1. Explain what you think Fitzgerald is trying to say about society by presenting the idea of illusion so thoroughly throughout the text.
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 illusion.
We have studied the Great Gatsby with the theme of illusion. Fitzgerald is trying to tell us that the American Dream is a false hope. This is shown many times in the novel, in the Valley of Ashes, how Gatsby illegally made his money to become what he thought Daisy wanted, and the people that live in East Egg. The illusion that is repeated again and again is that it is impossible to live up to the American Dream, because even the people like Gatsby have made large sums of money, their lives are still not fulfilled. The East Egg residents are filthy rich but they did not work an inch to earn money. It is false for the people in the Valley of Ashes because they work everyday for hours but still get nowhere. All the characters in the Great Gatsby are an illusion, they have made themselves into different people to become ‘better’ in their eyes. They have not felt comfortable in their own lives in reality so they have created false personas to captivate others into their ugly, messy lives.
The idea of illusion is totally relateable to our teenage generation. Teenagers are often not happy with their looks or lifestyle and we constantly feel like we are getting judged. Teenagers think care about their image and what other people think about them. Social classes are a huge part of the teenage life, this thought can also be related to the Great Gatsby, where social classes are everything and define everyone. People create an illusion about themselves to fit into these social classes by buying branded clothes or taking part in popular activities. But people eventually get tired of pretending and keeping their guards up and their true personality and image comes out, whether it is for the best or worst.