Sometimes many similarities can be found between two completely different works of literature. The poem "I am Joaquin" and the short story "The First Seven Years" at the same time exhibit both contrasting positions and similar ideals. Even though "I am Joaquin" is told from Mexican-American perspective while "The First Seven Years" is told from Jewish-American perspective, similarities are found in both. They tell of the American Dream and of the two mentioned families' roles and influences as a means of attaining that dream. The roles of the families in these works and each version of the American Dream are based on the same ideals, but involve different methods.
"The First Seven Years" and "I am Joaquin" express the same versions of the American Dream in terms of what is wanted. The idea of both works is a better life for the future generations of the families.
Both selections also make it clear that the people involved desire a relief of what has been done for many years. "I am Joaquin" tells of a work with "no end". The people want an end to this tiring work they have done for years with no reward. Feld from "The First Seven Years" wants his daughter to marry someone who will make the shoemaker's next generation one that is not making shoes. Feld thinks that if his daughter marries a shoemaker, his dream will be ruined because she will not have a better life than her mother did. Therefore, what is wanted in both selections is not only a better life, but a new life as well.
Both works present different ways of realizing their similar versions of the American Dream. In "The First Seven Years" Feld makes it clear that education is the key to a better life rather than the hard labor he has gone through for many years. In the beginning of the story he wants his own daughter to go on to college because she shows promise. However she does not want to go. Defeated by his daughter's strong will he then wishes to "let her marry an educated man and live a better life." Conversely, in "I am Joaquin," hard work was thought to be the way to a successful life. The family has lived a life of hardships "and work and work" to which "there is no end." Although unsuccessful in their attempts, this was the idea of how the American Dream was to be realized.
"The First Seven Years" and "I am Joaquin" both speak of how a families role is to work is to better the life for generations to come. In "The First Seven Years," Feld has worked as a shoemaker for long enough to send his daughter to college during a time where few could afford to do this. Although his daughter declines, this shows that he has had her future in mind. In "I am Joaquin," the entire family has been working for years to try to better themselves. However, this selection tells of the sons (the future generation) dying instead of prospering. Both works also tell of the importance of love and hope shared within a family. Feld wants only the best for his daughter because he loves her and hopes she will have a better life than he and his wife have had. Despite the hardships of endless work and deaths, the speaker in "I am Joaquin" continues to share "joy, faith, and wishful thoughts" with his wife. These are the truly important things in life that both families view as a necessity.
Judging by these two selections, one can say that despite ethnic background, most people want the same things from life. However, people may go about achieving their goals in different ways. To succeed people must find which methods are effective and choose the ones that interest future generations. One also sees that we as Americans, amidst the desire for money, power, or whatever it is we are chasing, cannot forget who we are and what our parents have done to try to ensure a better life for us.