The American Dream Essay

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THE AMERICAN DREAM * Suggests that anyone in the US can succeed through hard work and has the potential to lead a happy, successful life. * The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American. * A life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S. * The idea of an American dream is older than the US, dating to the 1600s, when people began to have all sorts of hopes and aspirations for what was a new and largely unexplored continent to European immigrants. * In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. * The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." * The term is used in popular discourse, and scholars have traced its use in American literature ranging from * the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, * Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), * Willa Cather's My Ántonia, * F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) * Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy (1925) * Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon(1977). * Other writers who used the American Dream theme include Hunter S. Thompson, Edward Albee, John Steinbeck, and Langston Hughes. * The American Dream is also discussed in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman; the play's protagonist, Willy, is on a journey for the American Dream. * Ownby (1999) identifies four American Dreams that the new consumer

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