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In Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard and in Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, both authors write about the same subject: “The American Dream.” However, they do not share the same viewpoint. There are several differences between the two books: the authors’ perspective of how the American Dream could be achieved, their mindset, method, and sex.
Ehrenreich, in Nickel and Dimed, attempts to prove that the American Dream is not possible anymore. On the other hand, Shepard, in Scratch Beginnings, sets out to prove that American dream is still alive in this country. Before discussing how they try to prove their points, it is first necessary to define the American Dream. James Truslow Adams, author of The Epic of America, noted, “The American Dream is [a] dream . . . in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” In my opinion the more accurate definition of the American Dream as an American idea that people can climb the social ladder and achieve their life goals by working hard and having the an optimistic outlook.
Now that a definition has been established, there is a major difference in the authors’ perspectives that needs to be examined. Although both authors’ acknowledge the definition of the American Dream, they each have different perceptions of whether or not it truly exists. Shepard’s perspective of the American Dream is one that looks solely on the individual. This means that for people to actually fulfill their goals, it is completely up to them. If a person has enough agency and will to achieve a goal, nothing will be able to deter him from doing so. Shepard sets off on his journey to “evaluate if hard work and discipline provide ...

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...female. Granted she is not able to do labor intensive jobs like Shepard, but she does not even consider jobs where women make just as much money as Shepard does with the moving company. She could have tried to be a nanny or babysitter, but her jobs consisted only of waitressing, housekeeping, and eventually working at Wal-Mart.
Each author has his/her own viewpoint of the American Dream. Shepard concludes that agency and discipline will ultimately allow anyone to achieve the American Dream. Ehrenreich’s evaluation implies that without luck and constant available opportunities the American Dream is not obtainable. The difference between Shepard and Ehrenreich’s perspective of how the American Dream could be achieved, their mindset, method, and sex determine the different outcomes of their books. Shepard attains the American Dream, whereas Ehrenreich does not.

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