The Myth of the American Dream

691 Words2 Pages

Striving for success nobody thinks that he follows somebody’s well planned way. A single person or a small group does not create the notion of success, but it is created by our whole society. The myth of instant wealth is one of the most popular myths society uses. In fact society uses the hope of instant wealth to make people work harder. The fact that they do not have a real chance of obtaining that wealth by competing in the economic system stays invisible to the most of people.

When we imagine a successful person, we see a person, who is working on some company and is busy working all the time. This person has a nice car and beautiful apartment or house, where he does not spend much time because he is so busy. We get this impression since we were born. Movies, magazines, and news – everything supports this notion of a successful person.

Interesting thing is that notion of success did not change very much since the beginning of last century. There happened some variations but the idea stayed the same: working hard will bring you to the top of the society circle. This idea became very popular in the end of eighteen hundreds thanks to the stories, written by Horatio Alger. In spite of similarity of all his books, his works had an edition of hundred thousand copies. Simple idea of getting into upper class circles starting from the very down, was accepted by society as a model of success achievement. People have believed that if they will work hard than they can achieve success.

Richard Hunter, main character of the book “Ragged Dick” has been a typical example of American notion of success. According to this book everybody can became well recognized and financially prosperous if they would work hard and show their merit. Dick, “a young gentleman on the way to fame and fortune,” as his friend Fosdick from the story “Ragged Dick” describes him in the end of the story, climbs on the social ladder, starting from the very bottom. Being absolutely illiterate and having no money in the beginning, Dick gets into business circle of people, by working hard and showing his merit.

Why did this story become so popular in the end of eighteenth century? People always need hope and this story gave hope to everyone. If person from the lowest class of society could get into the high class then everyone else was able to do the same.

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