Aristotle once said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” People’s lives might seem more or less meaningful based on how they live. However, even the best meaningful life will one day end and be forgotten. Jean-Paul Sartre argued that moments people realize they are not immortal, they start living an illusion life. People change who they are because of facing some situations that overwhelm their lives. A Streetcar Named Desire and The Great Gatsby mainly focus on the American dream and pursuing goals themes. In this case, Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby reveals how illusion might negatively affect people’s life disorder, increase women’s freedom, and social changes.
Both Tennessee Williams and Scott Fitzgerald use illusion and fantasy to reveal the struggles characters undergo by deceiving themselves of reality. For instance, Gatsby refuses to accept that he could not live without Daisy because he is poor (Fitzgerald 6#115). Therefore, he develops a life disorder whereby he spends his life creating wealth to earn Daisy’s love. The dangers of this allusion are that it disorganizes an individual’s life, and in the end, they do not achieve what they desire. Similarly, illusion causes life disorder to Blanche’s husband, who takes away his life (William 6#109). He was struggling with his sexuality, and instead of accepting who he was, he committed suicide. He illusioned this act as going against his society’s standards.
Moreover, the dangers of illusion might negatively influence women’s freedom. Blanche utilizes her imaginations primarily as a defense mechanism whereby she creates her own world where anything can happen. Besides, her alcohol addiction is a key factor to an illusioned life. She cannot erase her past and thus often bathing, revealing her desire to ignore the truth, saying, “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” (William 9#135). She desired to look younger and innocent, whereby she had the freedom to marry and have sex with anyone. In comparison, Daisy has the freedom to choose whom she wants to marry by utilizing her beauty to her advantage. Her illusion is that women can only be successful after marrying a wealthy man (Fitzgerald 8#160). However, this was dangerous because she did not enjoy the marriage with Tom.
In addition, Williams portrays social changes, particularly with conflicts between Blanch and Stanley. Illusionary, Blanch wants people to see her as pure and angelic though she has aged whereby Stanley tells her that she looked “like you raided some stylish shops in Paris” (William 2#40) In the past, people cared less about their dress codes, whereby the urge to look good symbolized the rise of New America. On the other hand, Fitzgerald reveals the dangers of illusion by portraying how women preferred an upper-class lifestyle. Women thought that marrying wealthy people was connected to their prosperity. The author presents this period as an age of dramatic social changes, “The Roaring Twenties,” which individuals did not experience before.
In conclusion, the danger of living an illusion and fantasy life is that it might cause life disorders. In this case, people no longer think as supposed and might do things to please others and hurt themselves in the end like Gatsby. Again, too much freedom for women might negatively impact society, especially when they fail to accept realities. Social changes were also present in both readings, revealing the rise of the New World, where people did as they desired. Nonetheless, both authors emphasized an individual’s morals and ethical conditions that should not change no matter what happens. If people change these morals, they live a fantasy life that later affects their success.
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby (1925). na, 1991.
Williams, Tennessee. “A Streetcar Named Desire. 1947.” New York: New Directions (2004).