Waking Up from the American Dream Essay

Waking Up from the American Dream Essay

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Throughout history there has been a quest for a better life. Bill Clinton himself said, "We are a nation of immigrants", and one of the first things an American learns as a schoolchild is the phrase written on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." People will journey far and wide, traverse the entire continent, suffer all manner of pain and suffering, if they believe that, in the end, they will be rewarded, and there is nothing quite like survival to motivate people. That is why it comes as no surprise when people from other countries struggle to get to America, believing the ancient tale of "the American Dream", convinced that they will finally make it big in this land of riches. In other countries, people believe that the roads are paved with gold, and that everyone here is a millionaire, and they want a piece of that giant, glittering pie, whether to help their families back home or to help themselves. In Illinois alone there are over 300,000 illegal immigrants. The nine African men who risk everything in the movie Deadly Voyage are a perfect example. This struggle for the greener grass happens not just in America, but in other countries, such as England, as demonstrated in the novel The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon and Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane.

In Deadly Voyage, Kingsley Ofosu and eight other African men decide to stow away aboard a Ukrainian ship that is headed for New York. Unfortunately, the ship has already been heavily fined for permitting stowaways, and now that the first mate and the captains' jobs are on the line, they take matters into their own hands. The first mate and some crew members hunt down the nine men and proceed to tort...

... middle of paper ...

... a better life, a safer and happier life. However, if they make it to America--or wherever--at all, they are either deported immediately or set to the most menial tasks possible. The roads of America are not lined with gold, they are paved with the sweat and tears of those who want, more than anything, to be free.


Deadly Voyage. http://www.miamisci.org/youth/sagledor/deadly.html

Selvon, Sam. The Lonely Londoners. New York: Longman Publishing Group, 1956.

Plot Summary For Deadly Voyage. http://imdb.com/title/tt0116056/plotsummary

Kane, Cheikh Hamidou. Ambiguous Adventure. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1962.

William, Dudley, ed. Illegal Immigration: Opposing Viewpoints. California: Greenhaven Press, 2002.

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