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Amanda Chritz
Mr. Willett
English 11A
25 November 2014
Dreams, Truth, and Reality
Throughout history, dreams were considered something sacred, and were something that
contained a direct connection with prophecies. With the advancement of modern science, it is
known how a dream will form, but to this day, the unconscious meanings behind those dreams
are still a mystery. Another related psychological mystery is the phenomenon known as lucid
dreaming, which is the ability to recognize a dream is occurring, and control the events that
transpire within the dream. For Jay Gatsby, in The Great Gatsby, his superficially bizarre actions
are the result of something that holds high similarities to lucid dreaming. Simply put, the actions
of Jay Gatsby are due to him living in a dreamlike false sense of reality.
When F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby in 1925, he raised the bar for
generations of aspiring authors. A main reason for this is in the way The Great Gatsby was
written. The story is told from the first-person point of view of Nick Carraway, neighbor of Jay
Gatsby, but interestingly enough, Nick is not the center of the plot. This is called a peripheral
narrator, and it is most commonly used to keep a secret about the main character from the reader,
or used if the main character is likely to die at some point during the story (Maguire). This is an
incredibly important aspect of The Great Gatsby in a literary sense, because the peripheral
narrator is essentially invisible to the reader, and acts as a silently bias voice of reason.
Readers and writers alike have often wondered why Fitzgerald would choose this form of
narration, compared to the less bias third-person perspective, but the general thought was that it

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allowed Fitzgerald the ability to direct the reader in a specific direction that assisted the plot.
Since Jay Gatsby is the mystery that drives the story, and it is not told from his own perspective,
the reader is forced to trust the narrator. With this, Fitzgerald has almost unlimited power to
influence the reader in whatever way he pleases.
This is periodically displayed in The Great Gatsby when Nick, or as stated, Fitzgerald,
makes seemingly invisible commentary on the actions of Gatsby. These actions are highlighted
with curiosity and wonder, but also with an honest critique at the observation of Nick. Among
Nicks first conversation with Gatsby, he notes He was never quite still; there was always a
tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand (47). Within that same
conversation, Nick also detects that as Gatsby spoke, He hurried the phrase educated at
Oxford or swallowed it, or choked on it, as though it had bothered him before(Fitzgerald, 48).
Both of these occasions display certain holes in Gatsby, as well as showing the alternate state of
reality that he exists in. Medically speaking, the term for this way of thinking is called
Derealization, and it precisely reflects Nicks perceptions of Gatsbys actions.
Derealization, as commonly described by Mayo Clinic Staff, is; the feeling of being
alienated or unfamiliar with your surroundings, as if you are living within a movie, or a
distortion in the perception of time, where recent events feel like the distant past (Derealization
Disorder). In The Great Gatsby, this notion is overwhelmingly present. In one case of it, on the
day that Daisy was invited over to Nicks home to unknowingly meet Gatsby, Nick indicates that
Gatsby, ...looked out the window at it, but, judging from his expression, I dont believe he saw a
thing (63). However, the best example of this lack of reality was briefly mentioned after Daisy
introduced her daughter to Nick and Gatsby, where Nick narrates saying, Afterward he kept

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looking at the child with surprise. I dont think he had ever really believed in its existence
before (89).
Gordon Korman wrote Jake, Reinvented in 2003, exactly 78 years after Fitzgerald wrote
The Great Gatsby. The concept that Korman followed was solely applying his own perspective
of Fitzgeralds version, and translating it into modern day scenarios. This means that the actions
and remarks of the representative characters in Jake, Reinvented are the result of what Korman
took from as the overall message in the original story. Although there are a few key plot
differences between the two novels, the narrative format is identical. In Jake, Reinvented, the
observations made by the first person narrator, Rick, are displaying the same concepts as Nick in
The Great Gatsby. As the narrator, Rick notices something very vital about Jake as the plot of the
story advances, Maybe it was the light, but for a second it looked as if tanned, confident Jake
Garrett went white to the ears (Korman, 40).
As Kormans Jake, Reinvented comes to its conclusion, the main interest of the story,
Jake, becomes blatantly incapable of seeing the reality of his situation. Jake emerges from the
courtroom at the end of the novel, and Rick exclaims his excitement, only to be confronted with
questions asking about Didi. Soon after, Jake informs Rick that the lawyers said he must leave
town, but Rick feels like it is in the best interest for Jake, and says internally, Maybe from a
distance, hed be able to see that Didi wasnt worth his mindless devotion (Korman, 205). This
mindless devotion represents the false sense of reality that persists within both novels, and is
fully solidified as Jake hands Rick an index card with contact information. Rick assures Jake that
they will keep in touch, and Jake promptly responds with, Oh, right. Yeah, copy the number
down for yourself before you give it to Didi (205).

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During the midst of the events in The Great Gatsby, the readers witness the way that Nick
notices how Gatsbys actions lack subtlety. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions
in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real,
was observed by Nick as he witnessed the interactions between Daisy and Gatsby (Fitzgerald,
70). At this point in the novel, Nick lacks judgmental remarks about the adultery that is
occurring, but he does not fail to notice the dazed way Gatsby acts when it appears that nobody
is watching.

The charisma that Jay Gatsby presents and his name in itself were both created under a
false truth. Nick learns that the delusions of Mr. Gatsbys life have been slowly brewing since his
birth, as he becomes aware that Gatsby was born as James Gatz to a poor family in North Dakota
(Fitzgerald, 74). The consistent theme in both a realistic, and practical sense, is that a false sense
of reality, the kind of delusional truths, creates the inability to accept and acknowledge change.
This fact, no matter how outwardly small, can create situations that are fatal, both emotionally
and physically.

Works Cited
"Derealization Disorder." Symptoms. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research,
n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Web.
Korman, Gordon. Jake, Reinvented. New York: Hyperion, 2003. Print.

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Maguire, KC. "Peripheral Narrators: Experimenting with the Narrative Perspective." Luna
Station Quarterly. Luna Station Quarterly, 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Great Gatsby Narrator Point of View."Shmoop.com. Shmoop
University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.