The American Dream Facade

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If the American Dream had to be captured within a frozen image, how would the visualization be conveyed? For the majority of today's society, the image would likely include the traditional father, mother, and child(ren) standing pleasantly beside a moderate two story home, a well kept lawn, and neatly trimmed hedges. In the background of this family portrait, a guarded and welcoming neighborhood would appear, complete with similar home designs and family arrangements lining its streets. In other words, the image of the American Dream resides within the typical American suburb. And within this typical suburb lies (supposedly) the remaining components of the ideal American lifestyle. From the moment William Levitt created the first official suburb in 1950, the suburban lifestyle has been viewed as practically utopian. This adopted myth has boosted suburbia into the most popular residency for Americans, housing approximately 138,231,000 or 55% of all Americans (Gillespie 4). For the average citizen, this popularity seems encouraging, assuming that the majority of our country's population is actively pursuing a lifestyle that includes a desire to work honestly and live modestly as well as to provide a stable and protected living environment for one's family. Unfortunately, things are not always as they appear. If examined closely, the popularity of America's suburbs is more disturbing than encouraging. Suburbia is actually a representation of the dehumanized characteristics that America's citizens have acquired and not a symbol of their wholesome zeal for a utopia. Using the American Dream as a facade, suburbia is simply a manufactured myth that allows Americans to disguise their diminishing family values, their hunger for socioeco... ... middle of paper ... ...More Positive Opinion about Suburbs)". Reason 32.3 (July 2000): 4-8. Leinberger, Christopher. "The Market and Metropolitanism" Brookings Review 16.4 (Fall 1998): 35-36. Lermann, Nicholas. "Stressed Out in Suburbia: a Generation after the Postwar Boom, Life in the Suburbs Has Changed, Even If Our Picture of It Hasn't." The Atlantic 264.5. (Nov 1989): 34-41. Maloney, Lawrence D. "America's Suburbs Still Alive and Doing Fine." U.S. News & World Report 96.59 (March 12, 1984): 59-63. Rosenthal, Mitchell S. "Heroin Hits Hardest in Suburbs." Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly 12.23 (June 5, 2000): 5-6.Tuan, Yi-Fi. Topophilia: A Study ofEnvironmental Perception, Attitudes and Values. Englewood Cliff, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1974. Tueth, Michael V. "Fun City: TV's Urban Situation Comedies of the 1990s." Journal of Popular Film and Television 28.3 (Fall 2000): 98-109.
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