daisy and her transitions that we slowly understand. With Gatsby, she begins to ‘blossom’ out playing with the hearts of more characters. This was her transition from a harmless and common daisy to a painful rose to Gatsby. She had now become dangerous to Gatsby as he would begin to fall even harder for her, it gave him a larger hope that his dream would come true and Dasiy knew all along it never could.

Allusion-” I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew.” Midas is a greek god who was very rich and successful. He was so greedy that his wish was that everything he touched turned into gold, which got granted to him; he regreted his choice very soon after. Morgan was a very powerful banker in his time, he was known as the ‘king of banking and finace.” However, he was accused of exploting the systems for his own benefits.  Maecenas was a very trusted political advisors; his efforts went towards Octavian. Because of this very high role, he was trusted with supreme excecutive control in Italy. All these men can be related to the Great Gatsby because of their high stauses, wealth, fulfulment and greed. Gatsby himself was like Midas and liked to boast about his money by throwing extravangant partes. He could also relate to Maecenas because he liked to tell many stories about his successful life (even if they were false.) Tom could relate them all because he has the high status, wealth and espeacially his greed. Fitzgerald used these three men to emphazise a main idea within the novel The Great Gatsby.

Theme Notes

An illusion is ‘something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.’ Whereas a reality is: ‘the state of things as they are or appear to be rather than as one might wish they are.’ These two definitions cause conflict in the novel The Great Gatsby, where it has a major theme of illusion vs reality. This is shown through Tom’s great image of himself when he’s actually a cruel and racist man, Gatsby and Daisy’s one-sided relationship, Gatsby’s false image of ‘Jay Gatsby,’ and the false symbols of hope. We can relate this to society today through the relative motives and personalities between the novel and real-life. The generation at the moment has become exceedingly bad at giving themselves a perfect persona of what they want others to see them as. People have grown up with the thought of stereotypes drilled into their minds, they’ve learnt to judge a book by its cover.  Before even meeting a person, they have a picture in their head from speculations and rumours on what they will be like and more often than not, they are wrong. This has become an illusion nobody realises they are under and the problems they are causing. More recently, people have felt as if there is a big expectation on how they should live. Usually this changes due to the people they are around and where they live, it’s no longer about what your personal beliefs are. People are thinking they have to be a certain way or they won’t fit in, or won’t get respected; they are getting too used to listening to what others have to say and following advice rather than their own. They have made two personas for themselves, and nobody knows what one is real anymore, including themselves. This is why there are so many relationships where people don’t love each other, but they stick together due to the expectations people have for them to work, and the social status it may get them in. They forgive each other for horrendous mistakes, like cheating, just for the sake of staying together. “I suppose the latest thing to do is sit back and let Mr Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife.” Relationships are no longer about love or happiness for some people, they have knocked over the base of their relationship and still expect it to stand. This is happening too commonly in teenagers, setting them up for failure in their future love life. Sadly for humans nowadays, if they want to move away for that ‘fresh start,’ they no longer can. There will always be people who have to tear down someone’s life just for the sake of it, people will never forget the past. Without opportunity, you can’t make it into the American Dream no matter how hard you try. Our society won’t forget what’s happened in the past, it won’t let you hide you past failures even with all the effort you put in to make them right. Our whole world has become one big illusion, and we no longer know what is reality and what is fantasy.