Opinion Piece, 'We don't truly know anybody' (Linking to 'The Great Gatsby')

We don’t truly know anybody - it is rampant throughout society, how we can create an identity extremely different to who we truly are. What is clear is that Scott F. Fitzgerald’s magnus opium novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ is how the protagonist James Gatz, creates a persona of himself. He portrays himself as someone who belongs to the old aristocracy when if the truth had been told, he grew up being the son of poor farmers. This fake identity highlights this appearance vs reality. Fundamentally, this idea of appearance vs reality is not only seen through Gatz but also through the girl of his dreams - Daisy Buchanan. Often, people believe they truly know each other. Yet, I think the question to be asked is - do we know them that well? Are they who they say they seem to be?..and the truth is we will never know.

In Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’, James Gatz creates his new persona made up of unabridged deceitful statements. Although other characters begin realizing something strange and suspicious about Gatz…” He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a handle…”. This quote simply means he was restless, he had built up a life full of lies. Wrongdoings were easy to unpack. This made-up life Gatsby created for himself, was to fit within the upper class in society, does this mean he was so careless about people, emotions and consequences? Gatz did care about Daisy, and Daisy only, therefore to win her back he went to an extreme so that he could become extremely wealthy and therefore Daisy would love him back…but I can be certain that Gatz never thought about the consequences that would come along with what he had done. A thought about the consequences didn’t cross his mind once, that once this built-up lie was discovered, he would go to jail. This simply highlights how far people are willing to go, to attain something or someone they desire. To reach his economic status, yet make his way up through sin. Gatz was poor and had made up a whole identity of someone who he wasn’t, therefore he was a fraud. His money was all made through bootlegging, side-street drug stores as well as selling illegal alcohol. While being poor, he fell in love with a wealthy girl (Daisy). Unbelievable. In his mind, he thought he had to put on the persona of this wealthy gentleman… for her to like him back. What are we going to value in a person? Their wealth or who they are as a person?

An anonymous person once said “Inside of every person you know, there is a person you don’t know”, I can say that we like to pretend this is not true. We don’t want to admit that we don’t truly know who raised us, those who we love and even those whose shoulders we’ve cried on. But it’s valid. This doesn’t mean that the thought of not trusting people evolves from this individualistic thought. It doesn’t mean other people are evil - it is just the fact that you, me and everyone else can pick and choose the persona they want to invigorate and show for themselves. This persona we want others to depict from it. The fact that we always have this desire of wanting to impress others, because if others aren’t impressed then what are they going to think of us? When we want to impress someone, we always put our best foot forward. Yes. This does not mean we always act this same way… we are almost creating multiple “faces” within our identity. This even happens very often on social media. We tend to make up this image in our heads of a certain person after seeing a picture they’ve shared, but once we see them in real life, they all of a sudden look completely different from what we had pictured them. Unrecognizable. Why does this happen? Why do people photoshop and edit their photos? Unrealistic. This doesn’t only occur within ordinary people, we also see this happening in advertisements, politics, celebrities and even artificial intelligence.

Research from ‘The National Library of Medicine’ states that often the reason why people edit their photos is to make themselves look better… but better in what way? I thought that being our way was being our best true selves. Because not being our way doesn’t evolve from us…it is fake. It’s not us. All this editing and unrealistic looks on social media have had a great impact on mental health. Because of this technological development, users tend to spend more time online. Therefore they begin comparing themselves to others, blurring lines of reality - all this happening results in poor mental health, eating disorders and often body dysmorphia too. But who makes these unrealistic beauty standards? These standards make people feel like they don’t belong. Or often make us feel like outsiders.

Let’s face it, currently, society seems to expect everything to be so perfect, they are obsessed with perfection and who one can be. I can guarantee that If you ask the mega-rich, they will probably say they aren’t happy with their life right now - although having everything they desire. This is significant to society’s desire to impress others…while valuing people through money.