Opportunity is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “A good position, chance or prospect for achievement” which is easily connected to the idea of The American Dream. After all, isn’t America known as “The land of opportunity”? Most people came to America, and still come for that matter, in search of a better life through hard work and dedication to their cause. In “Chinaman’s Chance: Reflections on the American Dream” by Eric Liu, it is stated that “...it (the American Dream) does demand the opportunity to achieve progress-and values the opportunity as much as the achievement.” This statement is imperative because it gives recognition to those who try to reach their goals, even if they cannot achieve them fully. Throughout history, we see people voyaging to America in search of a new life and new opportunities. Whether it be the Puritans escaping religious persecution, the Colonists in search of a new crop to make them rich, or immigrants looking for a better place to live and raise their children, all are given a chance to achieve the goals they have set for themselves in America. For example, when the Puritans came to America in search of religious freedom, they were given the opportunity to start fresh and practice their faith; most of them cherished this occasion and eventually achieved spiritual fulfillment. Of course, this achievement was not effortless: the Puritans demanded more strict doctrines and often fought among themselves in order to agree on such things. The main picture is that they were given the opportunity to fulfill their goal and whether they achieve it is not as important as the effort and dedication that was put into the cause. Using the opportunity, such as that given to immigrants, to better their lives does is important to achieving The American Dream. In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, we watch as Lenny and George work on farms and plantations in order to achieve more than the generation (Lenny’s Aunt) before them and to reach their main goal in life: work to earn enough money to purchase a home with a garden and various animals that they can raise and “to live off the fat of the land” by selling their crops. Though both men come from unfortunate backgrounds, they know the opportunity is there and can be achieved through hard work. Unfortunately, George and Lenny do not fulfill their American Dream; but they, and the readers, learn that a better life can be attained when given the opportunity. The American Dream cannot be defined clearly. Each person has his or her own dream. Some see it as owning a house or becoming a millionaire, while others define it as being able to read or to get a job. Society tends to associate this phrase with the amount of money a person earns or how many possessions they can acquire. The American Dream to others, especially immigrants, is a chance to succeed in a new life. The important fact is that Americans are given the freedom to decide what The American Dream is to them and the opportunity to achieve it.
I do believe that the opportunity to achieve The American Dream, whatever the definition of it may be, is more important than whether it is achieved. The great thing about living in America is that each person has the opportunity to do something powerful with their life, such as achieving greatest and happiness within themselves and their community.