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The Truth about Lies Summary Writing

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The Truth about Lies

By Grace Hartley

The Great Gatsby a book of deception, and Brooklyn a film of revelation, have one thing in common: Lies. These two stories portray how lies are easier to express than truth. Lies are used to protect people, obtain power, and prove something to oneself. Literature explores the human condition in these two stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) & John Crowley (Brooklyn). The Human Condition is depicted in many ways. This ‘condition’ is the characteristic of the universal experience of being human. These characteristics are not just one emotion or one experience. They are anything and everything we go through, regardless of what sets us apart. We all grow up, fall in love, make mistakes, and die.

Brooklyn tells a story of an immigrant from Ireland that moves to America seeking freedom and opportunity. Rose, the main character’s (Eilis) sister, lies about being terminally ill to give Eilis a better life without obligation, for example, looking after her mother. In one of Rose’s letters, she states

“Oh, Eilis, you know I’m by your side, even when I’m not.”


When Rose confronts that she will soon die, John Crowley makes this scene very dark and shows a shadow surrounding Rose as she weeps a tear, mimicking her illness (go to source 1).



Source 1


The camera zooms in to give the aura that something is about to manifest and a lie is about to be revealed. Rose finds it easier to keep her illness to herself than tell anyone because she does not wish to make the people she loves sad and ruin their last moments with her.

F. Scott Fitzgerald has a similar view of how lies wear used for protection because it is easier not to confront the truth. Tom and Myrtle have an affair and lie to their spouses throughout the novel. Both Daisy and George most likely knew their spouses were having an affair together and was confirmed in chapter 7 when everything unravelled.

“There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind. as we drove away, Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic.”

-Nick Carraway (Page 133)

Fitzgerald used personification when mentioning “hot whips of panic”. It can also be a metaphor for how Tom cheated on his wife and is now being punished for it. Because of marriage, they are supposed to be loyal to that person until death. But Tom again lied his way out of telling the truth to cover up his sinful act. So why did he lie? Tom was deceitful to Daisy to protect his ego. He valued his old money marriage with daisy so much that he lied to himself and others to protect his power.

John Crowley uses the power of lies to intimidate characters in place of threats. This is shown when Eilis is confronted by Miss Kelly about her marriage to Tony. Eilis reacts by confronting Miss Kelly.

“What were you planning to do, Miss Kelly? Keep me away from Jim? Stop me from going back to America? Perhaps you didn’t even know. Perhaps it was enough for you to know that you could ruin me.”


She answers Ms Kelly’s threat with questions at first. She questions what Ms Kelly’s motive was, then asks if it was to keep her away from Jim or America. John Cowley used these questions to demonstrate humility toward Ms Kelly and give the audience a thrill factor. Since no one knew that Eilis was married and Ms Kelly knew the truth, revealing it could tear down her relationship with Jim and her mother. Eilis stated, “for you to know that you could ruin me”, confirming the threat had given Ms Kelly power over Eilis. She found it easier to lie about her marriage to Tony because of the small-town gossip that would rage if they had known. This gossip would most likely twist the truth into a web of lies and, in turn, would have had power over her image. So, Eilis lied because it was easier, but also, by lying, it gave power to Miss Kelly.

The Great Gatsby has a similar scenario of how easy it is to lie to gain power. Fitzgerald gave Gatsby a big dynamic of lies; the most iconic one was how he gained his wealth (power). Gatsby initially said his money was gained from his family in the Midwest, but in reality, he gained it through selling illegal alcohol and fake shares. So, Gatsby lies about his wealth because he wants to be with Daisy and be respected in society.

“…and I knew why Jordan Baker believed he was lying. He hurried the phrase “educated at Oxford” or swallowed it or choked on it….”

-Nick (Page 65)

Within the book, many people spread rumours about Gatsby and how he got his money. He doesn’t confront them because that would result in the truth of his dirty money being revealed and people losing respect for him. If he loses his power, Gatsby believes that he also loses Daisy. So, Gatsby lies about his wealth because it is the only option he understands.

Nearing the end of Brooklyn, Eilis wishes to prove to herself that she could be happy in Enniscorthy with her family but is deceiving herself to do so. John Crowley focuses on a scene where Eilis has received a letter from Tony and is abandoning it in the draw (go to source 2). There is no background music playing as she does this so that the audience pays close attention to the movie and makes the scene feel important.

Source 2

This enhances the predicament at stake, she lies to herself to prove something. Because the thought of home, family and a new opportunity blinds the original reason, she left Ireland. So, hiding the letters from tony is also a metaphor for her hiding the truth from herself. Eilis finds this easier because if she tells herself the truth, it only proves that her life in Enniscorthy and with her family was too good to be true.

Daisy also lies to herself in The Great Gatsby. Throughout the novel, Daisy indulges Gatsby with the past and gives him hope that she may run away with him. Over the summer, she goes to Gatsby’s in secret and plays with Gatsby’s emotions. On the last day of summer, all the main characters come together, and once Tom leaves the room where everyone has gathered, daisy caresses Gatsby and gives him a quick kiss. When confronted about her behaviour, she exclaims.



“I don’t care!”

-Daisy Page (133)

When Gatsby hears Daisy say those words, she is ready to run away with him and leave everything behind. But for Daisy, it was the “in the moment” type of lie supported later in the novel when daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby for his safety net over love. Even when Gatsby wishes for Daisy to admit she never loved Tom, she confesses that she loves her husband. This moment in the novel condemns Gatsby’s fate to be killed for Daisy’s murder. Daisy leads Gatsby on to prove to herself that she is not helpless because it is easier to lie than confront the fact that her husband is cheating on her.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Crowley convey characters that find it easier to deceive the people around them than tell the truth. To comprehend the rift this creates between the characters, quotes and scenes from both stories show how devastating the outcomes can result. Overall, these two stories conveyed how lies were easier to express, and as humans, our nature cannot avoid one or the other we always have our lies and truths.

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  • Posted on : November 14th, 2022
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