Paradoxes and Promises of the California Dream
In “California: A People, a Place, a Dream,” James J - Paradoxes and Promises of the California Dream introduction. Rawls states that the California dream is a dialect in which a synthesis or new dream is formed from a paradox and promise. These two things are joined together to form the new dream. The promise for a better life and the paradoxes of expectation, growth, and plenty are at the center of the dream. The dialectic helps the paradoxes, a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory; find a resolution by creating a new dream that has the virtues of balance, control, restraint, and the possibility of innovation.
The California dream promised to fulfill people’s deepest longing for a better future filled of new freedoms. The dream was fueled from the universal human needs. California was free from the restraints of traditions and history. It seemed to be able to shape the nature of things to come. Many people came to California for a chance of success and opportunities. They would hear about the beautiful weather and landscapes of California through letters and songs that were written by family and friends living in California. This attracted many snowbound Easterners and Mid westerners to come.
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During the Twentieth Century, California was thought to be the Promised Land. California was being described as a superlative. Although The California dream only shows the promises being made, the dream is not static of fixed. Just like the dream, things change that affect people’s perception of the dream. The expectation of the California dream increase as more and more people came into California. They came in hopes for a better life than the one they left behind. Enthusiastic boosters believed California is the best and possibly their last chance at success.
They recruited many of their friends and family to come to California to fulfill their dreams. The California dream has many versions because there are different types of dreamers. The growing population and the great expectations of the dream make it difficult to fulfill many peoples dream. The newcomers turn from dreamers to antagonists because of the disillusionment of the dream. In 1850, people wrote about their gold rush experiences in their diaries. Some wrote about the charms of the golden state while others wrote about their disappointments.
Writers of the 1930’s; for example, Nathaniel West, Aldous Huxley, and John Steinbeck, denounced the California dream in their writings. A new era of anti-California literature appeared during the late 1960s and 1970s. Books and headlines appeared with titles such as California-Has Dream Gone Sour, Anti California, and California: The Vanishing Dream. Wide publicity of multiple tragedies made it clear that the land of California was full of unfulfilled dreams and false promises. In the late 1970s, California began to embody a new form.
Writers began writing about the new synthesis of California. It showed a balance between the state virtues and accomplishments as well as its failures and faults. California’s growth has been thought to be the greatest good; however, fulfilling the promises of the California dream became difficult. Growth shows how successful California is. As the population increased, it reassured the dream remained strong. After the discovery of Gold in California, the population rose rapidly with the arrival of the miners searching for wealth.
By the peak of the Gold Rush, the chance for the miners to gain wealth was diminishing. Because California became the nation’s most populous state in 1962, many residents joined in a statewide celebration of Population Day. Unfortunately, population growth has a downside. Over-crowded cities and the construction of freeways replaced green fields and orchards. In order to control and limit this rapid growth, communities across the states started the Petaluma ordinance in 1973. Now a California once known for its astonishing growth is known for its limited growth.
The paradox of the land plenty deals with money and the battle between economic development and environmental protection. The mania for the people coming into California was money. California’s riches were evident in the street Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and the building of the new infrastructures. This caused a problem when the economic developments threaten the environment. In 1969, there was an oil spill in the beaches of Santa Barbara. Two years later, the San Francisco Bay had an oil spill that outraged the Californians. The effects of the oil spill fueled the environmental movement.
In order for the environment not to be damaged, they created a nonpolluting, renewable source of energy. Today California is the solar state of the union and contains 40 percent of the totals United States solar collector energy. California also has the world’s largest wind energy project that was built by PG&E in the Solano County. These were synthesis created by the paradox of growth. Although the California dream has disillusionments and failures, the dream remains undiminished bring new generations from different parts of the world to California.