American Dream

Everyone has a dream. Everyone has an equal opportunity to live the American Dream. If one were to ask someone what the American Dream was, they would say something like lots of money, a happy family, a good paying job, something everybody dreams of having, the “perfect life”. In all reality, the American Dream is the success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.

        The Great Gatsby is a sad love story in the beginning, but it’s mostly understood as a downbeat judgment of the American Dream. In the novel, Jay Gatsby overcomes his poor past to gain an incredible amount of money, and a limited amount of social stock in the 1920s (New York City), only to be rejected and frowned upon by the “old money” crowd. He then gets killed after being tangled up with them. Through Gatsby’s life, Fitzgerald evaluates the idea that America is a meritocracy where anyone can rise to the top with enough hard work. “But I didn't call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone--he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald 3). The first glimpse of Jay Gatsby, one can see him reaching towards something far off, something in sight but definitely out of reach. This image of the green light is often understood as part ofThe Great Gatsby’s reflection on the American Dream. This is one example of Gatsby foreshadowing upon his unhappy ending and what makes him a dreamer, rather than people like Tom or Daisy who were born with money and didn’t need to strive for anything because they just get life handed to them.

        A Raisin in the Sun is a play that focuses on the American Dream and one’s understanding of a “better life”. Each character in the play has their own view on what that dream is and what they want a better life to be. Hansberry pinpoints the importance of achieving one’s dreams regardless of the various harsh struggles in life. Mama has dreams of providing her family with a better life she and her husband ever had. Mama said “Lord if this little plant don’t get more sun than it’s been getting it ain’t never going to see spring again”(Hansberry 1.1.73).The plant symbolizes Mamas dedication to her dreams. Every morning she tends to her plant and explains that even though it doesn’t get the amount of sunlight that is needed for the plant to remain alive. This is saying that even though her dreams have been deferred throughout her life she still keeps them alive and strives to achieve them. Mama decided to put a down payment on a house in a white neighborhood knowing that this would keep the family together.

        All in the Family is a 1970s sitcom that concerns the domestic life of the Bunkers, a lower-middle-class white family living in Queens, N.Y. The protagonist and source of much of the humor was Archie Bunker, a vocal and prejudice blue-collar worker. Archie, an ever-grouchy social conservative, holds a nostalgic view of America and sees his way of life threatened by the rise of ethnic minorities, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Jews. Even though his former neighbor was Jewish, he never knew it. Archie and his family do although have colored friends, there is still one moment that occurred when Archie says “ The Coons are coming!”While grateful to have such a welcoming and friendly fellow in his neighborhood, he is still bothered by the color of Lionel’s skin.How is Lionel and the rest of his family supposed to feel comfortable moving into a new neighborhood if they are being looked at and talked about differently than others? They have the right to be themselves, and the right to freedom just like everyone else. So why can’t the family move into their new home without feeling different or trying harder to fit in?

        In conclusion, Americans live their lives dreaming of the future. The American Dream is the freedom to act, freedom to take responsibility for one’s actions, freedom to pursue one’s dreams and life goals, freedom to choose one’s destiny. Live life to the fullest and live it with freedom, hope, faith, and prosperity. Live your dream. The American Dream.