“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” A quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher and poet from the late 1800s. His quote shows the idea of people changing their entire personality or lifestyle in order to gain respect or something they find important from others that they may see as superior to them. They believe so strongly in what they are doing that they get caught up in their own illusion and it becomes a reality for them. This is shown in the texts by certain characters such as Jay Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby,’ written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Skepta in ‘That’s Not Me,’ a song by Skepta himself, Darnell from ‘Get Hard’ directed by Etan Cohen, and also the landlady from ‘The Landlady’ by Road Dahl. All of these characters in the texts are faced with some sort of illusion in some way and what i will be discussing in this text is how they feel or face up against their illusions and how they pursue their goal that their illusion is created by.
Firstly, Jay Gatsby from the novel ‘The Great Gatsby,’ written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gatsby shows illusion all throughout the entire text and is actually so caught up in his own illusion he refuses to believe that it isn’t a reality. In the story, an incredibly poor, young man named James Gatz creates an ideal version of himself called Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is an immensely wealthy man who lives in the West Egg of Long Island, New York. The reason for the creating of this illusion of himself is his plan to get back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan of East Egg. Gatz is so caught up in his pursuit of Daisy that he doesn’t actually believe that he’s living a fake life. “‘Can’t repeat the past?'” he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can.'” The stories narrator, Nick Carraway believes that Gatsby relies on “the colossal vitality of his illusion.” When he says this it tells the reader that Gatsby lives off the life of his ideal self and without him he would be nothing, and Daisy wouldn’t be interested in him at all. He has devoted most of his life to his goal and has put so much effort into it that he refuses to take no as an answer. This relates to the main theme, as Gatz uses the illusion that he is rich to get Daisy back because he believes that having money is what she wants in the man she is going to love, he uses his illusion to regain something that is incredibly important to him.
Secondly, Skepta’s hit song ‘That’s Not Me.’ Skepta is a British grime rapper who immigrated from Nigeria to London. He started with humble beginnings but is now living the high life, travelling across the globe performing his music to his millions of fans. His hit song ‘That’s Not Me’ is him talking about and trying to get the message across that you don’t have to wear designer brands, drive expensive cars and have heaps of model ‘side chicks’ to be respected in the industry that he is in, because many artists go out of their way by spending thousands of dollars on clothes and cars and get with attractive woman they may not even particularly like just to get respected and look cool. Skepta’s past is full of this type of activity but in the song he explains how he came to his senses and how he decided that he would rather be himself. In the chorus of the song he says “Yeah, I used to wear Gucci , I put it all in the bin cause that’s not me. True, I used to look like you, but dressing like a mess? Nah, that’s not me.” Gucci is a designer brand that is well known for having really high quality, super expensive clothes that to many people may not be seen as stylish but in fact quite weird looking. He says that he used to wear expensive brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and BAPE to look cool when he really would rather wear what he thinks is fashionable. He “threw it in the bin” because he no longer wanted to act as though he was someone else trying to impress everyone that he follows and who follow him in the industry. “You’ll never see me smoking a cigarette, cah cigarette smoker, that’s not me” This also shows that when he was acting as an illusion of himself that he may have been peer-pressured into things he didn’t want to do such as smoking or even doing drugs, which is really common over the world at the moment. What he really wants to be doing is make good music for his fans to enjoy. “There’ll never be a day when i don’t make music ’cause silent? Nah, that’s not me.” This relates to my first text, ‘The Great Gatsby’ with Jay Gatsby because both characters are trying to impress other people by going out of their way with money. Gatsby illegally made money in order to lure Daisy back into his grasp while Skepta, back in his past used money in order to lure in publicity and fans. This relates to the main theme of, changing your personality in order to gain respect or something strongly desired even though it’s not a reality.
My third text is ‘Get Hard,’ a 2015 movie set in California, USA directed by Etan Cohen. This movies involves an extremely wealthy hedge fund manager, James King be sentenced to prison, with 30 days given to him to get his affairs in order. James comes to know Darnell Lewis, a black man that cleans cars for a living who is looking to make some money in order to move out of the small neighbourhood he lives in and get his daughter better education. James mistakes Darnell as a thug in quite a racist way and assumes that he has been to prison himself. “Teach me how to survive in prison, the way you did!” “Tell me how you know I went to prison?” “Given your low economic status, your perceived lack of college education… statistically, you definitely went to prison!” Darnell has never even been given a parking ticket, but he decides to play along in the act in order to make some money off of it. “What reason did you give to him, to assume you went to jail?” “I was being black!” “You’re not exactly a thug, Darnell!” An illusion is shown in the character of Darnell because he is putting on an act that he lives a lifestyle he actually doesn’t in reality. James is only able to see the illusion of who Darnell is. He sees Darnell as a thuggish, criminal who lives in a gang house, when really he lives in a tidy house with a nicely kept garden with his wife and daughter. Much like Skepta, Darnell has created a different version of himself in order to gain respect from his superiors. Darnell created his illusion to make some quick and easy money, while Skepta created his illusion to gain publicity for his music, which ultimately would result in him making more money, while neither character was really in their own ideal environment for what they were trying to achieve. The theme again continues through this text, as Darnell has changed his personality, by doing something he really doesn’t want to be doing, just to make an easy, yet substantial amount of money.
Lastly, the landlady from Roald Dahl’s short story, ‘The Landlady.’ The story is about a 17-year-old boy named Billy Weaver. He is visiting the city of Bath for the first time and is looking for a cheap place to stay. He never knew anyone who lived there so he was looking for a hotel, in the dark, in a place he had never been to before. On his way to ‘The Bell and Dragon’ hotel which he was told was nearby, Billy stumbled across a small cozy looking ‘Bed and Breakfast’ which was “brilliantly illuminated” making it look really inviting between all the old houses that you “could see the paint was peeling from the woodwork on their doors and windows,” making this small bed and breakfast look even nicer of a place to stay at. Billy thought “certainly it would be more comfortable than The Bell and Dragon.” So he rang the bell and was greeted by a middle aged woman who “gave him a warm, welcoming smile.” What Billy sees at this point in the story is a really nice woman, the landlady, who is kindly offering her home to him just as an act of kindness. As the story goes on, Billy comes to find himself in a different situation to what he thought he was in for when he was pleasantly welcomed in. The landlady isn’t who she initially appeared to be, Billy later describes her “to be slightly off her rocker.” The reader learns that the landlady is actually a murderer who keeps her victims bodies in her house. She purposely creates an illusion that she is just a kind woman with a goal of giving back to younger people in the community, but she just uses this to lure the innocent young men in. She is really a sick woman who is just trying to kill these young men and keep the bodies in the upstairs of her, what was thought to be “decent house.” This illusion is similar to the illusion shown in ‘Get Hard,’ with Darnell. Darnell is trying to act as though he is something he isn’t in an effort to lure James’ money in and take it before he realises that Darnell isn’t what he says he is. The landlady is similar as she is creating an illusion of herself in order to lure in the young boys and take their lives just before they realise she isn’t who she seems to be. The similar theme in the two texts is that both characters are trying to lure in something by using an illusion of themselves, which follows the main theme of changing your personality in order to gain something out of it.
To conclude, the texts ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘That’s Not Me’ by Skepta, ‘Get Hard,’ directed by Ethan Cohen, and ‘The Landlady,’ written by Roald Dahl, all show the reader an idea of illusion in a character. They all help to show me the idea of how people love and desire something so much that they get to the point where they are so desperate they end up changing their whole identity and lifestyle. It also shows that you don’t always have to be what people want you to be rather than what you want to be, because it doesn’t necessarily determine how much people will like you and your unique identity. “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”