The Notion Of The 'american Dream' As The Concept Appears In Various Works Of The Early 20th Century American Authors.

1191 words - 5 pages

The notion of the American DreamThe term, although often referred to and used, lacks precise definition. On the basis of J. T. Adams in the Epic of America, (1931) it is expressed as „the dream of a land in which life should be better, richer, and fuller for every man with opportunities for each according to his abilities and achievement.” A kind of Wonderland,where everything may come true – you only have to believe in it, work hard and your merits will be rewarded.OriginsThis image has both historical and economical roots. Among the subsequent flows of immigrants we can find the characters of the „American family Saga” – the grandparents who came from the „Old World” to exploit a new opportunity and in order to make their dreams come true, worked and suffered hard in order to support their children who – as the second generation - cherished the same old desires, shared the same motivation to create a better future. Their figure provides part of the origins of the American Dream. Another historical component is the fact, that „the Americans have regarded their country as a land of limitless wealth” and spread that image very quickly.As far as economic sources are concerned, these are in close connection with that huge abundance of resources I have already mentioned, as well as with the period called the „Roaring Twenties” and the Jazz Age – which, right after the first World War, were characterised by fast economic growth, booming industry – which made many people very wealthy very soon – and the accessibility of credit. The new emphasis was on buying, rather than saving, like in the times of the War. This was the period of fun, games and free love – the era of new beginnings. (Later, in 1929, the financial crisis finished all that).When speaking about the Jazz Age, we cannot avoid mentioning the literary reflections of the American Dream. There are numerous novelists and dramatists who were inspired by the topic, expressed and described it vividly, such as Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill. In the minds of many, Fitzgerald was the greatest author of his time. After many successful short stories and novels he came to Europe to write his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. (Published in 1924). Written in the heart of the Jazz Age, the novel depicts it flawlessly, portraying a society of sophisticates who bathe in the gold waters of Wealth and look down on the average.Fitzgerald’s main example of extreme wealth was Gatsby himself. Showing off his richness by removing many expensive shirts from his closet, we can see how much of that wealth is spent frivolously. Income disparity was a prevalent characteristic of the age and the differences of classes were significant. Despite the fact that many people believe that money can make you happy, Gatsby realizes that his fortune will not win his beloved mistress over. He...

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