The Collapse of the American Dream

Topics: Henry David Thoreau, Capitalism, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 4 (1296 words) Published: January 21, 2012
The Collapse of the American Dream
“The American Dream has run out of gas,” said JG Ballard, a prominent English novelist. The American Dream was once a reality, a time when the citizens of America were the simple migrants who had immigrated because they sought a place where they could dictate their own fate. It was further developed in the 1770’s, and was referenced to by a great document through the words “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words are the basis of the Dream, which is now defined by Webster’s dictionary as the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American. For generations, achieving the dream was the goal of all Americans. However, this period of happiness did not last long; for times change, and the people along with them. Today, the American dream has evolved into an unachievable illusion, caused by a capitalistic economy, human nature and the government. To start off, the American dream is unattainable because of the capitalist economy. For example, in the Grapes of Wrath, the Joads are unable to get jobs because of the income disparity in the economy. When traveling the California, a garish one-eyed man appears. He tells the Joads how the flyers that advertise job are actually fraud. To fill 800 positions they print out several thousand flyers. Employers use unemployment to their advantage and drive wages down further making it impossible for many to achieve the American Dream. The Capitalistic economy strives to maximize profits, regardless of human consequences. The Joads end up losing their so called American dream and their family endures much suffering which causes them to break apart Similarly, In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents the American Dream as a corrupt shadow of what it once was. The valley of ashes, one of the settings of the novel, is a...
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