Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, by Steven Millhauser Essay

Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, by Steven Millhauser Essay

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Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser is a novel that accurately displays the progress of the United States in the time period. Progress was in the air and ideas were sprouting. The citizen of Martin’s time desired the next big thing. The Robber Baron of this time period has both similarities and differences with Martin. Martin strived to be successful, but did it the right way. Martin’s desire for the latest technological advancements was also prominent. Millhauser accurately represents the hustle and bustle of the business world in this time period.
Martin lived in a period of economic prosperity. Businesses were booming. However, one major problem of the time was the formation of monopolies. A few of these business men or “Robber Barons” include John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Jay Gould (Enotes). Robber Barons often achieved wealth by exploiting workers. Conversely, Martin managed to obtain success without the exploitation of workers. Martin even presented his dear friend, Emmeline with a job. Martin’s “desire to keep a close watch over the operation of the new restaurant led him one day to offer her the job of cashier, which she passionately accepted” (Millhauser 128). Martin wanted to keep a sharp eye on his company, and he knew he could trust Emmeline. The robber barons had similar goals with Martin; however, they went about achieving them in different ways.
Martin was an exemplary model of a self made man. Martin’s career began as a bellboy and he never regressed. He continued to climb the ranks of the hotel industry before briefly partaking in the construction of lunchrooms. Martin was not willing to work in a field he was not cut out for. Martin “felt, e...


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Martin Dressler was a character who closely resembled the people of his time period. His dreams, ambitions, and hopes were all exemplary traits of the U.S. citizen in the early 1900’s. Martin was so absorbed in technological innovations that he did not know what exactly it was that he wanted. Steven Millhauser did an exceptional job of representing the American business man of the time, while at the same time connecting the novel to many iconic objects and technological advancements of the time period.


Works Cited
Millhauser, Steven. Martin Dressler: the Tale of an American Dreamer. New York: Vintage, 1997. Print.
"Economics and Business - What Is A Robber Baron?: History Fact Finder." ENotes - Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. .

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