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The American Dream

analytical Essay
643 words
643 words
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The first tenet of the American Dream is that the Dream is open to all. The chance to start again, to live a better life, is a theme that runs deep in American culture, across all socioeconomic statuses. Hothschild argues that people cannot reasonable pick up and begin again, weakening the tenet that the dream is open to everyone. The successful have become the face of the Dream, to the exclusion to multitudes of others. The right to become successful only works for those who begin to succeed. Tenet two is the “reasonable anticipation” of success. Because of this, Americans may be willing to take more risks in order to improve their lives. Here Hothschild points out that as long as resources are abundant enough or expectations are low enough, all would be well. Loss of resources reduces the availability of the Dream, however because the dream only offers possibilities, there are no guarantees. The right to success only works for those who succeed. Those who may be most disappointed are those who believe in absolute success, but as opportunities diminish, expectations become more realistic and focus moves from absolute success to relative success and on to competitive success, changing the mood and political climate of the nation. Sacrifices made by those that are highly successful, sometimes take a toll on their psyche, especially when they realize that success may not be worth the hype, but failure is infinitely more painful in part because people tend to be judged by that failure. It also serves as a reminder to the successful that they had better hold on, because failure is equated with poverty which in turn is equated with death. Even though failure is more often than not the outcome of reaching for dream, there is nothing to... ... middle of paper ... ...n either direction. “Virtuous success” gives power of some groups over others. While the American Dream embraces the individual ideal of success while simultaneously embracing the monetary definition of success, it creates a sense of shame for those whose idea of success does not comply with the accepted norms. Hothschild reminds us “the very process of assigning monetary worth reduces an array of values to a single thin one.” She believes that it is an inherent flaw in the ideal. In closing, Hothschild reminds us that the language of The Declaration of Independence is optimistically ambitious and if we were all born into the same resources and the same socioeconomic stratum, the American Dream would actually give the opportunities it offers. Even though the words give resounding hope and optimism, for most Americans, the practical applications are not within reach.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how hothschild argues that people cannot reasonable pick up and begin again, weakening the tenet that the dream is open to everyone.
  • Explains that tenet two is the "reasonable anticipation" of success, which means americans are willing to take more risks to improve their lives. loss of resources reduces the availability of the dream.
  • Opines that success takes a toll on the psyche of those who are highly successful, but failure is infinitely more painful because people tend to be judged by that failure.
  • Explains that the third tenet is the pursuit of success — the individual is responsible and in control of their luck and success.
  • Explains that the fourth tenet links success to virtue, meaning at least four things: virtue leads to success, success makes a person virtuous, and success indicates virtue.
  • Analyzes how benjamin franklin promoted virtue linked with success and made the poor seem unvirtuous and dishonest because they were unsuccessful.
  • Analyzes how the american dream embraces the individual ideal of success while simultaneously embracing the monetary definition
  • Concludes that hothschild reminds us that the language of the declaration of independence is optimistically ambitious and if we were all born into the same resources and socioeconomic stratum, the american dream would give the opportunities it offers.
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