1. Explain what you think Fitzgerald is trying to say about society by presenting the idea of illusion so thoroughly throughout the text.
One way that Fitzgerald presents illusion is by commenting on how corrupt the American Dream is, by how unrealistic and untrue the achievability of the American Dream is. The American Dream states that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. This is an important motto that America holds for society because it is rooted in the Declaration of Independence. The American Dream is chased by Gatsby at a young age when he hopes for a better life, being one with the upper class. Despite inheriting little wealth from Dan Cody after he dies, he earns a large amount of his wealth by illegally carrying out activities as part of Wolfsheim’s business thus showing the corruption of the American Dream system. For him to earn his immense wealth he had to cheat the system and by doing so makes up a lie to cover up the truth, that he was poor and jumped economic barriers illegally, not following the American Dream. The American Dream states that everyone of any social class shall be granted wealth if they work hard enough to achieve it. This statement is an illusion because the people of the Valley of Ashes work hard for days upon days with hopes of achieving this American Dream that will never be true. This shows the illusion of society that everyone is given equal opportunities to earn wealth no matter social class if they work hard, though in society it is nearly impossible for someone of a very low social class eg. African/Americans or Maori to earn immense wealth, even if they work as hard as they possibly can.
2. Discuss how illusion is a real idea for teenagers?
What problems/ challenges/ issues do teenagers face each day and how can we relate them to the illusion.
The school system has gotten to a point of being very bias towards the high achievers and ignoring the ones who struggle to achieve and cannot “enjoy success”. School itself is an illusion to being a place where we can all grow up to be our own person, a training area for life. This isn’t true because the school system involves molding us into how society will accept us, programming us like robots and ensuring we aim at the exact same target, to pass. This has become an issue for teenagers because many believe they are stupid for not reaching this target required (specifically the non-creative subjects such as history, geography, maths and English which require one particular answer) to pass through the school system and therefore will remain hopeless because they cannot find their strengths to contribute to the larger society in the future if they cannot contribute to school. The school system puts us in uniform to show is all we are the same, yet they tell us we are individually important. All teenagers are faced with these standards which must be reached, and only once reached they can be proud. The idea that everybody can fit in with others if they true is certainly far from reality, all aspects of a person contribute to their social placing. Personality, hobbies, hair colour, appearance, race, and skills.