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American Dream Essay

2018 words - 9 pages

Kaylyn Flerchinger
Professor Harper
Iconic/ Ironic 9:45 AM
10 April 2013
The Contradiction That Lies Behind the American Dream
The American dream is the contradiction between the abstract ideas that a person assumes he or she will achieve in America and the concrete reality that exists in his or her life. The America dream is nothing but a vision that exists in a person’s mind, an intangible idea that can only be accomplished by what a person is capable of attaining in real life. The American dream is to live a healthy, happy life with a successful career, a loving family, and a beautiful estate in a family oriented community. While this life may exist for some people, the reality ...view middle of the document...

This idea becomes apparent when one considers several ideas. In the film Wonderland, director John O’Hagan depicts a community called Levittown as a deteriorating town with people who are going insane when it was built to be an inexpensive, attractively packaged version of the American dream. Secondly, in a film called American Beauty all of the characters live the ideal American dream lifestyle, but this dream does not make them happy, their rebellious, lustful, mischievous lives that don’t represent the American dream is what brings them happiness. Finally, in a chapter entitled, “The Great Leap Forward,” in Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris writes about all the luxurious items that he fantasizes will make him happy when in reality, all that he really wants is to be financially stable. All three of these texts serve as examples of how the American dream is a contradiction between the flawless vision of the perfect life and the reality. The American dream is more than just a dream, but what someone is actually competent of making of this dream.
In the film Wonderland, director John O’Hagan depicts a community called Levittown as a deteriorating town with people who are going insane when it was built to be an inexpensive, attractively packaged version of the American dream. In response to the post-World War II housing shortage, William Levitt developed and built Levittown for returning veterans. Levittown was a mass production of identical houses that accommodated approximately sixty thousand people. These GIs and their wives came from the war in search of their American dream, but with inadequate housing the dream was hard to find. The government turned to Mr. Levitt and the GIs were moved in as soon as possible, almost forced into conformity of Mr. Levitt’s idea of the American dream. The way the people of Levittown were forced into conformity conveys Moser’s and Watters’ idea that the American dream is a contradiction between abstract and concrete ideas because it shows that they people were only capable of attaining Mr. Levitt’s idea of the American dream, not their own. The people of Levittown adapted to Mr. Levitt’s idea of the American dream because it was all they knew and could afford at the time. The idea was to live normal lives in this town full of monotony, but normal was all but the reality. There is a man, for instance, who collects mail-order plates and dreams of bowling a 300 game, there is the woman who is convinced that her house is haunted by a ghost so she leaves tape recorders around to capture its call, there is a couple who are wood enthusiasts, and a former truck driver who is distressed by his neighbor's constant dog-walking. The abstract idea of expectations that Moser and Watters explain is shown through Levittown and everyone’s hopes of the ideal American life; the concrete ideas of the actuality is shown through their unusual lifestyles that Levittown has made for them. These ideas are...

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