American Dream Essay
Many Americans believe that being wealthy, possessing great status, and having a good relationship can produce happiness. These aspects of life are supposedly going to bring people closer to achieving the “American Dream” in which life is full of joy and comfort. More often than not, people such as Jay Gatsby of the novel, The Great Gatsby, and Lester Burnham of the film, American Beauty, succumb to these forms of artificial happiness which bring temporary feelings of joy, but lead them closer to the collapse of the American Dream, in which instant gratification is valued over hard work and patience.
The common belief among Americans is that to get the most joy out of life, risks have to be taken and boundaries must be crossed. In “Sivilization”, Azar Nafisi discusses how Huckleberry Finn decides to run away after the Widow Douglas tries to “sivilize” him. This is similar to how Americans believe that to obtain happiness in life, “we have to ‘light out’ and find news ways to resist the ‘sivilizing’” (Azar Nafisi). This is evident in Bharati Mukherjee’s “Two Ways to Belong in America” where two immigrant sisters, Mira and Bharati, move to America together but develop different views of life during their time there. Mira prefers to marry an Indian man, be an immigrated Indian rather than obtain her US citizenship, and move back to India after retirement. Bharati on the other hand, marries a man outside her ethnic community, obtains her US citizenship, wants to remain in America, adopts the American culture and, “puts roots
down, to vote and make the difference that [she] can” (Bharati Mukherjee). Both Huck Finn and Bharati try to make changes in their lifestyles in attempt to attain their versions of the American Dream. Unfortunately, crossing the boundaries, is high risk and can often lead to bad situations where life becomes full of sorrow and confusion. ...
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