The Evolution Of The American Dream

1735 words - 7 pages

Comparing the perspective of the American dream in the 1920’s to the American Dream in the 1940’s and present day seems to be a repeating cycle. The American dream is always evolving and changing. The American dream for present day is similar to the dream of the 1920’s. An Ideal of the American life is to conform to what our society has determined is success. Money, materialism and status had replaced the teachings of our founding fathers in the 1920’s. A return to family values and hard work found its way back into American’s lives in the 1940’s. The same pursuit of that indulgent lifestyle that was popular in the roaring twenty’s has returned today for most Americans, ...view middle of the document...

Daisy was from a wealthy family and she believed that wealthy girls did not marry poor boys. Gatsby believes that his ostentatious life style would impress and win Daisy away from her husband Tom Buchanan. Tom’s family had been wealthy for years, they would be considered “old Money” Gatsby’s ideas were a common theme in the 1920’s. The accumulation of alot money was the answer to everyone’s problems. Lavish lifestyles and living on borrowed money was part of the American dream. Americans had lost sight of what their ancestors considered important when they decided to believe the lies that money would make them important, happy and solve all of their problems. Family values and hard work had been replaced by indulgence and gluttony in the area of money. Many people in the 1920’s threw away any moral values that they had learned and from their parents. They wanted to live like there were no consequences for their actions. Chasing a dream of wealth and superficiality. Unlike people in the 1920’s, families in the 1940’s returned to a hard working, frugal way of life.
Not only did The Great Depression change American ideas, the beginning of World War II changed ideas of the American dream. They had seen what living on verge of a complete financial meltdown after the crash of the stock market in October 13, 1928. Americans saw what living on credit, and only living for materialism and money could leave them with. After the Great Depression and the on set of World
War II, Americans were returning to hard work and family values. Many families had family members and friends serving over seas in the war. They were desperate to receive a message or letter from a son or husband who had been sent over seas and was not coming home for the holidays. As seen in a painting called “Freedom from Want”, by Norman Rockwall, extended American families made up of different ages are gathered around the Thanksgiving table, enjoying family, friends and being together. Even the colors of this painting are pale and soothing. It shows a return to family and the pursuit of happiness but not happiness through loose living and materialism, but happiness through being in a close-knit family and enjoying their time with loved ones. Money was not the focus, comfort and family were. The painting shows a return to the American ideals of our founding fathers. The idea of the American dream is always changing. In the 1920’s the dream was living for the moment, self-indulgence and self-serving. In the 1940’s the trend for the American dream was more focused on hard work, living below your means and following simple rules like the Ten Commandments taken from Exodus 20:1, from the bible. The tenth commandments says it all in this area, “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's”(Holy Bible, New Independent...

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