Without even noticing, people within all societies are living some form of lie. I have chosen to explore the theme, The illusion of living a lie. Whether people aren’t living their lives to their fullest potential, or by being a person led astray by misconception. In the end, people are often confronted by their harsh realities once their truths are finally unmasked. I have chosen to explore this concept through the use of four texts. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon. The Last Decade, by F. Scott. Fitzgerald.
The novel The Great Gatsby, written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald. James Gats was in love with Daisy Buchanan, but he went to war and didn’t come back for 5 years. For the time he was gone, “… he invented the sort of Jay Gatsby that a 17 year old boy would be likely to invent, and to his misconception he was faithful to the end”. He made himself into a man who was wealthy. He gained his money from bootlegging and when he returned he’d hoped nothing had changed between him and Daisy. But time stood between them. He believed in his recreation, so much that James Gats was no longer apart of him at all. This empathises Fitzgeralds point on how Gatsby changed so much that he was no longer a physical person, he was just an idea for hope. Day by day, Gatsby had shown a representation of his hope fade as the novel had progressed, until one day “… it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of the light had now vanished forever”. This teaches us, that recreating yourself for another person. Is misleading and often ends with you destroying yourself to the point of having nothing left. Gatsby was a man made of hope, and when the hope was gone so was he.
The novel, Everything, Everything written by author Nicola Yoon. Maddy (the protagonist) had grown up in a lie. All of her life she had believed that she was sick. That she had an illness called SCID (severe combined immunity-deficiency). She existed in a world where she could never have more. She was isolated, she lived in a bubble. The truth was hidden by her mother as she was mentally unstable and co-dependant on the wellbeing of her daughter. The truth was only surrendered when Maddy decided that “For the first time in a long time, she wanted more than she had”. She wanted freedom, she wanted love, she wanted to have a life that she could live to its fullest. Even if that life was only short. Yoon depicted her thoughts on this as she stated that. “Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you”. For Maddy she wasn’t her true self, and who she was was forever dictated by her mother. Being trapped and held captive wasn’t a way to live, by doing this she was risking a life of normality. But by escaping the four walls and going beyond, was a big risk. To Maddy’s knowledge she wasn’t going to survive the trip. She lived a lie, she wasn’t sick. But she lived the life of someone who was. Just like Gatsby, their lives were consumed by things that they themselves didn’t have control over. They both recreated themselves and their lives for someone they love. Is that what love does to people? It drives them to extremes so that with every passing moment the person of illness or the person of poverty fades away into the abyss of passing thought, whilst the person anew either grows like Maddy had or dies like Gatsby. This shows us, that the best way to live your life to its fullest extent is to be honest with who you are inside and to not be reliant on anyone elses attention, love or guidance. That being able to stand on your own two feet is more important than clinging onto a lover or family member who is holding you back.
The novel, The Kite Runner written by author Khaled Hosseini. Amir grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was raised in a small wealthy family. Amir and his father Baba had two “servants”, Ali and Hassan. Amir and Hassan had always been together, like best friends, like brothers. Amir believed that he was a good person, that he’d never done wrong. But in fact, he was living a lie. Amir was living in constant betrayal of Hassan. Whether it was reassuring the other kids in the neighbourhood that Hassan was only a servant. Or if it was by letting the 3 boys rape him in the alley that one winter night. Amir was given the chance to be honest, that he “…opened his mouth, almost said something. Almost. He almost did, but he didn’t”. If Amir had taken that chance, everything would’ve been so different. The fact that one thing, no matter how small can drastically alter someones life. Amir lied, time after time. Always throwing the blame at Hassan, and Hassan was always too naive, too forgiving to stand up for himself. He was a judgemental character whom continued to show scathing behaviour towards everyone he met, he himself didn’t become aware of it later in the novel when he said “…and in the end the question that always came back to me was this: How could I, of all people, chastice someone for their past?” Amir was oblivious to the lie he was living, similar to Maddy from the novel above. The difference being, Amir’s lie cost someone else their life, Whilst Maddy’s cost her own. The idea that is shown through these two texts teach us that living a life that consists of constant lies, destroys you and those you care about in the end unless you challenge it and make the change.
The short story, The Last Decade written by author F. Scott Fitzgerald. When Mr Trimble was first introduced to the narrator he was a complete unknown. All that he knew was that Mr Trimble had been absent for 12 years, and that he wasn’t apart of society for the time he was gone. The narrator drew conclusions that were inequitable and not based off of fact. He looked at this man who he’d just met and thought, “…and simultaneously wondered if he could’ve possibly spent the thirties in a prison or an insane asylum.” Mr Trimble never said that he had been imprisoned or that he was in an asylum. He never even said anything that would’ve given him the idea. But that is what the narrator had assumed and believed. When the story progressed and Mr Trimble’s story was unleashed, Suddenly the misconception of the narrators misguided belief had faded away. The narrator saw Mr Trimble as he was. A wanderer, an architect, a creative soul drifting unbeknownst to society. And the narrator’s views of misconception only remained as a message to the reader. Fitzgerald made the links between how people in society misperceive people as troublesome, or a danger just because they don’t know enough about them. The narrator saw Mr Trimble as a drunk, who’d been wandering the streets in a stoic daze. But this was a lie. Mr Trimble’s lie wasn’t created by him but it altered the way that people perceived him. Just like Amir, they had false personas. That were only shown if someone got close enough to have their stories told. Both characters Amir and Mr Trimble were characters that were viewed as the image they portrayed. Amir was seen as a good little boy, who’d never done wrong and Mr Trimble was a drunk. But this wasn’t true. The lesson these texts taught me were although a person may appear one way. This doesn’t mean this is who they really are. Everyone has a story to be told, and if you want to hear it all you have to do is ask instead of assume.
These 4 texts are linked together through the illusion of living a lie. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby thought that he needed to lie about who he was in order for him to have the girl he wanted. But in the end, he was just a symbol for hope. He lived in the illusion of being someone else, and once that hope was gone so was he. He was faithful to his illusion until the end. In Everything, Everything, Maddy believed that she was sick. Her mother had lied to her, causing her to live her entire life confined to four walls. With the belief that if she broke free she would die. In the end, Maddy chose to live her life to its fullest extent, even if it was only for a day. Maddy lived in the illusion of an invisible illness. In The Kite Runner, Amir believed he had never done anything wrong. That he was perfect, but a “perfect” person wouldn’t lie to those he loves. He wouldn’t use the people that matter. He wouldn’t shy away from standing up for his peer in the eyes of danger. Amir lived in the illusion of being a good person. In The Last Decade, Mr Trimble was misperceived causing people to judge him without any reason or cause. Mr Trimble was a quiet man, who took time to tell you his story. He wasn’t an open book. Mr Trimble didn’t lie about who he was, but how people viewed him was entirely based off of their own lies. Mr Trimble lived in the illusion of misconception. To conclude, I now understand that you should never hide or change who you are for the belief someone will love you for it. You should always test your limits because you never know what could happen. That you should always try to better yourself, and stand up for what you believe in. And lastly that you should never judge someone/something you don’t quite understand. And above all else never lie about what/who you are because in the end the truth always comes out.