When Thomas Jefferson penned the unpretentious statements of equality and independence on which the United States of America was founded, he was obviously not anticipating the interminable methods that would mutate his arguments and instigate a period of unyielding materialism two centuries later. The initial pursuit of freedom, education, family, and stability – the American Dream - has become jaded by an almost instantaneous wave of things. No longer do individuals seek knowledge, enlightenment, or necessarily a family and a career to care for them. No longer is the American Dream the pursuit of happiness. It is the pursuit of objects. Society is gripped by the desire to acquire the latest gadgets and senseless knick-knacks. This altered state of the American Dream, though, is not as easily attainable as most think.
Primarily, it seems that Americans are raised with desirable mindsets that reflect the classic ideals of the American Dream – that is, the one which includes stability, education, and a family. However, it soon becomes apparent that their priorities are anything but straight. The Millennial Generation (current eighteen to thirty year olds), show a need for instant gratification. This affliction is undoubtedly the effect of atrocities like the Internet, the iPhone, and even microwaves. Of course, this generation does not consider the Internet and the iPhone to be atrocities. Seventy-nine percent of the Millennial Generation claim that the Internet has changed the world for the better. Owners of the iPhone say they “would die without it” (Crowley/Raton 37, 38). Microwaves prepare meals in mere minutes, whereas the parents of this generation literally spent “hours slaving over a hot stove” for their meals. The young adults of today are, to be brusque, spoiled, and their goals reveal that. Everything from information to communication must be directly at their fingertips, or it is considered out of reach. If something were to require anything comparable to effort or investment, they regard it as unnecessary.
Admittedly, this age group is cognizant of their flaws pertaining to financial management. The fact that seventy percent of Americans recognise that they have an “inability to save” may also contribute to the fact that eighty-three percent of them do not even designate home ownership as a top goal (Emerson n.pag.). Quite obviously, this also directly affects the number of adults living with their parents, which increased almost twenty-six percent in just four years. Not to mention that those few who are interested in having families are doing so later in life (Kurtzleben n.pag.). When considering this, though, one is led to believe the recent recession and other factors are the cause of the transformed opinions on the American Dream.
It all begins with education. According to the President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, “the cornerstone of fulfilling the American Dream has been getting a good...