“Some people choose to focus on their dreams, rather than what the reality really is”. This quote represents how people choose to fixate their lives around trying to achieve a dream, a type of lifestyle and to be someone they are not naturally. I will discuss four main characters, and how each one shows an example of illusion, making something of themselves in order for society to be on their side. In the texts “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Hitler In Colour” directed by David Batty, “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl and the song “Try” written by Colbie Caillat; each main character proves themselves trying to be something that they are not and hiding from reality basing their lives around a dream that is unreachable. Each character shows this in their own unique way, and they all have different reasons to want to be someone they cant be.
The idea of being oblivious to reality and focusing on your dream is shown very clearly by Jay Gatsby in the novel “The Great Gatsby”, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Jay Gatsby sets his life up to be seen as perfect from an outsiders view, he lives in a beautiful mansion based on the water, he has many maids and he is notorious for throwing amazing parties. However we learn that Gatsby is missing something in his life that was very important to him, Daisy Buchanan the women he loves and intends to be with again. He fell in love five years ago, an incident that was to effect the rest of his life forever. As he left for war, he left Daisy promising he would return to her and they would be together again. Daisy married Tom Buchanan, an immensely wealthy man who is racist, sexist and arrogant. Once Gatsby returns he buys a house directly opposite the Buchanan’s mansion across the bay, to be close to Daisy. We learn that everything Gatsby does, every party he throws, his purchases, the fashionable wadrobe and the destination of his home are all a scheme to bring Daisy back into his life and have her love him for good. This could be seen as romantic gesture on behalf of Gatsby, however it is clear that he becomes so focused on his dream of Daisy that he is unable to see the reality, he doesn’t fit into her social class and doesn’t have the money to make her feel secure and happy, he moves further and further into a fantasy. When Gatsby learns his neighbour, Nick Caraway is a cousin of Daisys he has an instant interest in him. They develop a friendship and when Gatsby gets Nick to organise a lunch with Daisy, from that minute on Nick sees Gatsbys optimism and power to transform his dream to a reality. When Gatsby was talking to Nick he says “can’t repeat the past?” he cried “why of course you can”. From this quote we can confirm that all Gatsby wants is the past, and he has to convince himself that its possible. Towards the end of the book Gatsby finally admits to Nick that he loved Daisy for her youth and vitality, and idolised her wealth and popularity. This is after Nick advises Gatsby to forget Daisy and leave Long Island as he saw the reality that Daisy was leading Gatsby on, when she would never leave her social position and wealth even though her husband was un faithful, we learn that she is more concerned about her possessions and reputation rather than to be in love with Gatsby. When Gatsby gets killed, he is described by Nick that he “paid a high price for living too long with a single dream”. This quote shows that all the events that Gatsby got him self into was all a sacrifice for Daisy. He fell to far into something he didn’t realise he was in. He never doubted his dream, he lost sense of society for too long, and even after his confrontation with Tom, and Daisys statement that she loves Tom, he can not still accept his dream is dead. Nick describes Gatsbys last thoughts to be disillusioned by the meaningless and emptiness of life without Daisy, without his dream. Nick says Gatsby must of realised “what a grotesque thing a rose is”. Daisy is simply beautiful on the outside yet has no moral strength or loyalty, she was an object of his dream that he failed to see past her appearance.
Towards the end of the movie “Hitler In Colour”, Adolf Hitler the Fuhrer of Germany shows how he fell too far into the concept of trying to achieve his dream of taking over Europe and winning World War 2, which became impossible with the pressure from the allies and the deterioration of his troops. He built his reputation up to be a strong, defeat-less hero by giving the German people what they needed in a time of crisis, he used tactics to make women worship him and he made agreements of peace only to go against the rules. He got what he wanted and when he wanted it and this was shown especially when he took over the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, an agreement was made to avoid war. However Hitler may of been seen to be unstoppable, but he had a fear and we know this when he says “Life does not forgive weakness”. This quote also explains Hitlers suicide, he was a man that could not admit to defeat and that deep down he was afraid. Hitler therefore created an illusion of himself, inside he feared yet he still gave harsh orders and attempted to make movements through Europe that he couldn’t realise the allies would make impossible. He made sure the German people and the world saw him as a strong leader that was yet to accomplish winning but he couldn’t see the reality of where the war was heading, never did he publicly doubt his dream. Towards the end of World War 2 the movie shows Hitler ordering troops to go to the frontline that no longer existed, he hadn’t realised the truth that his amount of soldiers were limited now and that the allies were only getting stronger. Hitlers commanders were desperate to retreat at one of Germanys last fights at the River Vistula where the German troops were out numbered. Hitler refused to realise the reality, and admit he was about to lose when he says, “Every soldier must fulfil his duty, whoever does not is a traitor. Anyone who gives you an order to retreat must be arrested and executed immediately.” Later when Hitler kills himself we learn he couldn’t face the realism that he failed and he had stayed in his dream to remain secure and feeling powerful. He made his life devoted to ruling Germany and expanding it to become the most successful country in the world, he made something of himself that wasn’t real, an appearance and personality. Because inside he wasn’t the powerful unstoppable man he was seen to be and we have proof of this when he takes his life. Jay Gatsby and Adolf Hitler both have the idea that they focused so much on a dream that they lost sense of reality even though they had completely different dreams they wished to accomplish. Jay Gatsby portrayed himself as powerful because of his wealth just like Hitler did with his leadership. They both suffered from living a dream, they both died earlier than anyone in both their lives would expect. Even though they died in different terms with Gatsby being murdered and Hitler committing suicide, they both had consequences and towards the end of their lives this was the moment they both realised the reality and for both characters it came as a major shock. Gatsby realises who Daisy really was a grotesque rose, and Hitler realises his loss and embarrassment and they both feel the impact of these dreams hugely.
Pretending to be someone you are not in order to accomplish something is shown in “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl. In the text it focuses on Billy, a young man visiting a town looking for a place to stay for the night. He had a plan to stay at the Bell and Dragon, however he gets distracted by an advertisement on a warming home saying “Bed and Breakfast”. When he decides to look into it he is greeted by a charming elderly women. Once Billy realises it is “fantastically cheap” he agrees to stay the night. However the older lady seems to pay him a lot of attention, asking him numerous questions and going an extra effort to ensure his room is perfect, she says to Billy “Im so glad you appeared, I was starting to get worried”. From this quote we learn its quite an unusual thing to say to a stranger you have never met, however we get the sense she knew he was coming. Billy thinks the women is just getting old and is “slightly off her rocker”, but it isin’t until he goes downstairs that he realises the truth. He reads the guest book, finding two of the names very familiar but he can’t place his finger on who they are. He recalls that he thinks he read about them in a newspaper and they are famous but the old lady turns him down saying he is wrong they aren’t famous however they were very handsome. She kept denying his senses of who they were and she remained keeping them a mystery. She hands him tea, and as he starts to drink it he finds her creepily staring at him, and he finds his tea smelling odd. He then realises all the lady’s pets are stuffed and the old women explains that the two boys are still here on the third floor although Billy does not click on that she has poisoned the boys and stuffed them just like her animals. The old women pretends to be a lovely lady who seems as if she is “losing her marbles”, however she is actually smart and is trying to commit an evil crime. She starts out polite and welcoming when she says “You see it isn’t very often I have the pleasure of taking a visitor into my little nest”, but as the short story goes on she becomes odd and a tad creepy. The reality is, she is an old women that is alone and stuffs people and animals to give her security and company. She creates an illusion of herself because she puts up an opposite cover to who she really is. Hitler and the landlady both pretended and tricked people committing crimes and treating people horribly. Hitler used manipulative strategies to invade and take many lives and also to turn people against jews just like the landlady did to poison Billy. Both Hitler and the Landlady made illusions of themselves for example when Hitler ensured the German people he would give them what they wanted, in order to make himself the leader, that was his strategy to pull people in. The Landlady had a similar concept when she acted all kind and offered a room at a very cheap price to lure Billy in.
The song “Try” written by Colbie Caillat, is a song that identifies young women making their self identity look good for others enjoyment and to live up to societies standards. In her opening line she says “Put your makeup on, get your nails done, curl your hair, run the extra mile, keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?”. From this quote we learn tactics women use to create an illusion of themselves. Makeup is a cover up of what naturally lies beneath, so is curling your hair and intending to run in order to keep skinny. Makeup is a right to women however it should not be used in terms to “cover up flaws”, exercise should be done to make yourself happy or to achieve a goal in sport, not to make your body something it naturally is not. As Coco Chanel said, “Inner beauty begins, the moment you decide to be yourself”. Towards the end of the song Cocos concept is represented when Colbie sings “Wait a second, why should you care what they think of you. When your all alone, by yourself, do you like you?”. This quote is showing that you need to love who you are naturally before you try project yourself as something you are not to other people. Colbie is trying to say you cant fear rejection from others, you must do things that make you happy and embrace who you truly are and the challenges of society. We learn you cant place your happiness in someone else’s hands because in the end society will rule the person you are becoming. This song relates to focusing on your dream rather than the reality because women dream of flawless skin, symmetrical features, long silky hair and also the idea of popularity. But instead they dont accept the reality and choose to ignore it inorder to achieve there dreams. This song can be compared to the landlady because both at the start of this song and the short story, the two characters are both intentionally pretending to be attractive to have company. The Landlady hides the ugly person she is inside and acts like a lovely person so she has a friend. Colbie is showing her fake identity to do the same thing as what the Landlady did however Colbie’s intentions are not as intense as the Landlady’s.
In the texts The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hitler In Colour directed by David Batty, The Landlady by Roald Dahl and Try written by Colbie Caillat, we are shown clear examples of these characters setting up an illusion based on their appearance to achieve their aspirations. This is not to say their dreams were impossible, they were possible but with the help of what the reality was. The fact that they could not see what was happening was the reason in some place in each characters lives they felt unhappy. I think the main lesson I have learnt from these characters is to be happy with myself and have goals and dreams but to be aware and know where the limit is to dreaming. The quote “keep you dreams out of reach, but not out of sight” relates to these characters because everyone should and can dream, dreams are normally a bit harder to achieve than goals and they will be out of reach at some point as you cannot achieve something overnight. However when this quotes says keep your dreams insight, I believe it is showing you can dream big but you have to be aware of whats around you and slowly work up to your dream, taking small steps.