California, a Place, a People, a Dream

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California, A Place, a People, a Dream

In “California, A Place, a People, a Dream,” James J. Rawls gives his version of the California dream, and describes the paradoxes that are associated with that dream. According to Rawls, the California dream is a love affair with an idea, a marriage to a myth, or fantasy. (Rawls 22, 23) Everyone has their own version of the California dream. It might be something, or nothing at all.

As I began reading Rawl’s essay, I found it interesting how the world views the environment that you live in, and how different they think your life is from theirs. The California dream is often viewed in the imaginations of Americans and immigrants as the optimal land of opportunity, sunshine, jobs, and Hollywood glamour. “Founded on expectation and hope, the California Dream promises to fulfill our deepest longings for opportunity and success, warmth, sunshine and beauty, health and long life, freedom, and even a foretaste of the future,” says Rawls. (Rawls 23) For many people, they think of California as their own perfect world.

According to Rawls, one paradox for California is a land of great expectations and disappointment. The gold rush experience was forged on this paradox of expectation. (Rawls 26) For many people their expectations of California came from what they heard: California is the land of great opportunity.

Another paradox is growth. In 1962, California became the most populous state. Land was being quickly developed into track homes, and twisted freeways. By 1973, cities across the state 1. were passing ordinances to limit growth. The land of dreams and opportunities was quickly turning into a land of nightmares. The paradox of plenty and getting rich is what immigrants and people from other parts of America believed California was all about, and part of the California...
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