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The American dream was a shared vision among all Americans. It represented the aspiration for their country to become wealthier and offer opportunities to individuals based on their achievements. This dream encompassed the idea of working hard to attain success, acquiring wealth, owning a nice house, raising two children, and securing a high-quality job. In…
With the story unfolding out in the vein of a Greek tragedy, F.Scott Fitzgerald, with his quintessential work The Great Gatsby, has created a novel that destroys the illusion of the American Dream – a dream of money, wealth, prosperity, and happiness. The American Dream is shown to be a tragedy, an achievable goal that…
I believe that the American Dream gives people the opportunity to build a stable foundation for the families to grow on. The foundation that would allow them to gain freedom and education, the Jobs, and the lives they have always striver to have. I believe that with dedication, education and a stable Job any immigrant…
The novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald addresses prosperity, love, and the elusive “American Dream.” Learn more about the intriguing green light motif, a metaphor that gorgeously encapsulates the characters’ diverse lives and aspirations. The green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” represents limitless pleasure, high ideals, and unwavering optimism. This…
What we see Is not always what we get. In some cases we are prepared to get what we want and in others, it is unexpected and not what we hoped it would be. This theme, and a few others, can be seen in the book, The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West and…
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Comment on the American Dream in The Great Gatsby The American Dream can be perceived in a multitude of ways depending on one’s view of wealth; in the 1920’s, wealth meant nothing but how much material you could afford. F. Scott Fitzgerald comments on the change of the American Dream in The…
1997: Novels and plays often include scenes of weddings, funerals, parties, and other social occasions. Such scenes may reveal the values of the characters and the society in which they live. Select a novel or play that includes such a scene and, in a focused essay, discuss the contribution the scene makes to the meaning…
Throughout this novel, the downfall of the once majestic dream is witnessed through various characters’ stories. A prime example is Gatsby’s aspiration to win over Daisy, which remains unfulfilled. The narrative also brings attention to the inequalities based on race and social status, as well as the hardships faced by diligent individuals from the lower…
What is the American Dream
The great ideological question. It could stump many scholars and prompt many arguments. If you google “What is the American dream?” The first result will be a quote describing the American dream as “the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success” (Barome). This interpretation often involves rags to riches stories. For me however, as a white male member of the middle class I have a different view. My American dream is choice. Only in America could I have the opportunities in front of me that I have, to do whatever I want to do.
For me the American dream is freedom. The freedom to work hard, go to college, and get a good job. The freedom to have the career of your choice. Some people think only of the positives of the American dream’s prosperity. My American dream is a high paying job in a city, a house in the suburbs, and a family. Vacations every summer, and kids who can go to college without financial strain. But ultimately it is freedom. Freedom to know that I can and will control my own destiny. Freedom is what our country was founded on. And now more than ever freedom is increasingly available to most ordinary people such as myself.
My American dream is a fairly typical one. But it obviously isn’t the only one. The dream I described doesn’t even depict mmy full understanding of the American dream. I also reserve the right to go in the complete opposite direction. If I wish at some point to give up caring, neglect all self care, eat fast food for every meal, drink and smoke excessively, balloon up to 300 lbs and die of a heart attack at the age of 40 I am afforded the absolute right to do so as is every American. While this may not seem like a glorious life, for some people it is what they want to do. And for me while I would never want to live like this, it is comforting to know that if one day I decided to, I could.
Definition of the American Dream
In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. During the early 1930’s the ideal American Dream consisted of 3 criteria: 2 kids, a marriage and a house with a white picket fence. Not to say that life in the 1930’s was easy by any means. John F. Kennedy quoted john winthrop and once said ‘We must always consider,’ he said, ‘that we shall be as a city upon a hill — the eyes of all people are upon us.’ He then goes on how we still have the eyes upon us and we are still the city upon a hill. This also connects to the American dream because when people move to America they want to be on the top in one of the best countries in America.
Unfortunately, realizing the American Dream today has become increasingly challenging compared to decades past. For example, in the 1950’s a middle-class family could live a decent life on a single income source; usually, the husband, while the wife stayed at home and took care of the domestic necessities and child raising and owning your home was easily done.
Fast forward to the American Dream in 2018 it seems to be more about tolerance and freedom from oppression rather than the original Dream of having a couple kids, a dog, a house and a stay-at-home mom. It now takes in Larimer County to support a family of four $64,331 to be self-sufficient. That means both adults have to have full-time jobs making at least $15.23 to reach that annual salary. That’s a big jump if you compare the family’s statuses in the 1950’s. In the 1950’s only one person had to have a job, usually the father like I stated above. It gets even worse if your a single parent as you would have to make $26.94 an hour to be self-sufficient. That’s a 10.6 percent increase from the county’s 2011 self-sufficiency standard and a 54.6 percent increase from the 2001 self-sufficiency standard.
This is not to say that the American Dream is not achievable by today’s standards it is just increasingly more difficult and more expensive, which I believe hits the middle and working classes harder. Unless you have the money to begin with it is becoming harder and harder to afford the white picket fence and long gone are the days of the stay at home mom. The days of the stable job with a pension are no longer a viable option for most of Americans compared with years past.
It seems that today it is also more about being able to feed your family on a meager income with cost of living rising out of the reach of most Americans today. Wealth in our nation is becoming concentrated among a smaller group of privileged who have the control and power, leaving the majority of Americans poorer, more insecure and increasingly disenfranchised. At the same time we are experiencing a demographic shift toward a more multicultural population. This takes the form of lost opportunity for a rapidly growing segment of our nations communities.
The American Dream’s Structural Inequity
At the center of the truths we hold to be self-evident are the rights we are endowed to—the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the equity we still strive for in modern American society. From these rights, concept that we live in a meritocratic nation, that any individual can rise from the depths of destitution and work to sow a garden of achievement, that all people are created equally, the American Dream is born. Regardless of these notions, however, why does this idea of American success continue to be a chimerical impracticality? Why is this idea an illusory fantasy, gated by the walls of oppression and locked by the chains of hypocrisy? Why is the American Dream still merely a dream?
In the legacy of American history, racism is a prevalent issue that though has since palliated throughout the decades, continues to exist as an obstruction from both social and fundamental prosperity.
In example, the economic gaps between the different racial groups that make up America. According to the 2010 Census Bureau, the median household net worth for Caucasian Americans is near $111,000 compared to about $7,400 for Hispanic and Latinx Americans, and less than $5,000 for Black and African American households (“Statistics on Race…” 3).
These large monetary gaps between the different groups is a consequence of their differing employment rates. Based on the average unemployment rates of 2016, as collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Caucasians have a lower unemployment rate of 4.3% while minorities have higher rates—5.8% for Hispanic and Latinx Americans and 8.4% for Black and African Americans (“Unemployment Rate…” 2). Racial inequality in the workplace obstructs American minorities from reaching success, despite the fact that this dreamt success originates from America’s emphasis on the idea of equality for all.
In regard to additional obstructions that hinder the achievement of this American ideology, gender is another controversial point in speculation. The American Dream has primarily been generalized as a man’s story, which is no revelation considering the fact that the 19th Amendment, which proclaims women’s suffrage rights, was ratified less than one century ago. Although the feminist movement has advanced significantly in the past decade, women are still being treated unequally in the workplace.
According to the American Association of University of Women in a 2016, Caucasian women are paid an average of only 77% of the median Caucasian male’s dollar. To clarify, Caucasian women receive 77 cents for every dollar made by a Caucasian man. In addition, it is calculated that Black and African American women make 61 cents and Hispanic and Latina women make 53 cents for every Caucasian man’s dollar (Miller 4). Not only are women’s pay unequal to men, but they are also unequal to each other, resulting in their differing abilities to economically flourish, let alone sustain themselves and their families.
American Dream Today
The American Dream is still achievable by today’s standards but it is much harder. Today many people expect happiness to come from money and fame which is harder to achieve than finding love or another way to be happy. Though many kids think that it will be easy to make money because they are the smartest or most athletic in their class. They will go to a job interview or a tryout for a sports team and see people who may be smarter or more athletic than them and may not get the job or make it on the team. Then they would be really sad or annoyed and not be living the American Dream.
For most people, today morals and values change based on what they like. One such example is people who like sports and are athletic may have morals and values that revolve around sports like fairness so you play fair or courage so you can play even if you might get hurt. Another example is people who like learning and are smart may have morals and values that revolve around learning such as acceptance so you can take in new info and views or perseverance so that they can keep learning new things.
This mindset impacts society because most people are super focused on expanding what they are already good at so they have a better chance of becoming rich and famous through that. So instead of improving in other areas and having a better chance if your favorite thing fails to bring you happiness you only have that one choice. Too many people today do not think about the difficulties of the future instead they think of how they will make a lot of money and become famous and think it will be super easy.
Obviously, the American dream has changed in many ways. As far as we know it may never switch back to the way it was when Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby. In fact, it might keep changing and changing forever. Either way, there will always be some people who believe the same thing as Fitzgerald which was that the American dream was achievable by everyone and it does not have to come from money or fame it could also come from love and friendships.