Significant Connections

Leisure may come from illusion, but happiness can come only from reality. In today’s society, we often associate the colors yellow and gold with money, wealth, and happiness. Yellow is a color that represents illusion in many ways one of them being happiness and how people make themselves happy with money.  Yellow is also a representation of fake money, and how people want to be golden and the best. We all know that gold is the number one color, it is first place in Olympics, it is the gold medal, it is a gold trophy, gold is always representing number one and wealth. The first text which symbols illusion is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This story has a key symbol, which is the yellow wallpaper that hides a figure in the wall that can only be seen from the light. My second text The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald represents the colors yellow and gold and how they portray they are an illusion of money and wealth. The third text, The Yellow Brick Road by Witi Ihimaera is about a family going on a road trip on the Yellow Brick Road. As we know from the movie The Wizard Of Oz, that the Yellow Brick Road is meant to be a path that leads to good places. My last text, Wealth With Out a Value by an unknown poet and is about wealth and how it can lose its value if you don’t use it for its worth.

The first text is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This short story is about a woman who suffers from nervous depression and is not mentally well. Majority of her time, she sits in an old room which she presumes was once a nursery. As she begins to examine the room more she notices that behind the bar like patterned wallpaper there is a figure of a woman. As her obsession begins to grow more with the woman behind the bars on the wallpaper, she begins to imagine more things like the woman trying to escape, smudging the walls, and walking around the room. In the end, she begins to tear down the wallpaper to let the figure out, only then for her to go crazier and even more mentally unstable. She describes the wallpaper as: “Trepellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.” She is symbolizing that the paper is unusual and an unusually odd color. As we know, yellow is often associated with a color of illusion, therefore, she is hinting that there is something unknown about this wallpaper and as if it is hiding something. Further on through the text, she describes the wallpaper again, but this time she describes it in more detail: “This wallpaper has a kind of subpattern in a different shade… for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then. But in the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so -, I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure” In this quote, she has started to describe the wallpaper and what she sees in thorough detail. The different shades of yellow she sees represent that the illusion is only visible sometimes and the women behind the bars can’t be seen all the time.

 The second text that shows a form of yellow/gold symbolism is The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. This novel is about a man called Gatsby that is revealed as a rich person who has accomplished the American Dream. He is representing this idea through his massive mansion that is full of materialistic items such as the library with ‘uncut’ books and his “big yellow car”. This quote describes the car which is a symbol of his life and the illusion of his wealth. We know he is rich because he uses phrases such as “old sport” which is often used by rich people from ‘old money’. Whereas in reality, he has failed. Gatsby has failed to reinvent his past with Daisy which was his main goal throughout the book. The dream of being with Daisy and being part of the ‘old money’ society seems so close but is actually out of reach. Gatsby’s illusion can also be seen through the uncut books in his library as told by the Owl-eyed Man. “This fella’s a regular Belasco… What realism! Knew when to stop, too—didn’t cut the pages.” In the first quote, the reference to David Belasco describes Gatsby’s staged life. David Belasco was a man that set up scenes with props. This relates to Gatsby because he has been setting up his life ( arranging the props) to make everyone believe that he is a wealthy man that comes from ‘old money’. The second part of the quote where Owl-Eyes talks about the books being uncut describes Gatsby himself and his materialistic life. His uncut books represent that a lot of what he presents to the world is a facade.  He has built up this image of himself that is inconsistent with the reality and facts of his life. These unopened books represent Gatsby himself: mysterious, undeveloped, closed up and unopened. This text can be related to  The Yellow Wallpaper because Gatsby in a way is also trapped behind the bars just like the woman. He is so caught up in this illusion of him being rich, wealthy and from old money that he has become the figure. Not real but an illusion to others around him just like the real woman is seeing the figure ‘life’ as an illusion.

 

The Yellow Brick Road By Witi Ihimaera is a short story about a family that has to move to Wellington since their Dad got a job there. The city that Wellington is described as is Emerald city which we know from the movie The Wizard of Oz. As we know from the film, the Emerald City is meant to be a place where all dreams come to life and become a reality. To get to this city they travel down a road which is referred to as the Yellow Brick Road. On the way to the city, the young boy starts to sing a rhyme which goes like: “Follow the yellow brick road, Follow follow, follow, follow…” This rhyme describes what our society would normally say, things such as follow your own path, keep trying, just keep going and so on. By singing this rhyme it would eliminate all doubt from the parent’s mind because the boy is saying just keep going, keep following the Yellow Brick Road and it will lead to good places such as ‘Emerald City’. In this story the “Road, road, yellow brick road, yellow with the headlights sweeping across it.” is represented as a path to wealth and money. Because the main character’s family is traveling down a road which they think is going to bring them a better happier life whereas, in reality, everything turns out not as great as what they thought it would be. In a way, this can be related to Nick because he is just like the family. At the beginning of the novel Gatsby, Nick moves to East Egg of New York City to pursue a better life where he can hopefully earn more money and become part of the new money society. Nick is also traveling down this yellow path to try and arrive at a better place. But in the end, he ends up having a very chaotic summer and becomes an alcoholic. He does not actually move forward in life, instead, he moves back and comes to realize that New York which is like the Emerald City is not actually as great as what it seems. It is an illusion to attract people to these big places like New York and Wellington. 

The last text Wealth Without a Value by an unknown poet is a short story about a man who finds gold and treasures it by hiding it away from his house in a hole which is covered up by a rag. He checks that his golden block is still there every day by walking to the secret spot daily at the same time until someone notices him and discovers the gold.The stranger then picked up a large stone and threw it into the hole and told him: “cover up that stone. It’s worth just as much to you as the treasure you lost!” What the stranger is trying to say him, is that there is no point in cherishing the gold because it does not have any value lying in a hole. Its value becomes the same as the rock that stranger threw into the hole.The man then reveals that he is so consumed with treasuring his gold that he has “never touched the gold. I couldn’t think of spending any of it.” This means that he has wealth but with no value, like the title of the story suggests. The gold is an allusion to him thinking that he is very wealthy and rich whereas he is not because he does not spend it and is more focused on keeping the gold.This story is representing the idea of you can be wealthy and have something that has value, but by hiding it and treasuring it, it loses its value. This text can be related to the Yellow Brick Road because the family is driving down this yellow path to Wellington which is like the Emerald City, this is the same as the man walking to the hole where his gold is hidden. Both of the characters from both of the stories are excited to see their wealth and have lots of it. Whereas when they arrive, for the family the city is not as amazing as they thought it would be and it did not make them into wealthy people. The same is for the man, he got to the hole saw his gold then someone told him that his gold actually has no value, his gold would have the same value as a stone lying in the same hole. Therefore in both stories, they expected the value of gold but actually got the same. A gray stone. Gold is the representation of illusion for both stories since it seems to be valuable from a distance but when looked at from a closer view, in reality, it’s not as valuable or worth cherishing.

In conclusion, the theme of gold and wealth has taught me that we should all try and be honest, and not get caught up in faking our lives in order to become someone that we want to be but are not. If you want something you have to work hard to get it there is no easy way, and even then you may not reach your goals but that does not mean you have to live a lie. More importantly, we should all value our health and the well-being of others, we should treasure what has value to us, but not to the point where we become so obsessed with it and cant use it. I think that the text The Great Gatsby has taught me the most since it is a novel that focuses on many things such as friends, lifestyle, money society and separation. Leisure may come from illusion, but happiness can come only from reality. All four texts can be related to one another because the colors yellow and gold make each of the characters perceive a better view of themselves, their destination, and their wealth. Whereas when that yellow/ gold colored mask is uncovered, what is hidden beneath is the actual truth which they have been trying to cover up by using these two colors as an illusion. To be seen as something it really is not.

 

The illusion of FooD Speech….

Imagine if more than 60% of the food you consume daily is processed, or has been factory farmed. Well… this is the reality for most of us. You may not know but a lot of the food we consume is really bad for us and is slowly killing our bodies. The majority of us want to eat healthy food that fuels our bodies in a positive way, yet we still have these cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. These foods all get advertised to look healthy and inviting, to cover up the fact that they are filled with horrible chemicals, artificial flavourings, sugars, and fats. But it is even worse what is put into or on these food to make them more appealing to us.

 

Advertising is a huge factor for popular food companies such as Macdonald’s, Pizza hut, Subway and many other businesses in the food industry. Companies such as these tend to advertise their product on television, billboards, social media and magazines. They use these platforms to target their audiences, such as teenagers and younger kids. The food industries make it their main goal to produce food which contains a good balance of sugar, salt, and fat that will leave us wanting more. This is because food with the right balance of these three things:  fat, sugar, and salt, tend to be the most ‘delicious’ and addicting.It is all an illusion, just like the advertisements you see on television. Have you ever looked at an ad on tv and thought… “that looks so good?” Well did you know that vast groups of editors, photographers, chefs, and designers spend hours! making just one burger look perfect. They create an illusion for their product to be seen as delicious, fast, fresh and healthy, whereas in reality, the burger you buy does not look the same. Most companies would not advertise food that gets served to you. Because imagine if you saw an advertisement with the food you actually get served… Would you still buy that ‘fresh’, ‘delicious’,’healthy’ burger? Probably not!

 

The second point of my speech is why we crave food and what fuels these cravings. We want food such as chocolate, chips, pizza, doughnuts, fizzy drinks and so on because they have sooo many bad chemicals and artificial flavours in them. But why do we desire these foods so much? It is because, for most of us, we have been eating processed food all of our lives, therefore it makes it hard to stop eating sugary foods because our bodies and brains have gotten so used it. This can be backed up by science, according to studies: when you put food high in salt, sugar or fat into your mouth, your taste buds send a signal to the lower part of your brain, which stimulates neurons or endorphins that perceive a rewarding experience. This means that because our brains like the endorsements that get released whilst eating these foods, our brain wants more sugar, salt, and fat. We want to go back for more, once you take a bite of a cookie, you want to keep eating it.

 

 

Ever wondered what’s in your food? or what it actually means by ‘natural flavourings, ‘natural colourings’, ‘sugar-free’, or ‘fat-free’? They all mean soo much more than what it seems and as it goes for your food, well the majority of the food you consume is probably chemicals and antioxidants. In order to protect themselves and their company, the big manufacturing companies have kept a low profile for the past decade, hiding behind the faith of commercial confidentiality, claiming they can’t reveal their recipes because of competition. Anything that comes in a box, tin, bag, carton or bottle has to be labeled with a list of its ingredients. But many of the additives and ingredients that once jumped out as fake or manufactured have slowly disappeared. In some cases it means that the contents of the product have improved, but not for the majority of the labeled food. Over the past few years, the food industry has invested in a new idea called: “clean label’, the purpose of this is to remove the most glaring industrial ingredients and additives, only then to replace them with substitutes that sound more benign and natural. The same chemicals and additives are still in your food, apart from they are just being labeled differently to sound more friendly and eatable. When the companies label their product with ‘natural flavourings’ there is actually a very little difference between natural and artificial flavourings. They are both made using the same physical, and enzymatic,  processes. This is the same for ‘Natural colourings’ since their only difference is that ‘natural colourings’ start with pigments that occur in nature.But then both colourings are made using the same highly chemical industrial processes, including extraction using harsh solvents. 

 

I hope this has made you realise just how little we really know about the food that sits on our supermarket shelves, in boxes, cartons and bottles – food that has had something done to it to make it more convenient, ready to eat, and last longer for better sales. The advertisements often seen on television are fake because they portray their real image of the food they serve to their customers, which could be you. In the food industry, the majority of companies try to get the perfect balance of fat, sugar, and salt when making their product since these three things can be addicting. More importantly, we all need to try to be more aware of what the labeling says on our product and what is really in it because some of the chemicals and antioxidants that are put in our food can be deadly and can even cause things such as cancer and diabetes.Just think, before you take a bite of that delicious looking piece of food, is it worth feeding yourself poison?

The illusion of FoooooD

  • Illusion of “eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruit”
  • What is put into our food : “fat-free” “sugar-free” – means more other bad chemicals and more preserved products
  • “Vegetables are good ” – not unless they are organic or home-grown, because the chemicals used to grow supermarket vegetables are BAD!!!
  • The illusion of how food is advertised, “Healthy” “dietitian, doctor  approved”, Or how food looks ‘fresh’  on adverts but in reality it doesn’t get served to you the same
  • The illusion of food advertisement, for example mashed potatoes are used to advertise ice cream….
  • What really happens in the meat industry and factory farming….. “organic”

Illusion of eating disorders…

  • How the media influences body image and eating disorders such as anorexia.
  •  How people try to hide their eating disorders by saying that they are “ok”
  • The illusion of more people have an eating disorder than you know, it is more common than the society may think.

What eating disorders are…..

Describe what each of the ‘common’ disorders are…

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look their own images”

“You don’t have to look like you have an eating disorder to have one”

“Not everyone wiht an eating disorder: is skinny, goes to hospital, gets diagnosed, is anorexic, goes to therapy, exercises, makes them selves sick, or doesn’t eat.”                                                   

Relating allusion with ‘illusion’

Fitzgerald uses many allusions throughout the novel. Select one of these allusions and explain the connection between it and the book. Bonus: how can you link it to our theme of “illusion”.

The Owl-Eyed man alludes to Gatsby being like David Belasco. David Belasco was an actor, play writer and producer. On most of his sets he used props to make the scene look realistic. This is similar to Gatsby because he puts so much furniture and decorations into his mansion for his great parties. Hoping that one day Daisy will wonder in. He rehearses lines and phrases such as ‘old sport’ to create an illusion of himself being a wealthy man from ‘old money’. This reference to Belasco is said by Owl-Eyes in chapter 7 when Nick attends one of Gatsby’s parties and meets the Owl-Eyed man. After he recognises that the books are real he goes son to say: “See!” he cried triumphantly. “It’s a bona-fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too—didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?”  Through this quote we get an insight to what people in the 1920’s were like, they would go buy books to fill up the shelves but wouldn’t go to great lengths to cut the books. This encounter with the Owl-Eyed man is another piece which breaks off Gatsby’s illusion.

Essay

In this novel, one of the main characters, Nick, presents himself as a non judgmental person. However, throughout the book we get to understand that his judgments are presented through his narrative point of view. At the beginning of the book, one of the first things that Nick (narrator) tells us, is some advice that his father told him in his ” younger more vulnerable years”. Nick’s father said that whenever he felt like judging someone he should “remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” His father is basically saying not to judge a book by its cover. Fitzgerald put this quote in as one of the first because he wants it to be misjudged. The entire novel is based on judgment, and miss judgment which many readers do not realise. The fist quote where Nick says in his younger “more vulnerable years” he is suggesting that he used to be very vulnerable and he still is, just not as vulnerable as he once was. The advice that his father gave him is a quote which lays down the foundation for Nick’s character and personality.Nick’s father also expresses that Nick was given all of these opportunities and chances but he never flaunts them , he takes them for granted.