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The Ironic Dream Essay

1896 words - 8 pages

From the birth of America, to American today, the driving force has always been the ultimate, “American Dream”. The notation of the American dream began in the New World. The horrific living conditions in Europe helped attract the population to the New World, where they hoped for better living standards. Also, the economic boom in the 20th century instigated the myth of, “rags to riches.” The philosophy of the American dream promotes the ability for everyone to achieve prosperity without any barriers. This includes education for each child and the ultimate opportunity to make individual choices regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or caste. This ethos began spreading, especially among immigrants who longed for such promise. However, it is yet to be determined whether this dream was an illusion which blinded people to leave everything they had and run towards the “land of opportunity” or a viable element which encouraged people to make use of the opportunities the New World had to offer. The question is in existence, certainly all dreams are an illusion however did this specific dream prove to be more than just that?
In 1931 James Truslow Adams defined the American dream in his book The Epic of America as, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” This idealized dream was certainly not an easy one to attain; it involved many hills to climb. Moreover, “Adams’s definition of the dream idealistically encompasses the elements of a functional democracy: social order, opportunity for everyone irrespective of the social rank, financial comfort, and public recognition” (Ştiuliuc, 1). A unitary definition of this ethos is non-existent. It holds its significance to each individual differently. There are infinitely many varying conceptions for this pursuit, however many define it merely as a quest for money. This holds especially true to a society that is highly dedicated to capitalism; a society where he who owns a car and a house can be differentiated from those who don’t.
The instigation of the American Dream began spreading ever so rapidly, prominently through story telling; “the American dream is a narrative of a collective or individual experience
that shapes and distinguishes the American nation” (Ştiuliuc). The notation of the “American dream”, the land of opportunity has spread across the globe, especially Europe even before one had experienced it. When America was discovered, accidently by Christopher Columbus he had described this land as if it was comparable to heaven. He “strongly believed that he had discovered a terrestrial paradise and people of all races dreamt of an imagined America, a land projected into myth, a space of all possibilities, comparable to the New Canaan, El Dorado, Mecca, and Arcadia. Thus the New World was invented before it was actually seen” (Ştiuliuc). Therefore, people across the globe had developed a vision for this...

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