The American Dream Today

The American Dream Today

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What is the American Dream, and who are the people most likely to pursue its often elusive fulfillment? Indeed, the American Dream has come to represent the attainment of myriad of goals that are specific to each individual. While one person might consider a purchased home with a white picket fence her version of the American Dream, another might regard it as the financial ability to operate his own business. Clearly, there is no cut and dried definition of the American Dream as long as any two people hold a different meaning. What it does universally represent, however, it the opportunity for people to seek out their individual and collective desires under a political umbrella of democracy.

In the fifties, the 'age of suburbia', the American Dream was epitomized by the ability to own a home, live in safety and in a community of like minded souls. The great exodus from the cities to the suburbs defined the American idea of the good life'.
The American Dream was and always will be something that makes America great. It allows those with aspirations to make them come true. In America alone needs is a dream and the motivation to carry out that dream. Ambition is the driving force behind the American Dream. It allows any one that has an aspiration, a desire, a yearning, to carry out the individual dream. It knows no bounds of race, creed, gender or religion. It stands for something great, something that every one can strive towards. A dream can be a desire for something great. In America, the American Dream allows dreams to become realities. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the American Dream is defined as "An American social ideal that' stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity". To live this dream is to succeed. It allows anyone, rich or poor to have the opportunity to succeed. It is the ability to come from nothing and become so me thing. To succeed at any thing you do, you must have patience and persistence. It requires hard work, persistence and a desire for something better. To have these qualities and the desire and ambition to carry the moutis part of the American Dream.

The Joy Luck Club is a prime source for everything that is represented in this dream.

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The Mothers and daughters are clearly struggling to maintain their Chinese beliefs while still seeking after the American Dream. They all try to have a relationship with each other that is exemplary to the viewing eye. One attempts to excel in chess while another at piano. Still others are merely striving only to be looked upon in a respectful way. Trials with husbands and the gain of independence from them is a great step to their American Dream. Also, the freedom and respect from their mothers is being sought after and is soon found. The goals of each of the characters were met with persistence and the other aforementioned qualities needed to obtain one's own dream.

The Presidency of the United States of America is an office that exemplifies the American Dream. In the past 25 years, we have had two farmers and an actor become President. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, and the late president Bill Clinton was also a farmer. Ron al d Reagan was a " B" movie actor. They all shared the same dream, to become President of the United States. And they all succeeded. What they accomplished was part of the American Dream. They all had a yearning and a desire to make their dream work. That was all they needed. Their job is to make the American Dream possible for others. They are all living proof that the American Dream is possible for anyone. Every day many reap the benefits for carrying out their dream; for not giving up when things seemed to be most bleak. Every day someone else has a dream, and every day many act on it. We truly live in a land of opportunity. The American Dream is a derivative of the principles upon which this nation was founded. This nation was founded by people who had a desire for freedom and a desire to create home in their own nation. That is the American Dream.

Our fore fathers fought so generations beneath them would be able to make
their dreams realities. They fought for the American Dream - freedom. They fought for the American Dream, equality. They wanted to allow us the American Dream - "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." ("Jefferson", 239). To have the desire and the drive to carry out ones aspirations embodies the American Dream. Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan all had dreams and the dedication needed to fulfill them. Without the American Dream none of these endeavors would have been successful. The American Dream encompasses everything that helps to create happiness in this nation. The American Dream is something truly great. It set sour great nation a part from there. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, all you need is a dream.

Humble families have almost every thing that the portrayed Hollywood families have, but it is not enough because our society today is stricken with greed. We all want more, more, and more. We aren't satisfied with our health, money and family. To live the American dream, you have to believe that you can make it and allow hard work ethic and morality to take its role in out life. We don't understand that other towns a round the United States are far less superior to us, and we don't understand how lucky we are to be living this dream. The Bible states:

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do they light a lamp and hide it under a bush, but on a stand so that everyone can see it. Similarly, let your light shine among the people, so that they observe your good works and give glory to your heavenly Father" (Matt.5:14-17).

Among us, there are many people who have been living the American
Dream. Whether it was soccer stars, actors, or even our own friends. Many people who are living this dream don't even realize it because they want even more than they already have. We see them as greedy. Even I feel that I am living this dream. “Humble is at own full of spoiled children who have been living the dream since they were born, and only know, at this age, they a restarting to realize it."(Delahoussaye) The people that the students a tour school and in other wealthy owns see as living the American dream are sports stars and actors. They are living the dream because they have it all, or so it seems. Even actors and sports stars have their problems. Maybe drug or family, but we hardly ever catch a glimpse at his side.

American Beauty is a movie that represents almost the opposite of the American Dream at the first glimpse. At this point it seems almost ironic that this film was produced by Dream Works, a company name that, whether intentional or not, came from the ever-present American Dream. The mask of the movie was well used. Ball says:
"The title’s ambiguity was somewhat deliberate. It might refer to the American Dream and to what we think of as "beauty" in our daily life. One of the movie’s themes is how we have preconceived notions about things, but the truth often turns out to be something we never even considered – where you find true beauty might be in the place you least expect it."

When going further in depth, it is uncovered that this family is clearly exhibiting the American Dream. It may be twisted and dark, but Lester (the main character) and his family are doing nothing more than trying to appear normal and successful.
America was built on dreams. Our ancestors chose to take the risk by putting their lives on the line and fighting for freedom. We declared our independence in 1776 when Benjamin Franklin stated clearly: "We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately." ("Franklin", 146). We declared these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. We declared the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Humble Abe Lincoln stood tall and led us through the Civil War with the belief "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government – of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (Capozzoli, 11). A poor Scottish lad named Andrew Carnegie immigrated to America as a teen and built up the world’s largest steel mill and became the richest man in the land. Through his philanthropy he gave it all away and helped build our great libraries while reminding us: "No man becomes rich, unless he enriches others."(Capozzoli, 7) It’s OK to fail. After over 10,000 attempts, Thomas Edison finally invented the electric light bulb. Henry Ford put America on the road with the Model T. Our family members fought valiantly for the Red, White and Blue in both World Wars while the tomb of the Unknown soldier continues to burn bright in our minds. A courageous man with polio who could no longer walk at ease brought the world’s aggressors to their knees as we triumphed in victory at the close of World War II. For this, we thank Franklin Roosevelt. And Eleanor Roosevelt became the champion for social justice and encouraged us: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."("Roosevelt", 157) Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale taught us about riches, influence and positive thinking. Walt Disney dared to wish upon a star, and created Disneyland against the odds. Who could ever imagine a childhood without the magic kingdom? Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy brought images of Camelot into our living rooms creating excitement throughout our nation as we recalled the words of our president: "What together we can do for the freedom of man."("Kennedy", 333). Yes, we landed our man on the moon by the end of the decade. Martin Luther King, JR’s passionate speech "I have a dream," opened our eyes ("King", 347). While bullets took the lives of two of our greatest leaders, nothing stopped the seeds they planted for their dream for an even better America. 58,202 names of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall with the sober reminder that the price of freedom is never free. Our American heroes are gone but not forgotten. As we enter the new millennium we must all hang onto our own individual hope, faith and belief that, yes, today "the American Dream is alive and well to all those who choose to chase after it." (Backford, 2).

Works Cited:

"American Beauty." 13 January 1999>http://www.spacey.com/Ambeauty.html>
23 March 2001.

Backford, James. "American Dreams.". 28 March
2001.

Ball, Alan. "American Beauty - by Alan Ball." 22 September 1999. Geocities.com/rankostome5/Americnbeauty.html>.28 March 2001.

Delahoussaye, Ringgold. Personal Interview. 25 March 2001.
"Franklin, Benjamin". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Seven. Chicago:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978.145-147.

The Layman's Terms Bible
Capozzoli, Mary Jane. American History 1887 to the Present. New York:
Barron's Educational Series, Inc. 1993.

"Jefferson, Thomas". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Ten. Chicago:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 239.

"Kennedy, John F". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Ten. Chicago:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 333- 334.

"King, JR., Martin Luther". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Ten. Chicago:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 347.

"Roosevelt, Franklin". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume Fifteen. Chicago:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 156- 157.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: The Viking Press, 1994
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