The American Dream In Dreiser's The American Dream

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The American dream is a fantasy dreamed by the lowest in society. It is a myth that gives false hope to the people who are willing to dream for it. To believe that someone can rise from nothing into a life of luxury is like dreaming to win lottery, it is not realistic. There will always be people who achieve that dream, but they are one in a million. That is why the American dream is a myth. It is the belief that anyone can rise if they work hard for it. Dreiser challenges the American Dream. Clyde does everything he can to achieve what he desires, exactly what the American dream claims to offer. Dreiser shows Clyde’s true devotion to achieving his desire for success. Yet true devotion to achieving desire can manifest into something uncontrollable…show more content…
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. In a letter to his mother Clyde expresses his want for success: “I want to do something in this world. I want to be successful. I have only a fair place now, not as good as I had in K.C., but fair, and not in the same line. But I want something better”(Dreiser 164). Clyde…show more content…
Clyde starts in a very low class. David Lord explains the roots of these desires in his work, Dreiser Today. “It is undoubtedly true that poverty and social inferiority in childhood breed exaggerated views [...] when the individual is denied many things that he needs, [and] he sets greater store by those within reach” (Lord 234). Coming from a low class Dreiser presents Clyde being “denied many things that he needs” like success. Clyde’s childhood was of “poverty and social inferiority” lacking in money, beauty, and overall success creating “exaggerated views” of them. Gilbert looks like Clyde but is from a high, privileged class. Gilbert never experienced “poverty and social inferiority” so he never “breed[s] exaggerated view[s]” of things, people, concepts, or ideas. All the things that Clyde can’t stop thinking of, Gilbert takes for granted. Sondra and Roberta also mirror each other. Both girls find an interest in Clyde. Roberta, working in a factory, is from a low class. Sondra on the other hand is from a life of luxury like Gilbert. “Clyde sensing how enormous was the hold of this world on her — how integrated a part of it she was — and how, by merely too much insistence here and now, he might so easily cause her to doubt the wisdom of her primary craze for him”(Dreiser 469). Clyde
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