Though the passage I have selected is short, I believe it is the most obvious indication to the main theme of the book, as well as a common goal for not only Duddy Kravitz, but countless others, fictitious and not. I could have chosen a longer quotation from the book, but I felt that this phrase clearly communicates to the reader that the "American Dream" has been a preoccupation with Duddy since he was very young.
Duddy's grandfather acted as a prominent father figure to him during his early childhood, when his father could not always be there for him, and as a result of always having him around while Duddy was so young and impressionable, he had a lot of influence on Duddy's developing mind.
Coming from someone in such a position at that point in Duddy's life, a statement like "a man without land is nothing", has a particularly strong effect. The words themselves are very blunt and closed to interpretation. He wasn't simply telling him it would be nice to own property, his grandfather was telling him he will never have amounted to anything in his eyes, unless he owns land. A message that strong coming from a figure with so much influence on a boy like Duddy can have a very monumental impression. It is clear that Duddy did, in fact, take these words to heart, as he is constantly involved in get-rich-quick schemes, starting when he is still in school. This preoccupation would eventually be Duddy's downfall.
Though The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was written years ago, the idea of materialism, and measuring one's success by their possessions is also a prominent theme in pop culture in the West. Luxurious and excessive lifestyles are in, perpetuated by "blinged out" rap artists and rock stars who own multiple houses, and drive unnecessarily large and expensive sport utility vehicles and sports cars. Pop music has evolved throughout the 20th Century, and has now gotten to a point where it's not just music, but an...