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.”


2 Replies to “Significant Connections”

  1. Annabel- too much plot at this stage and not enough analysis on how/why he constructed his illusion. Try to condense your summary down and delve further into the HOW and WHY behind your characters illusion.

  2. Annabel- look at bullet points one and two during your editing time.
    Also, check your grammar and use of punctuation in places.

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