28th August 2017

Significant Connections

Significant Connections Essay

Introduction: Do you like your reality? Are you enjoying yourself sitting her reading these words I have written? Do you wish you were somewhere else, somehow else and someone else? If you do than you have something in common with four characters from the following four texts; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield, Spiderman Homecoming by director Jon Watt and The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Stenson. These characters show the art of illusion, they conceive through a false persona they like to confide in rather than living the truth of their reality. In this essay I will discuss the significant connections that these texts hold with each other, linking the idea of illusion in a particular character and how they true to hide the truth of themselves.

Body 1: My first text I have chosen is “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the character Jay Gatsby represents illusion in that he pretends to be someone he is not and through this escapes his true reality, that he is a poor farmboy named James Gatz. After escaping his lower class lifestyle, James Gatsby decides to change his entire life to form this persona which he desires to be, in this process sacrificing family, friends, his name and his memories to live a lie, all in order to achieve an unobtainable dream of reuniting with his long lost lover Daisy and to feel on top of the world. Before achieving this dream, “James Gatz—that was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career—when he saw Dan Cody’s yacht drop anchor over the most insidious flat on Lake Superior.” James Gatz envied the upper class life, only really conspiring on how to achieve this desired dream and not appreciating love from family and friendships, and once his transformation into Jay Gatsby is complete realises that he envies the lower class, mourns on these sacrifices he made after living such an irreversible illusion. Once Dan Cody had dropped this anchor, James Gatz dropped with it, and whilst meeting Dan Cody, this yacht sailed him into a “superior” lifestyle, seemingly full yet so empty. This brings us to the end, his realisation when “…he must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about… like that ashen, fantastic figures gliding towards him through the amorphous trees.” Gatsby realises that once this dream has collapsed over him and his lustrous enchantments have stopped shimmering green, he realises that his reality has caught up to his illusion, consequently reaching the end of his road he sees this world of illusion in new lights. This world is so unfamiliar, it’s frightening and raw, his true reality turns it’s cold back on him and he is forced to drift among the poor ghosts whose lust for dreams had poisoned their ambitious souls. To conclude Gatsby displays illusion in that he forms a false persona rather than living his reality due to this obsession of chasing Daisy and to be one with the superior and upper class.

Body 2: My second text I have chosen is “The Doll’s House” by Katherine Mansfield, the character Kezia, who in a school mixed with lower and upper classes, is forced to live an illusion of a character who despises the lower class characters in this story called “the Kelveys”. As included in one of the higher class families she is forced to live a lie, blending in with characters with hatred for the lower class such as Isabel and Aunt Beryl when really she has a special place in her heart for the lower class, empathising with the Kelveys when nobody would breaking this barrier that is placed by society. “You can come and see our doll’s house if you want to,” said Kezia, and she dragged one toe on the ground…”, this signifies a change in heart to this character and that she would rather not live this illusion she is forced to display. You can tell she feels very nervous and uncertain of this action and how it will cost her, because of this toe dragging mannerism. By letting them see this dollshouse she opens a gate into this possibility of breaking free from this restrictive illusion and living the truth of herself, as someone who holds a secretive place in her heart for the lower class. After showing the Kelveys the dollshouse, Kezia is scolded by Aunt Beryl who is disgraced by her actions to invite the Kelveys into their house, calling her a “Wicked, disobedient little girl!” By being punished for straying away from this illusion she is forced to live, she must continue to live a lie that she despises members of the lower class. Because of her upper class heritage she cannot live the truth of her character showing that a character’s illusion is hard to break away from once formed. With this being said I can relate this idea of illusion in a character with “The Great Gatsby” in that like Gatsby, Kezia would rather live an illusion that others would rather want to perceive than the truth of her reality, due to this fear of not being accepted by the her upper-class associates. Gatsby lives this illusion in order to impress Daisy and the other upper class characters, Kezia is afraid of not being accepted due to her liking of the lower-class therefore lives her illusion. 

Body 3: My third text I have chosen is “Spiderman: Homecoming” a film directed by Jon Watts, the character Peter Parker, who in order to impress his classmates in high school wishes to live an illusion of this Spider Man persona, who he prefers to be over the truth of his reality. Being an adolescent, Peter struggles with ambitions of being accepted, pursuing one of the popular girls, Liz, he feels the only way to achieve this dream is to reveal this illusion of his Spider man persona in efforts to impress her or gain attention he feels won’t be obtained otherwise. The films main focus is his character trying to balance this Spiderman lifestyle with his everyday high school life, this superhero lifestyle giving him power which he feels must be utilised to overcome his high school difficulties. In one particular situation, there is a party at Liz’s house, in which he doesn’t feel as confident and empowered in this social situation, saying “Look, I’m just gonna be myself,” to which his friend Ned replies with “Peter, no one wants that”. This shuts down any chance of him succeeding in this situation without utilising this illusion and having beforehand made up a lie, that he knows Spider man personally, feels that he must show up at the party as this Spider man persona to gain attention and uphold this illusion that he promised would show up. Once forced to leave this party, Peter know believes that gaining acceptance from others can only be accomplished by living his character’s Spider Man persona as opposed to the truth of his reality. Later on in the film Peter implies this idea, saying to Tony Stark that “But I’m nothing without this suit!”, to which Tony replies with “If you’re nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it.” This implies that if your character revolves around relying on power through living this Spider man illusion, then this power shouldn’t be granted to him. As the film goes on he soon learns that being Spider man doesn’t define him and that the truth of his reality is what resembles his character and that he shouldn’t rely on this illusion. This can be said about Gatsby, from “The Great Gatsby” who relied on living his illusion too much, which ultimately cost him at the end of the novel, if Peter overly relied on his Spider Man persona I think that he would’ve ended up causing a bigger mess than before, with him bailing on his true character’s priorities ( the academic decathlon and going to homecoming with Liz ) that it soon begins to break this illusion in a negative way. Kezia from “The Dollshouse” relied on this illusion because of the acceptance of her family and to lose it would result in her family’s disapproval. This idea can be applied to Peter in that he relied on living as Spider man in order to gain acceptance from his peers at school and believes he would be nothing without it, gaining disapproval from others.

Body 4: My fourth text is ” The Yellow Wallpaper ” by

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"Writing gives you freedom to create your own world, your rules, your characters and your imagination"