Society's Influence on the American Dream

Topics: American middle class, Sociology, Social class Pages: 4 (1202 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Society's Influence on the American Dream

"Do as most do, and men will speak well of thee."

[Thomas Fuller (1654-1734):Gnomologia]

Men have a dream to improve their lives and better their social status but each man does not realize that he pursues this dream in hopes of pleasing others and not for his own well being. Fuller's quotation demonstrates that people find success and social mobility if they act and do what others want them to do. The American dream of success and happiness can not be reached independently because people need to feel accepted to achieve satisfaction. Each man strives to improve his place in the community oblivious to the hypocrisy around him. Everyone works to impress others rather than pleasing himself. Paralleling Fullers quotation, Sinclair Lewis' Babbit is a satirical portrayal of a man in search of himself enveloped by a society of hypocrisy . George F. Babbit, a middle class man, struggles to find social mobility and beatitude. Babbit overlooks the essential items of life and concentrates his attention towards material goals and impressing the upper class. Due to the loss of his best friend, Babbit realizes his life has no meaning and rebels against society's conformity destroying his reputation. Lacking the courage to be independent, Babbit's dream of true ecstasy crumbles when he succumbs to hypocritical lifestyle realizing that he needs conformity. Strongly influenced by a sanctimonious society, Babbit, a man in search for himself, realizes that he needs conformity to live.

Babbit dreams of improving his status in the community, not realizing that hypocrisy is influencing every decision or action he makes. Babbit concentrates his time and energies towards activities and events that impress the upper class. His life revolves around material items and goals. Mr. and Mrs. Babbit host a dinner party, only inviting the utmost respectable couples. They plan a "highbrow affair…with evening clothes required" in...
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