I think that 's uniquely American. In no other country do you have that opportunity. It 's not to say that everything will happen fairly and the way that you want. But I think that this is a country where that opportunity—to be as wild as you want, as generous as you want, as crazy as you want, as artistic as you want, that all of that, the whole range—exists. And we have a Constitution, a tradition, a culture that supports that.” Amy Tan, Academy of Achievement.
As American culture changes over the decades, so does the meaning of the American Dream. The American Dream, a term first coined in 1931 by freelance writer James Adams Truslow, was the theory that each person, regardless of their background, can work hard and get wealthy. It was a very idealistic way of thinking, but unrealistic for many due to inequality and individual aspirations. The literary works of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Luis Valdez’s “In Lak 'ech:You are my Other Me” and “Zoot Suit”, Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech “What has happened to the American Dream?” depicts how individuals from different decades in American history define the American Dream. As America evolves throughout the twentieth century, so does what people view as important, which adds on to what the American Dream means.
In addition, John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man in America and world during his time, has said “If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.” This quote of John D. Rockefeller made me research about his life and find out what are the motives that drive successful people. The other quote of John D. Rockefeller saying “The only question with wealth is, what do you do with it?”, made me realize that wealth motivates for short time. However, after achieving wealth giving it away is more important, and the goal should not be to gain wealth, but to bring good change in the society. “Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” is another quote of Rockefeller, but I believe that he did not hold on to this, since he was media shy himself and did not let people know he was doing the right thing. The non-stop advancement of technology, from the discovery of the oil in the 19th century till the discovery and usage of personal
Kane represents the ideal American man. He was born into poverty hence one of the unwashed masses, his family struck gold hence he became suddenly rich. He builds an empire taking risks and building himself up from a poor young boy to the holder of one of the biggest fortunes in the world. While on one hand Kane represents the American Dream, on the other hand he also is an example of how this dream is corrupted and perverted. Kane himself states that if he hadn’t become rich he might have become a great man.
The dream is represented by the ideas of a self sufficient man or woman, who is willing to do anything to achieve the goal of becoming successful. The Great Gatsby shows what happened to the American Dream in the 1920’s, a time period when dreams became corrupted for many reasons. The desire for a luxurious life, the hope for happiness, and the ambition for something unachievable and work together to ruin the American Dream. The Great Gatsby shows a time when the American Dream is failing, humanity is corrupting it by their wants of possessions leading to the all out demise of the American Dream. The desire for a luxurious life is what gets Myrtle into having an affair with Tom Buchanan.
Another way in which Gatsby symbolizes the dying American Dream is the main character 's life. In the beginning of the novel, Fitzgerald starts with Nick the narrator describing Gatsby. He says, “Gatsby turned out alright in the end; it was what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.” This is a direct reference to the American dream dying, because in that reason, that is why Nick moved back to the midwest because he moved to New York for the ambitions of becoming successfully, But this makes little sense because Nick’s family is already rich. During the civil war, Nick ancestor paid off some to serve for them in the Civil War on his behalf while he was making money. Showing the inequality of poor and the rich because many families were not able to do the same thing the Carraway.
In the book it is revealed that Gatsby had many troubles and hardships throughout his life. He grew up a poor child and then ran away to work for a man named Dan Cody. Dan Cody became like a father figure to Gatsby, however, Cody would eventually die and his wife would steal all the inheritance that would have been given to Gatsby. Gatsby leaves for the army, but before he leaves, he meets Daisy the love of his life. Eventually, in his life, he becomes one of the richest and most famous people in America; it many ways it would appear that he had achieved the American Dream.
Jay Gatsby’s life was a clear representation of the American dream. Gatsby came from humble roots and rose to be notoriously wealthy, but was still missing the reason for his wealth. Gatsby was willing to give up his family and even change his name to chase the girl of his dreams. To Gatsby, the green light represented his dream which was Daisy. To obtain her would have completed Gatsby’s American dream.
As the desire grows bigger it starts to take control of not only thoughts but also physical actions. In An American Tragedy Dreiser illustrates the highest degree of desire for success, and how it influences an individuals thoughts, decisions, and emotions, ultimately manifesting out of their control, resulting in dire consequences. Dreiser portrays the hold desire for success has on Clyde through his family connections. Clyde’s relationship with his close family is the only relationship he has that is made of love. Dreiser emphasizes that even with a bond of love, individualism wins out over family solidarity.
Willy cold heartedly believes in the American Dream which really messes with his life. The psychological of this vision for Willy blinded him is so many ways. This was hurrying his way of life as well as the people around him. Once Willy finally accepted the difference between the American Dream and his own life it becomes a little late. Willy directly connected his self-worth to the American Dream.