The American Dream As Portrayed By Various Authors

2638 words - 11 pages

The American Dream can be traced to the Declaration of Independence which states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed…with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Jefferson). These doctrines are the foundation of the rights of all citizens in the United States. For over a century these ideas have drawn people from foreign shores to America, the land of opportunity, a place where dreams can be achieved. The very concept of the American dream is built upon the idea that whatever you dream can be made to happen because there are few government barriers place upon the citizens. It is deceptive in its name the American Dream; ...view middle of the document...

The traditional concept of rags to riches is not always the foundation of some people's dreams. In the novel The Great Gatsby, Gatsby’s dream is to relive his fantasy with his idealized former lover. He uses the rags to riches portion of the American Dream as a means to an end. He spends his life trying to gain Daisy’s love and subsequently a higher social status. To gain her affection he first had to show her that he was of the same social class as her. It was not her fault that she was not everything he wanted her to be, it was “because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion” (Fitzgerald 95). Gatsby dreams had gone “beyond everything” (95) because he spent his entire life and compromised his morals to make the money he needed to impress Daisy. It was impossible for him to gain her affection though because of the concept of old money and new money, though such distinctions are much less relevant in today’s society. He could not win her over regardless. After Tom uncovered the truth about Gatsby’s past and he denied it to Daisy, she drew “further and further away into herself, so he gave that up and only the dead dream fought on” (Fitzgerald 134). On the other hand, Willy Loman values being well-liked, which he measured in the amount of items he sold. He admires David Singleman and thinks there is nothing more satisfying than being able to “be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people” (Miller 61). Willy is hyper-focused on the legacy that he leaves, and he believes this to be possible through the profession of a salesman. The people with whom he does business need to love him so that when he dies, he can have a grand funeral in his remembrance. He believes that this will be true even when contemplating suicide with Ben. Due to the infinite variations of the American Dream, though all stemmed from the hope of bettering oneself or one’s position, suggest there is no single clear-cut formula for the Dream low.

When a dream goes unfulfilled, the way that people react to it defines how they will end up. For example, Papa in the poem “David” comes to America because he wants to "uncover those buildings" (Fisher) from the stone. His inability to follow his dreams is a result of the job he is given, which leads to his being “sealed in” (Fisher). The dream that Papa had was not one that he could act upon, and he died completely unsatisfied. Another dream that was not achieved is Gatsby’s. His whole life revolves around Daisy, she is his everything. He needs her love to survive. Although he did not commit suicide, he became upset when Daisy did not enjoy his party, and when things became awkward and other similar things. When a person has put all of their faith into one dream, they are likely to be upset. Another example of a person whose life has been devoted to one thing is Willy. He had a high probability of being disappointed...

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