He says: ”The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” Even though the American Dream is defined, does it mean that it can’t change through the years? Or does it mean that the American Dream isn’t different from one another? When we talk about the American Dream, the first thing that pops into most peoples minds, is economic wealth. We think about movies like Forrest Gump, and the Great Gatsby, as a symbol on the American Dream. To cut a long story short; people who is born with social or economic obstructions, but who manage to work their way to the top, achieves wealth and live happily ever after.
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.
The term “American Dream” is a widespread term to describe the American way of life, but has yet to be coined as a term with an inflexible understanding, this means, “The American Dream” has a different meaning to every individual, although the basis remains the same for all. A simple explanation into “The American Dream” would be – to emigrate to America, settle down and become wealthy by working, and definitely not by being born into a rich family/nobility, this is achieved through equality of opportunity for it creates equal access to education and the job market, thus every individual has the same chance of success. To this underlying understanding of the dream, individuals add their own means to success, weather to gain wealth year-by-year or to become rich
Starting way back when in the 1920’s we see Fitzgerald take a stand with his book The Great Gatsby. This book is the perfect description and view point of the American dream in this time. Jay Gatsby was a poor child. Gatsby worked hard and made a life for himself in his giant house and billion parties. This was the American dream by wealth, popularity, and materialism.
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.
The term, “American dream,” was first used by historian James Truslow Adams. James stated that the American dream was, “That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.” Although the quote states a perfect definition of the American dream, this term can be interpreted in several ways. The American dream is reaching an objective believed to be unlikely to obtain, making a decision that could improve the lifestyle of future descendants, and setting goals that you want to accomplish. One of the various definitions of the American dream is achieving a dream that before was seen as impossible or unlikely. People feel that some careers or dreams are impossible or unlikely to be completed.
“The American Dream” is a double sided coin of both hope and faith that looks to the fulfillment of human wishes and desires. This idea started ages before with the existence of the puritans in Massachusetts "city upon a hill" in 1630, but it were never expressed as THE AMERICAN DREAM. Later on, this idea has been strengthened by Thomas Jefferson with the declaration of independence. In 1876 the writer Horatio Alger introduced for the first time (The American Dream) in his book titled Ragged Dick, It was a tale of a poor orphan boy in New York City who saved his pennies and worked hard so eventually became rich. It became as a model that through honesty, hard working and strong determination that anyone can make realize his dream in America.
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.
Daisy’s voice calls out to characters in the book. Gatsby so desperately craves a “better” and “happier” life with Daisy but this statement could suggest that the materialistic nature of Daisy’s own American dream calls out to Gatsby; that even to a man with Gatsby’s wealth greater material prosperity is an important part of the dream or perhaps this could be an indication that all manifestations of the American dream even ones where the dream is as simple as reclaiming a lost love are fuelled by greed; does Fitzgerald suggest that even Gatsby’s “incorruptible dream” is in fact corrupt? Alternatively this statement could be highlighting the fact that despite matching wealth Daisy and Gatsby are marooned in different sectors of society. The colour gold is often used in the novel as a metonym for prosperity and wealth: Gold meaning old money rather than the more modern green printed dollars. A better life with Daisy would mean joining the upper classes from which previously despite, his painstakingly
Freedom, opportunity and a better life. Regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. The American Dream, an ideal defined by James Truslow Adamas in 1931. Something Americans want to live by. A large contrast to what the situation was like for many people in the country.