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Reality and Illusion in Richard Bach’s Illusions Essay

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Questioning Reality in Richard Bach’s Illusions


The message of Richard Bach’s Illusions is based on the concept that the things we interpret in the world as reality are actually illusions. This is made evident to one of the main characters, Richard, through his interactions with his newly found friend, Donald Shimoda. Donald Shimoda is a “messiah”, and he has gifts that he uses to help mankind. A quote that Richard reads is “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t” (121). During the entire story, Don proves this quote to be true. Donald works to share his gifts and carry out his mission on earth.

Richard and Don are barnstormers. They live their lives flying from town to town, landing in farm fields, and giving flights to local people for three dollars. Richard meets Don when Richard sees Donald’s plane parked in a field as he is passing by the nearby town. Richard is very curious about this plane because it is extremely unusual to encounter other barnstormers. He also feels lonely at times, and he wants to see if the other barnstormer can keep him company.

When Richard lands his airplane, he meets Don. He talks with Don for several moments and, despite noticing some unusual quirks about Don, does not think that Don is too out-of the ordinary. Then he notices that Don’s plane is immaculate. It does not have any dirt or oil or any other evidence that it has been flown before. When Richard asks Don about this, Don tells him that there are things that Richard does not know. Later in the story, however, Richard learns more about Don and why he seems to be mysterious.

Richard has a dream that reveals to him why Donald seems so mysterious. He sees a man a...


... middle of paper ...


...ir problems or uncertainties. When people realize that they are capable of knowing the truth, they are able to overcome the illusions and to help others break their own boundaries.

Donald Shimoda is aware of his mission on earth. He knows that he has the power to help all of mankind, and he works to help any person who he encounters who is in need. He works hard to do so throughout his entire life and until his death. When Donald dies, his work on earth really is complete. He teaches Richard to look past illusions and to see the reality behind them. Richard comes to realize that he too can perform miracles. In learning and sharing the gifts that Donald offered to the world, Richard is able to help mankind. Donald does finish his mission when he dies. However, his friend Richard has the ability to carry out the same mission and to help others as Donald did.


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