“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
This essay will be focused on the idea of illusion and how it links to the charters of 4 different texts. the texts consist of: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, Now You See Me directed by Louis Leterrier, The Lost Decade by F Scott Fitzgerald, and The Landlady by Roald Dahl. Each of these has a main character chosen for representing illusion, Jay Gatsby, how he has built a life that is really all an illusion just for a long lost love named Daisy; Dylan Rhodes, a man who fixed himself a new identity, just to get revenge with the one of the greatest magic ticks ever; Louis Trimble, the man who has been drunk for a decade and is shows it as an illusion that he has been away from civilization; and The Landlady, a psychopath woman that is an illusion of a harmless, hospitable old lady.
The best example of self deception is the life of Jay Gatsby. F Scott Fitzgerald is the author of The Great Gatsby. A novel telling the story of a successful young man living in West Egg, New York. James Gatz was raised on a small farm in North Dakota, he left home at the age of seventeen and changed his name jay Gatsby. At the age of twenty seven Gatsby fell in love with eighteen year old Daisy Fay. He loved her so much, that when he was called off to war he thought through just how he was going to end up having her. After leaving the army, Gatsby made his way to New York. He knew that he needed wealth and influence to have Daisy so that’s the life he built. “I don’t think she ever loved him.” Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly.” Gatsby tells this to Nick in a way that almost seems to be self assurance. He wants to believe that Daisy doesn’t love her Husband Tom and only ever loved him. Gatsby has to keep telling himself every day that everything is alright. It helps him to keep his illusion alive. “I did, old sport,” he said automatically, “but I lost most of it in the big panic – the panic of the war.” This piece is the same, Gatsby replies to Nick, “automatically”. Showing that he is lying and that he has practiced that line before. Gatsby is man living so much of an illusion that everything he now does turns to self-deception. The name, “The Great Gatsby” even fools him as he is far from great.
The film Now You See Me, directed by Louis Leterrier, is about 4 magicians, called the Four Horsemen. Led by a man named Atlas, they preform a stage trick in Las Vegas and have a bank robbed in France. Federal agent Dylan Rhodes suspects that they really did rob the bank and tries to accuses them for it. In this film Dylan Rhodes displays illusion, by pretending that he is someone else. The whole movie is centered round the idea of illusion in magic, and a common sentence the viewer hears is, “The more you think you see, the less you’ll actually notice.” This is said by Atlas multiple times as it is another thing for his views to think about while he tricks them. Dylan Rhodes isn’t really that focused on during the movie as the viewer knows of him as the, “cop”. A debunker, named Thaddeus Bradley, tries expose the horsemen’s tricks for his personal gain. Later on the horsemen rob a safe and leave the money in Thaddeus’ car, making everyone believe that he is the fifth horsemen and getting him thrown into jail. In jail Thaddeus is visited by Dylan. Bit by bit Dylan lets him put together the pieces, disappears and then reappears out side of Thaddeus’ cell. Turns out Dylan was the mastermind behind everything but doesn’t say why. The viewer can guess thought that Dylan is Lionel Shrike’s son. Lionel was a magician, who died in a escaping safe trick, the movie showed it in a way that the son had to be Dylan Rhodes. Why he changed his name or secreted himself, who knows. But like Gatsby he had a goal that was primarily focused on the past. He started living this illusion of someone else for a purpose not known yet, but as the viewer guesses it is all about revenge.
The Lost Decade by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a short story about a man in New York who has been drunk for 10 years, he displays the illusion of being away from civilization, when in a sense he has. “I’ve been in it — lots of times. But I’ve never seen it. And now it isn’t what I want to see. I wouldn’t ever be able to see it now.” Louis Trimble is meet at the offices of news-weekly by a man named Orrison Brown. Brown is instructed to show Trimble around town for a bit before letting him go, a “feeler” they called him. Orrison shows him the city while letting Trimble actually point out things. Every word that Trimble puts out, Brown grasps on to it trying to figure out who this man really is. “Orrison was sure he had his clue now, and with nice delicacy did not pursue it by a millimeter…” Finally Orrison hears something that gives a clue that Trimble had been drunk, for “ten years” where as he was actually at one of the restaurant’s “last May”. Another part to the illusion that Trimble is putting off, is his image. “Orrison looked after him when he started out, half expecting him to turn into a bar. But there was nothing about him that suggested or ever had suggested drink.” This quote from Orrison Brown shows of what he thought of Louis Trimble, he never thought of him as the drunkard. This illusion is very similar to Dylan Rhodes in the film “Now You See Me”. Rhodes let everyone think that he had a hatred for the 4 horsemen. Even fooling Thaddeus Bradley the debunker, who thought he found Rhodes’ secret of being a famous magicians son, but didn’t realize that he was also the mastermind behind the organization called “the eye”.
The Landlady by Roald Dahl is another short story. This text is about an old lady that owns a bed and breakfast in London. Billy happens to stumble upon it and decides to get a room there. He is greeted by the Landlady, who doesn’t give her name. She gives off the illusion of a frail old lady in a nice old Bed and breakfast. After a lot of discussion Billy finds out that he is only the third person to come here, from what the log book says. “Oh, I am, my dear, I am, of course I am. But the trouble is that I’m inclined to be just a teeny weeny bit choosy and particular – if you see what I mean.” This gives off a bit of a clue that she isn’t any old lady, but Billy still doesn’t pick up on it. “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.” Here she tells us that the two other boys are still here on the third floor, and just before this she tells Billy that she stuffs all her animals. This is a great illusion relating to Gatsby as he, like the landlady gives off a persona of some that he clearly is not.
This report links four different texts on their ideas of illusion and describes each individual text itself.