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The Meaning of Life - Essay

By jessecaxkeller11 May 16, 2011 659 Words
Mary Smith
The Meaning of Life
According to the definition at, the American dream is defined as “the widespread aspiration of Americans to live better than their parents did.”(WordNet) This term is often heard or uttered everyday whether you realize it or not. You typically don’t hear “American dream” everyday but you hear about people’s goals and achievements in life. The American dream has many perspectives. For example, the web definition is going to be completely different from a definition of an individual person, a community, or the nation at large.

First, when describing an individual’s goal, everyone has their own idea for themselves on what the American dream is. Most people’s goal of this dream is described as being a part of the working class, being able to raise yourself and/or a family, and setting a good example for others through everyday actions. One person’s dream always differs from another person’s because everyone has their own goals in life in which they try to achieve.

Next, a society or community’s perspective on the American dream varies from one’s self. Most societies would define the American dream as being able to give to others, living in a stable shelter, having a job, and providing a good attitude for others around you. Within a community, there are many people and to obtain this “dream” as a whole id different than obtaining one for yourself because you cannot control what others around you are doing. You can only convince them to do what is morally right. “We need a new spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together, or the American Dream will continue to wither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American.”(Clinton, Bill).

Then, you have the definition of what the idealistic American dream of the entire nation would be to be successful and be wealthy, to have peace, equality, and freedom, and to live in a safe and healthy environment. The nation’s dream is comprised of what every American should hope and strive for through interactions with others on a daily basis. Most people want taxes and gas prices lowered, for the hungry to be fed, and the poor to have money. “Traditionally, Americans have sought to realize the American dream of success, fame and wealth through thrift and hard work.”(Warshauer).

In conclusion, there is not one definition for the American Dream, only you can rationalize the idealistic life in which you feel all people should live. Of course many of the factors described could be in your standard definition, but not all would agree. Many people always say that the American dream is dead and not worth pursuing. If this is true, why do people feel the need to make it a big deal to have a high-paying job, many kids, and always give away everything? It is because everyone lives their own life and not one person controls another. As Martin Luther King once said, “Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.”

Works Cited
1. "WordNet Search - 3.0." WordNet. Princeton University. Web. 5 Jan. 2011. <>. 2. Clinton, Bill. "American Dream quotes & quotations." Find the famous quotes you need, Quotations. Think Exist. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>. 3. Warshauer, Matthew. "The American Dream." Arnet - Home Page of the American Studies Centre at Liverpool JMU. American Studies Resources Centre. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>.

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