Since childhood, we have lived to hear the phrase “The American Dream” and as an individual, I wonder whether this can be attainable or it is just a perception in our minds. The American dream has for long been deliberated and one just hopes of its existence (Samuel 45). Though some may express this issue as an illusion, it can become real if we only work hard towards achieving it. Every American has a dream to achieve their desired happiness in life.
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Defining “The American Dream”
“The American Dream” means living a better life. Americans have different opinions on describing this better life. Some want to be rich, others to be free, somebody else wants a ‘no tax’ system or wishes discrimination would end; we all have our own understanding of “the American Dream”. In the book The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams defines the American Dream as a life full of opportunities depending on one’s abilities and achievements. The main idea behind the author’s definition does not indicate material or monetary satisfaction but equality regarding social orders whereby everybody can freely practice what they are capable of regardless of the social class, race or gender (Adams 214).
Many people come to America from different locations hoping to fulfill their dreams. America is seen as a land of opportunities. But is this true? Many people in America feel that there is an assurance that this dream will soon come true and everybody will have an opportunity and freedom to be recognized, feel contented, become prosperous, gain power and ultimately achieve the dream of success. To achieve this dream, we are tempted to work long hours and try harder but we do not attain victory (Adams 215).
Different Perspectives of “The American Dream”
The issue of “The American Dream” was first introduced by James Truslow Adams in the book The Epic of America. Considering the thoughts of the author, we have different social classes, religions, races, genders, etc., and the moment people in America achieve opportunities and freedom regardless of these factors, then the dream will be successful. Thomas Jefferson declared independence and his dream was freedom for the white males. On the other hand, Martin Luther King also had a dream of freedom since he felt African Americans were not free (Adams 221). In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author writes that the idle rich should be eliminated. The dream of every American is different depending on the disturbing issues in a particular timeline (Fitzgerald 52).
Thomas Jefferson wanted freedom from the British for the white male farmers. He wanted equality among the British and the white men with land. He did not consider people of the lower class. He was discriminative, felt the white men were the representatives of America and did not fight for equality on the side of women and African Americans (Fitzgerald 81). Comparing the dreams of Jefferson and King, both have the same idea of equality but they should fight for equality for all people to ensure that despite being of different races and classes, everyone enjoys the dream of equality. The “dreamers” wanted to witness change and see America becoming a better place.
The perspective of Martin Luther is that African Americans are discriminated upon and mistreated (Adams 218). He felt that the they were poor and lived miserable lives. The nation should be united and opportunities ought to be created for all. The dreams of Jefferson, King and Fitzgerald have similarities though deal with particular social classes. Jefferson deals with the white men owning land, King with the African Americans and Fitzgerald with the idle rich.
My American Dream
Considering the tough economic times, my American dream is to finish my studies, get a good job, have a family and strive hard to ensure that I accomplish my needs as well as those of my family. This is what most people in the society aspire to and this connects me with the people in this social class. My dream entails change since my lifestyle will go a step further. Under the American dream, everybody hopes for a positive change in their lives and opportunities to prove their capabilities (Samuel 98).
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It is hard to achieve the American dream considering there are barriers that contribute to its failure. We dream of a society that can be free from discrimination and oppression. Considering that the American dream is based on issues in a particular timeline, it is our wish that terrorism can be eliminated as it aims at dividing people across religious backgrounds. Strategies to fight terror attacks cost lots of money and this money could be used to fight poverty. Furthermore, even the innocent are discriminated upon since they represent a particular religion that is connected to terror attacks. The American dream is complicated to achieve, though with the right people in power, we can achieve it through hard work.
Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print.
Fitzgerald, Scott, F. The Great Gatsby. London: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print
Samuel, Lawrence, R. The American Dream: A Cultural History. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2012. Print.