- Explain what you think Fitzgerald is trying to say about society by presenting the idea of illusion so thoroughly throughout the text.
- 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 illusion.
From my perspective, I think that Fitzgerald is trying to show how corrupt and unfair the “American dream” is. The American dream states that everyone of any social class shall be granted wealth if they work hard enough to achieve it. For example, the American dream is being chased by Gatsby and has been ever since he was just a little boy. Although Gatsby inherited little to no wealth from his parents when they died, he still managed to become extremely rich. This signifies the corruption of the American dream because Gatsby has managed to obtain his wealth through illegal means, almost as if he has cheated the corrupt system. The American dream proves to be an illusion because when you look at the people of the valley of ashes, they work hard every day doing hard labor, and yet they don’t get anywhere with their lives. They are only just getting by.
Illusion is very real for teenagers because many teenagers are faced with the illusion of trying to fit in and be “normal.” Whereas creativity and individuality are squashed like a bug under your foot. Teenagers are expected to do certain things, wear certain clothes and to follow the same routine. Anybody that strays from this concept of what we are and aren’t meant to do is looked down upon and treated as an outcast. Therefore, people choose to portray themselves on the outside as someone who on the inside they truly aren’t.