The American Dream (discussion of the problems that arose when trying to reach the American Dream, based on three films, "Citizen Kane", "Grapes of Wrath", and "Death of a Salesman.")

Essay by teenabean9University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2004

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If you are an American and if you have a family, a house and a car, a sufficient job with a good salary, you can be said to have reached the American Dream. The idea of the American Dream became popular when millions of people immigrated to America in search of a better life because America was the ideal image of success. At that time, a better life could mean a decent place to live, maybe some livestock and a piece of land to cultivate. The meaning of the American Dream means even now somewhat the same; have valuable possessions, a social life with high standards and respectful image of ones self. This came about through honesty, hard work, and determination, that anyone who was willing to make the journey could achieve the American Dream.

However, in time and after events in American history, the American Dream slowly drifted from the idea of spiritual and personal success, to personal success being something to strive for to show a hierarchy in social class.

The more material possessions one has, the happier one would be is the corruption of the American Dream, and that is the problem with the American Dream today. People have a roof over their heads, a car, food, and a family, but to some that just isn't enough, and the pursuit for more possessions in turn makes them feel more fulfilled. These people searching for superficial things in the American Dream do not truly achieve it.

This paper will discuss the ownership of the American Dream and the aspect of how the search for something better leads to the intangible and the never ending "pursuit of happiness." The readings of Thomas Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence," and excerpts from "The Live of Working Men and Women," as well as...