Obstacles To The American Dream

1542 Words7 Pages
In the short story America and I, the author Anzia Yezierska writes about a Russian girl that comes to America to have a chance to be successful. The Russian immigrant and many other immigrants who migrate over to America believe that it is the land of opportunity, where dreams become reality. She came to America to pursue the so called American dream, her dream was to be able to do the things she was not able to do in Russia, and to take advantage of opportunities that her family members were not offered. Yezierska has the Russian immigrant say that, “America was a land of living hope, woven dreams, aflame with longing and desires.” (Yezierska). This quote is a glimpse of how America is pictured by this new comer. She envisioned herself…show more content…
The Russian girl states, “Here I was with so much richness in me, but my mind was not wanted without the language. And my body, unskilled, untrained, was not even wanted in the factory. Only one of two chances was left open to me: the kitchen, or minding babies” (Yezierska). The Russian immigrant’s experience shows that in order to be successful in America one must adapt to its customs and practices. Eddy Isango the author of an online article titled Obstacles to the American Dream, quotes an immigrant named Laurent Kondohoma, “I’m here to learn English because the language is the biggest obstacle on my way to achieve my dream in America”, Kondohoma reveals that in order to attain the American dream one must learn the language of the dominate culture. According to Peter Salins, in his essay Assimilation, American Style, “Assimilation, American style has always been much more flexible and accommodating, and consequently much more affective in achieving its propose”, which is to conform to the American culture while keeping your native culture as well (Salins, 599). Some people claim that by having one culture you increase your chances of being successful they believe “Either Immigrants bring themselves “up” to the native cultural standards or they are doomed to live “out” of the charmed circle of the national culture”, but Salins states otherwise. Salins made it clear…show more content…
This family had a son who had his own vision of the American dream. The son stated that, “There were three things I wanted to do in my new incarnation” (Shteyngart). By him saying that he revealed that he saw them moving as a new beginning and opportunity to be a new person. His American dream consisted of going to Florida, getting a native-born girl, and having all his meals at McDonalds. The Russian family’s son wanted to assimilate to the American culture and he thought because they moved out of their hometown they would leave everything behind including their culture. In Shteyngart’s story the Russian boy said, “I considered the possibility of redeeming my dignity, of leaving behind our beet salad heritage.”(Shteyngart). This text could be interpreted as him thinking about disowning his heritage. The immigrant son also explains, “The silver coins stayed in my pocket, the anger burrowed and expanded into future ulcer. I was my parents’ son.” (Shteyngart). This quote describes how at the end of the story the son ended up sticking to his native culture even though he had the opportunity abandon it, he came to that decision because he realized his culture is what made him who he was and that his family is the only thing he has. Shteyngart’s and Yezierska’s short story demonstrates there is not just one version of the American dream, the American
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