The American Dream in The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse

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In the United States there is an idea many pursue called the American dream, which differs from person to person. The American dream according to americanradioworks.publicradio.org is “a revolutionary notion: each person has the right to pursue happiness, and the freedom to strive for a better life through hard work and fair ambition”. Yet it has been said there is no real definition of American dream, instead it merely proves that it has an unconscious influence in American mentality (Ştiuliuc 1). The American dream is different for each person because everyone yearns for things that will they hope will in return make them happy. Whatever that may be, each person goes through different struggles to obtain what they want. According to Frederic Carpenter, the American dream “has never been defined exactly, and probably never can be. It is both too various and too vague” (3). The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse depicts the different interpretations on what the American dream actually is through the opinions and actions of Hector Esperanza, Efren Mendoza and Mrs. Calhoun. Hector Esperanza, an immigrant from Mexico who has lived in Los Angeles almost his entire life begins the novel by introducing what he believes the American dream is all about. He says, “We run into this American dream with a determination to shed everything we know and love that weighs us down if we have any hope of survival. This is how we learn to navigate the terrain” (Skyhorse 1). Hector is essentially saying in order for one to obtain what one wants, one must lose things in order to gain. Loss can be people, culture, homes, anything that meant a lot to someone and they gave it up in order to set a better life for themselves in America. To become... ... middle of paper ... ...namic Model of Cultural Assimilation (2002): n. pag. Bc.edu. Boston College, Nov. 2002. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. . Myers, David G. "The funds, friends, and faith of happy people." American psychologist 55.1 (2000): 56. Skyhorse, Brando. The Madonnas of Echo Park: A Novel. New York: Free, 2010. Print. Speech. President Kennedy's Inaugural Address. The White House, Washington D.C. 20 Jan. 20 1961. Www.bartleby.com/. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. . Ştiuliuc, Diana. "The American Dream As The Cultural Expression Of North American Identity." Philologica Jassyensia 7.2 (2011): 363-370. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. Winsboro, Betsy L., and Irvin D. Solomon. "Standard English Vs. "He American Dream.." Education Digest 56.4 (1990): 51-52. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.

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