The American Dream, the Global Nightmare

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There is no escape. It encompasses every factor of the modern American lifestyle. It all begins with "The American Dream," in which everyone strives to become part of the ideal, the obsession, that supposedly defines how happiness can be obtained. But happiness is not, contrary to the beliefs of the American Dreamers, measured on a checklist including 2.5 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat, quaint house in suburbs, white picket fence, 2 car garage, freshly mowed lawn, etc. That image is a facade over the ever-crumbling ashheaps of our world. It is impossible to measure one's life or happiness on a scale of coffee spoons, cars, or annual income, but people continue to plug away like machines for no other reason than to make the money that they honestly believe will bring them true happiness. This idea is everywhere, leaving much of America longing for a life that does not exist and working toward a goal that will never be reached.

It is not difficult to fall into the trap of the American ideal because we are already accustomed to absorbing, using, eating, believing every other man-made product, and the ideal is, in fact, just another fabrication of the society. Man is ungrateful, casting aside all that he has not manufactured or processed, abandoning the natural world from which he has emerged. America has been turned into "an immense country filled with decent houses, good roads, orchards, meadows, and bridges, where a hundred years ago all was wild, woody, and uncultivated" (St. Jean de Crevecoeur 440). Henderson searches for himself away from all that man has made, becoming dismayed to find that others have been to what he considers the beginning of the earth; even there the effect of society has seeped into life, takin...

... middle of paper ... of motivation. It is easy to fall victim to a lack of motivation upon seeing the collapse of the dream that was once the main driving force for people to work at all. The most powerful example of an ingredient missing in the wasteland is love. Love is the ultimate truth and the ultimate motivation, so when Frome has no love at all in his life and is left without any escape from his moral isolation, the wasteland cannot be denied. Likewise, when there is no love for what someone does and he only does it for the sake of living up to the ideal, such as the Lomans', the demise of the fantastic facade, and thus the onset of the wasteland, cannot be stopped. The wasteland inhabits all aspects of society today. It is a dark, gloomy cloud that hovers over the earth, blocking all hope-all life-from making its way into the reality of the world in which we live.

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