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
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Then, the man disappears. Richard wakes to see Donald, wide awake, leaning against his airplane. Don tells Richard that this dream answered questions that Richard had about Donald. Later, Richard learns of Donald’s past.

Richard discovers that Don was once a “messiah”. He was famous for giving advice and teaching people about life, and for performing miracles. People flocked to him, seeking his wisdom and advice. However, after a while he saw that they no longer came to him to better their knowledge of life and the world; they simply wanted to see the miracles that he could perform. Don became frustrated because the people did not care about the good things that he had to offer them. After seeking God’s advice, Don quit his “job” as a messiah. He disappeared and began doing things that he enjoyed, like barnstorming.

Don begins to teach Richard about life. In a sense, he was passing on his gift as a messiah to Richard. He introduces to Richard the small bits of wisdom in his handbook that he used when he had a question about life. The handbook answers questions that Richard had about his own life, and he begins to learn the things that makes Don a messiah: the wisdom that helped him to give advice to people in need.

Don is able to do miracles that defy the rules of the world we live in. For example, he can make objects like the tools for his airplane float in the air or move. He uses miracles to keep his plane clean and

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