The Empowerment of Dreams and Illusions in Midnight in Paris and The Great Gatsby

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What are these tales we tell ourselves, the powerful role of dreams and illusions, how can these create the features and roles of our past societies? Through nostalgia and golden age thinking, an individual can often get preoccupied by the alluring nature of dreams, creating a false sense of reality and perception of the past.” Throughout this last term, I have studied in depth the works of Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, and Woody Allens Film, ‘Midnight in Paris’. In this speech, I will explore the empowering roles of dreams and illusions of both Allan and Fitzgerald’s works and the exploration of different themes manifested in each text. Throughout both The Great Gatsby and ‘Midnight in Paris’, I have been profoundly inspired by the concept of nostalgia and golden age thinking and the way the authors incorporated this into their works.

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The Great Gatsby, a grand book also known as, “America’s supreme novel”, explores a period of deteriorating moral and social values, displayed through scepticism, materialism, immortality, nostalgia and the golden age presented through these works of the authors. jazz age and during the roaring 1920’s, are wonderous, which Fitzgerald portrays in the great Gatsby in a desperate attempt to win over Daisy. The golden age is presented in the novel as a longing for the past, making Daisy a key character throughout the novel, as well as the green light, a constant reminder of daisy’s distance creating a false sense of reality and perception of the past in which Gatsby hopes for.

Fitzgerald creates the character; Gatsby, as a man set up through his desire to repeat the past and set out to recall his unconditional love for Daisy. It is the underlying theme of all Gatsby’s work. This dream that Gatsby has is so unachievable, and can be seen in the novel in the form of a green light, a symbolic attribute which derides Gatsby with its extent. This green light is Gatsby’s vision of the past and a window into his soul and aspiration to recall his love for Daisy. The topic nostalgia and dreams, shows Gatsby longing for the past and only by regaining this past will he be able to fill the void of emptiness he endures for his love for daisy and pursues to get her back. Throughout the novel, we can see Gatsby slowly weakening by his yearning for Daisy, however it is also his yearning which makes him a memorable character. The dreams and illusions constructed in our own lives are demonstrated through the novel fundamentally in Gatsby. Gatsby’s dreams are remarkable but are Distorted into a sharp sense of what is real and how. Gatsby’s reality is constantly signified through the past although the past is out of touch. Nick states to Gatsby “You can’t repeat the past old sport” our main notions standing with Nick as an individual cannot relive the past, this is showing Gatsby caught up in his unrealistic dreams, and shows the reality Gatsby is aware of, but chooses to ignore. Throughout the novel Fitzgerald also portrays Daisy as not an ideal woman never able to love Gatsby the way she once did showing the nostalgia and golden age thinking and the alluring sense of dreams through the false sense of reality. Midnight in Paris, A film directed by Woody Allan, also explores the golden age and nostalgic past. The main protagonist, Gil explores the history of Paris during the 1920’s, helping him step back into time and explore his reminiscing of the past. Gil’s nostalgia is very visually shown in Allans film…... (add technuiques) Nostalgia can be seen in a very fantasised sense especially for Gil wanting to step back in time to believing he was born in the wrong era.

The main scene exploring nostalgia and golden age thinking through Midnight in Paris can be found towards the end of the film, with Gil realising that there is no golden age, and that. the future is not as bad as it seems. As Gil begins to fall in love with Adriana, he tries to figure out a way where they can belong together. After they travel to Belle Époque, Adriana falls madly in love with this time period just as Gil is in love with going back into the past, Adriana demands she wants to stay in Belle Époque contrary to Gil’s wishes to go back to the present. This final climax in the film displays the themes of nostalgia and the golden age being trapped in the time period. Gil spends so much time reliving his dreams of the past, but finally he realises he must go back and face the present and reality. The nostalgia and Golden age thinking helping to create dreams and realities. Throughout the film both Adriana and Gill fight about what is seen as the golden age this is a major moment between the characters; Adriana believing her past was the golden age, and Gil realising there will never be a golden age because he had realised how he was only trying to escape his present as “life becomes unsatisfying” and the illusions and dreams he has created that then he would be happy with the past. “I am trying to escape my present the same way you are trying to escape yours”. This quote states…. (Film techniques)

Through both the texts, both characters Gatsby and Gil create nostalgia through their alluring nature of dreams, creating a false sense of reality and illusions through the golden age era. Gatsby being obsessed with the idea of Daisy, creating a false sense of reality and perception of the past. This can be seen through the green light at the end of the dock. Just like Gatsby Gill also has a reassurance for the past believing that the former era’s such as the 1920’s being better than the modern present he lives in. Both Gatsby and Gill explore the same desire of the past. although Gil realises that there will never be a golden age. Gatsby being preoccupied by daisy, the green light bringing this across and Gill becoming distracted by the past and Adriana showing both charecters in both texts the state of nostalgia and golden age thinking through dreams and illusions creating a false reality and perception of the past.

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The Empowerment of Dreams and Illusions in Midnight in Paris and The Great Gatsby. (2020, December 14). WritingBros. Retrieved May 24, 2024, from
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