The American Dream In Easy Rider

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The 1960’s was a revolutionary decade in America full of rebellion and individuals finding themselves. During this historical decade, there were two films made, one was West Side Story and the other one was Easy Rider. Both films possess the overriding theme of the American Dream embedded in the film. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the American Dream is “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.” Throughout the films, you can presently see what the characters’ dreams are through dialect, music, dance, and conflict as well as the means and methods they go through to achieve them. The American Dream in both…show more content…
Similar to the characters in West Side Story, the American dream for them is freedom. There are many components in Easy Rider that represent this theme, including their decisions, the way they carry themselves, and their appearances. The American Dream of freedom is presented early on in the film by Wyatt and Billy’s appearance. Billy is dressed in western apparel, loose fitting clothing, and long hair. The length of Wyatt’s hair is also considered long for that time period. Their appearances fit the description of a “hippie” in that decade. Their appearances caused them to be judged and stereotyped in several of the locations where they stop, especially the small restaurant in Louisiana. When they enter the restaurant, they are faced with many looks and remarks, including an older white man saying, “I think we oughta put them in a cage and charge admission to see them…Look like a bunch of refugees from a gorilla love inn.” As if this was not enough judgement, the waitress at the restaurant refused to serve them, which results in Billy, Wyatt, and their companion George leaving. Later that night, the three men are beat by a group of people that appear to be the same men from the restaurant earlier that day. The beating left a couple cuts and bruises for Wyatt and Billy, but it ultimately led to the death of George. Their individuality in the way they chose to dress and uphold themselves resulted in a lot of criticism and stares throughout the film, and dictated the way they were treated by many of the people they faced on their

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