“People aren’t always who they seem to be.” I feel that in life, humans are perceived by others to be someone who they really are not. In this essay, I will be talking about “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The lost decade” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Blind Side by Michael L. Lewis and “The Landlady by Roald Dahl. Within these four written texts, I will be exploring the concept that people are not always who they are perceived to be and that everyone has something that they are hiding in their life.
In the text the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby is perceived to be a rich businessman that has everything someone could ever want in their life. Throughout Gatsby’s life, he is treated as this glorious person who is looked up to, When in reality, behind the illusion that is Gatsby’s magnificent parties and the persona that he portrays, Gatsby really has nobody. Gatsby surrounds himself with rich famous people and holds extravagant parties to make a statement, He wants his name to be distinctive, he wants the name of Gatsby to be recognized and to hold meaningful value to every person that he meets. Gatsby’s whole life has been created and based on materialistic objects, everything that he does is to impress and to feel important to people. Gatsby has built up his illusion of a persona all in the hopes of chasing his dream, his dream of being with the love of his life, Daisy. At the beginning of the text when Gatsby says “Can’t repeat the past?” “Why of course you can!” indicates that Gatsby does not give up on life, he does not let things go. This is why Gatsby did not give up on his dream and continues to pursue Daisy throughout his life. Gatsby has been so consumed with chasing his illusion of a dream, that five years of his life have slipped before his eyes. Daisy means everything to Gatsby, he based his whole life around her, the parties, the rich and famous people that Gatsby associated himself with, it was all in the hope that one day Daisy would walk through that door and into Gatsby’s life. When Gatsby finally fulfills his dream of being with Daisy, when he has finally grasped what he has been chasing for his whole life, “She vanishes into her rich house into her rich full life leaving Gatsby nothing.” Gatsby is heartbroken, the dream that he has been clutching at for his whole life was within his grasp and now it has slipped through his fingers like sand. The aspect of Daisy “vanishing into her rich house into her rich full life,” shows that without Gatsby, Daisy still has a complete life and that there is no place for Gatsby left in her life. This is the similarities with Mr. Trimble in “The Lost Decade.”
In the written text, Mr. Trimble is described to have missed 10 years of his life. This, in turn, relates to Gatsby. When Gatsby was chasing his dream of being with Daisy, he completely lost touch with reality and was pursuing something that he could never grasp. Gatsby lost 5 years of his life chasing the illusion that was his dream of being with Daisy. This is the same with Mr. Trimble, in Mr. Trimble’s words, he has “missed the last decade and it has “been 10 long years.” Trimble has been living in a different reality, a drunken reality. For 10 years, he has been drunk and has missed everything that his life had to offer to him, now that he has snapped out of the illusion of the life that he was living in, he is looking to make something of his life. However, this proves to be very hard for Mr. Trimble because, during the 10 years of his life in which he was drunk, Mr. Trimble has been looked down upon and treated as an outcast. This is the outlook that society has on people, no matter how hard you try to succeed if in your past you were a nobody and society treated you as if you were invisible, you will always be treated that way and people will not forget who you used to be. During these 10 years of his life, Mr. Trimble has tried to hide away from civilization, in spite of this, society saw through the illusion that he was portraying and they immediately judged him. When Mr. Trimble escaped from his past, he craved the simple things in life, he had been out of the loop of society for 10 years and all he wanted to do was forget his past life. “I want to see people’s faces, people talking, how people react and how people move.” Mr. Trimble was perceived to be this drunken excuse of a person when behind this illusion, he was just a normal guy that appreciated the simple things in life. This factor is the same with Leanne Tuohy in “The Blind Side.” Leanne is recognized by people to be this rich stuck up woman when in reality this does not describe her correctly at all.
In “The Blind Side,” written by John Lee Hancock. One of the main characters in the text is Leanne Tuohy. Leanne is portrayed as being a rich white woman that does not have time for anybody in her life. Because of her background, she is viewed as though she does not care about other people. This outlook that others have on Leanne is very evident and in reality is not true, Leanne changes this view that people have of her when she takes Michael Oher into her family, looks after and cares for him. By doing this, Leanne ultimately shatters the illusion of what her life is perceived to be. Michael Oher is an extremely poor and underprivileged child that grew up on the rough side of Memphis. Throughout his whole childhood, Michael was exposed to constant violence and he was never given the opportunity to a proper education, and a chance to succeed in life. This factor vanished from Michael’s life when the Tuohy family adopted him and treated Michael as their own son. “You threaten my son, you threaten me” Shows the viewer how much Michael means to Leanne and how she is willing to do anything within her power to protect Michael. Leanne is described to be “changing that boy’s life,” when she replies with “no, he’s changing mine.” Michael has had a significant effect on Leanne’s life, he has made her come to realize how impactful you can be in the world and on others just by lending a helping hand when people are in need. The outlook that society has on Leanne has completely changed, she is no longer viewed as being a self-oriented woman and instead, people are coming to accept that the persona she was portrayed with, did not accurately represent who she was.
“The Landlady” written by Roald Dahl, is a short story based on a woman that runs a bed and breakfast. “The landlady,” as she is referred by, is very peculiar indeed. Published in 1959, the story is based around a boy by the name of Billy Weaver. Billy is looking for a place to stay for the night and is instantly drawn to the appeal and homeliness that the landlady’s house provides. “My dear boy, why don’t you come in out of the cold?” When Billy first meets her, the landlady greets him with an open and welcoming smile, however, this persona that she is portraying cannot be trusted. This assumption that he has is further strengthened when Billy goes to sign the guestbook, only to find that the last occupation was from nearly two years ago. Wondering why no one had stayed at the house since, Billy asks the Landlady, she brushes it off saying, “oh how time does fly.” There was something about the two names on that paper as well, Christopher Mulholland and Gregory Temple. Billy questions The Landlady on this matter, and once again she brushes it off by saying, they were just two young ordinary men like himself. As The Landlady goes to get some tea, Billy is becoming increasingly worried. He recalls reading a newspaper article about these very two boys and how they went missing two years ago. Asking when they left, The landlady assures him that they did not leave. Left?” she said, arching her brows. “But my dear boy, he never left. He’s still here. Mr. Temple is also here. They’re on the third floor, both of them together.” As he continues to drink his tea, Billy notices that the parrot perched across the room is not living. Inquiring about this, The Landlady reveals that taxidermy is a hobby of hers and that she has stuffed much more than just parrots. This piece of key information ultimately reveals The Landlady’s true identity. The reason that Christopher Mulholland and Gregory Temple never left was that she murdered them.
This is much like Leanne Tuohy in “the blind side,” both the Landlady and Leanne have been perceived to be someone who they really are not. The Landlady was thought by Billy to be this kind and caring innocent old woman when as a matter of fact, she was psychotically insane and was a murderer. When she says that both of the boys are “still here, they’re on the third floor, both of them together.” This illustrates how the Landlady has killed the boys and has kept their bodies stuffed through her love of taxidermy. At the end of the story, Billy realizes how fake The Landlady is, he has found a fault in the innocent old woman that she is trying to portray, however, this realization has come too late. Billy weaver much like the other two boys in the story has fallen into the Landlady’s trap, the tea that she always so generously offered was laced with cyanide, a deadly poison.
In life, people’s perception of others can be altered and manipulated, within the four texts that I have discussed, this same concept has taken place. All four main characters in the written texts have been perceived by others to be someone who they really are not, and behind the illusion that is their reality, they all had something that they were hiding from society. Perception is a powerful concept in life and should never be trusted.