Ghost Writer Essay

Submitted By marcpp
Words: 797
Pages: 4

Marc Paul
Ms. Ripel
Literature of Philosophy
May 18, 2015
Everything You Can Imagine Is Real

Everybody has his/her fantasies of becoming famous, having a loving partner, or meeting his/her role model. In The Ghost Writer by Phillip Roth, the main character, Nathan Dedalus has many fantasies. Some of his most intriguing ones are about his mentor Lonoff, his dream spouse Anne Frank, and his ex-girlfriend Betsy. In this novel, Nathan creates these fantasies in order to feel better about the realities of his own life. In the beginning of the novel, Nathan fantasizes about the ideal writers life through Lonoff to escape of the deficiencies of his own writings. He wants to be “nothing less than E. I. Lonoff’s spiritual son” (Roth Ghost Writer 9). Once Nathan talks to Lonoff, Lonoff tells Nathan:
I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. (Roth Ghost Writer 17-18)
Nathan thinks Lonoff is a perfect human being and has a flawless life, but Lonoff believes he does not share this view. In Nathan’s view, Lonoff is one of the best and most inspirational writers in the world. After Lonoff tells Nathan that he “turns sentences around.” He continues to fantasize about Lonoff’s work to keep Lonoff as his idol, which makes Lonoff untouchable.

His next fantasy is about Betsy, his ex-girlfriend, because it is the only way he can accept the truth of his insecurities. He tells the Lonoff family that she dies, but, in reality, she dumps him. Nathan says:
I wound up in wonder at the idiot I had been to relinquish her love. Describing her in such sterling qualities, I had, in fact, brought myself nearly to the point of grief, as though instead of wailing with pain and telling me to leave and never come back, the unhappy dancer had died in my arms on our wedding day. (Roth Ghost Writer 53)
The story that Nathan makes up is not true, and Nathan knows that. It makes him and the Lonoff family feel sorrow for Betsy, which takes pressure off of Nathan. The story also makes Nathan miss Betsy, instead of him forgetting about her. After this, Nathan breaks his fantasy and realizes what actually happened. Their break-up is not life threatening, and this lie makes him feel guilty, but the story allows him to tell the Lonoff family that he had an ex-girlfriend named Betsy and why she is not with him. The most magnificent fantasy that Nathan has is about Anne Frank, which helps him escape from the reality that he is single and his parents disapprove of him. Nathan transforms Amy Ballette, Lonoff’s assistant, into Anne Frank, and in Nathan’s fantasy, he marries Anne Frank. Nathan tells the readers:
This is the tale that Amy told the morning after she had gone alone to the Cort Theatre to sit amid the weeping and inconsolable