20 October 2011
The Myth of Money and Success
The American Dream is different for everyone, though it is most commonly associated with success, freedom, and happiness. The concept of the American Dream seems to have dwindled from where it was in the past few generations. It has gone from success, freedom, and happiness to having lots of money and the nicest possessions. In today’s society, we all hope and strive for this dream, but how many actually achieve the American Dream? Is it a reasonable goal that Americans should strive for, or is it a myth that only leads to self-destruction? According to Horatio Alger and Toni Cade Bambara, they both believe the concept that the American Dream is a myth and prove these fundamentals through their writing. A single person or a small group does not create the notion of success, but it is created by our whole society. The myth of instant wealth is one of the most popular myths society uses. In fact society uses the hope of instant wealth to make people work harder. The fact that they do not have a real chance of obtaining that wealth by competing in the economic system stays invisible to the most of people. But people have believed that if they will work hard then they can achieve success. Richard Hunter, main character of the book “Ragged Dick” has been a typical example of American notion of success. According to this book, by Horatio Alger, everybody can become well recognized and financially prosperous if they would work hard and show their merit. Dick, “a young gentleman on the way to fame and fortune,” as his friend Fosdick from the story “Ragged Dick” describes him in the end of the story, climbs on the social ladder, starting from the very bottom. Being absolutely illiterate and having no money in the beginning, Dick gets into business circle of people, by working hard and showing his merit. While reading this book, I really was able to put myself in the story,...
Cited: Alger, Horatio Jr.. Ragged Dick Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks.
New York. Penguin, 2005. Print.
Bambara, Toni. “The Lesson”. Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience. Shorter 7th ed. Ed. Richard Abacian and Marvin Koltz. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2000. 121-126.
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