Is the American Dream Still Quite so American?

Topics: John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, World War II Pages: 7 (4591 words) Published: May 9, 2001
What is the American Dream, and who are the people most likely to pursue its often elusive fulfillment? Indeed, the American Dream has come to represent the attainment of myriad of goals that are specific to each individual. While one person might consider a purchased home with a white picket fence her version of the American Dream, another might regard it as the financial ability to operate his own business. Clearly, there is no cut and dried definition of the American Dream as long as any two people hold a different meaning. What it does universally represent, however, it the opportunity for people to seek out their individual and collective desires under a political umbrella of democracy. In the fifties, the 'age of suburbia', the American Dream was epitomized by the ability to own a home, live in safety and in a community of like minded souls. The great exodus from the cities to the suburbs defined the American idea of 'the good life'. T h e A m e r i c a n D r e a m was and always will be s o m e t h i n g t h a t m a k e s A m e r i c a g r e a t . I t a l l o w s t h o s e w i t h a s p i r a t i o n s t o m a k e t h e m c o m e t r u e . I n A m e r i c a a l l o n e n e e d s i s a d r e a m a n d t h e m o t i v a t i o n t o c a r r y o u t t h a t d r e a m . A m b i t i o n i s t h e d r i v i n g f o r c e b e h i n d t h e A m e r i c a n D r e a m . I t a l l o w s a n y o n e t h a t h a s a n a s p i r a t i o n , a d e s i r e , a y e a r n i n g , t o c a r r y o u t t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l d r e a m . I t k n o w s n o b o u n d s o f r a c e , c r e e d , g e n d e r o r r e l i g i o n . I t s t a n d s f o r s o m e t h i n g g r e a t , s o m e t h i n g t h a t e v e r y o n e c a n s t r i v e t o w a r d s . A d r e a m c a n b e a d e s i r e f o r s o m e t h i n g g r e a t . I n A m e r i c a , t h e A m e r i c a n D r e a m a l l o w s d r e a m s t o b e c o m e r e a l i t i e s . A c c o r d i n g t o Webster's New World Dictionary, t h e A m e r i c a n D r e a m i s d e f i n e d a s " A n A m e r i c a n s o c i a l i d e a l t h a t s t r e s s e s e g a l i t a r i a n i s m a n d e s p e c i a l l y m a t e r i a l p r o s p e r i t y ". T o l i v e t h i s d r e a m i s t o s u c c e e d . I t a l l o w s a n y o n e , r i c h o r p o o r t o h a v e t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o s u c c e e d . I t i s t h e a b i l i t y t o c o m e f r o m n o t h i n g a n d b e c o m e s o m e t h i n g . To s u c c e e d a t a n y t h i n g y o u d o, y o u m u s t h a v e p a t i e n c e a n d p e r s i s t e n c e . I t r e q u i r e s h a r d w o r k , p e r s i s t e n c e a n d a d e s i r e f o r s o m e t h i n g b e t t e r . T o h a v e t h e s e q u a l i t i e s a n d t h e d e s i r e a n d a m b i t i o n t o c a r r y t h e m o u t i s p a r t o f t h e A m e r i c a n D r e a m .

The Joy Luck Club is a prime source for everything that is represented in this dream. The Mothers and daughters are clearly struggling to maintain their Chinese beliefs while still seeking after the American Dream. They all try to have a relationship with each other that is exemplary to the viewing eye. One attempts to excel in chess while another at piano. Still others are merely striving only to be looked upon in a respectful way. Trials with husbands and the gain of independence from them is a great step to their American Dream. Also, the freedom and respect from their mothers is being sought after and is soon found. The goals of each of the characters were met with persistence and...

Cited: Barron 's Educational Series, Inc. 1993.
"Jefferson, Thomas"
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 1978. 239.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: The Viking Press, 1994
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