American Dream

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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The American Dream Having a family and finding a nice place to rear children does not seem like an unobtainable goal in the twentieth century, but once it was. In the past, a nice home, two automobiles, and high social status was a dream that would ensure happiness for the common man. Their dream was of the American Dream, defined by Webster as "an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity." Currently, the American dream varies from person to person, touching every aspect of their lives. The authors, John Updike, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Cheever create characters, who pursue the values and ideals of the American Dream. Once the dream is obtained, they realize that the American Dream does not always guarantee personal happiness, acceptance, or contentment.

In the past roles for women and men were strongly defined, and even if their beliefs differed from these roles, they followed them anyway.

In John Updike's "Separating,"� Richard is a man who also like many others followed his assigned role, of providing for his family. This character does not just provide his family with the necessities for their lives, but also with many luxuries. Richard and his wife Joan have been married for many years, and have raised four children. Their children are no longer young, and they decide to break the news of their separation to them. As Richard and his wife discuss how tell their children Joan asks, "Do you have a better plan? That leaves you the rest of Saturday to answer any questions, pack, and make your wonderful departure"� (Updike 2436). The tone set by that statement gives the reader some indication that this separation may evolve into a divorce, and that Richard may desire to be somewhere else. What could make Richard...