1. BiddyLowe_
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    BiddyLowe_ New Member

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    The American Dream [Discussion]

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by BiddyLowe_, Oct 12, 2009.

    In my novel, my character does not believe in the "American Dream", although his parents do.

    Just as a discussion, what do you believe is the American Dream--IF there is such a thing--and why?
     
  2. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mom, apple pie and Ernest Hemingway!

    ;)
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    A mythos created of an ideal that was written by men with the very best of intentions and hopes for what would come, but with a rather innocent concept of human nature.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I find it kinda funny that you mentioned Hemingway...the Hemingway I've read is pretty antithetic to the idea of the American Dream...
     
  5. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The American Dream is the myth that you can have it all in America. It is the mythos, the stories, the fantasies that immigrants had about what America was like. The stories all say that things are wonderful in America. Everyone is right. The streets are paved with gold. It is also, for Americans the idea that you can have the humblest beginning, but in this country you have the chance to rise above them and become successful. There are just enough examples of people who have done that to make the idea stick around.
     
  6. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose the "Mom and apple pie" bit didn't give away my attempt at humor then?
     
  7. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Mom and apple pie are the American Dream...therefore I thought you were being serious....
     
  8. 67Kangaroos
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    67Kangaroos Contributing Member

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    it's easy for americans not to believe in the american dream

    however, immigrants (particularly from developing countries) see the american dream: you can work hard and pull yourself out of poverty in america. whereas, in the home country, working hard gets you nowhere - you can have a college degree and salaried still only about 100$ a month, and in america, you can work a minimum wage job and have enough money to put food on the table and enough to send home so that relatives can eat as well (and go to the doctor).

    ((edit: in some developing countries, if you don't have the money to pay up front, then you don't get treated at the hospital unless you're dying right then and there))

    americans expect to have the decent house/apartment and a car (which is why we can't believe in the american dream -- i have a college degree and a job that requires a degree, but i don't make enough money to afford a used car and an apartment and still have enough to eat on.. then again, i eat the same as four people...)

    hope it helps
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "American Dream" is about freedom to achieve.
     
  10. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would disagree. First of all, that way of thinking died in the 1950s; secondly, even then, that wasnt the case, and very few people lived the picturesque lifestyle we see in old 50s movies. (Check out The Way We Never Were by Coontz, for further analysis. Very good book.)

    Additionally, it's not a dream for wealth or acclimation of material goods. The American dream is an ideal land where people have the opportunity to reach their full potential, however a person chooses to define it.

    Do I believe the American dream exists? Certainly, but that doesnt mean I think it can be attained. It's just as it can be literally interpretted --it's a dream, a myth. I agree with Kangaroo, Wrey, and Carmina. The American Dream is an ideal, far from a reality. It's easy for those of us who live in America to understand this, because we actually live it and we can determine the difference between the dream and what it's really like.

    The American dream lives on, mostly outside of the country then, and I think it has a great effect on our immigration rates. People seem to think that America is a land of opportunity and prosperity, and in many cases it is --or was. For instance, before China's cultural revolution, many Chinese definitely saw this as a land of opportunity and prosperity. In other countries, this is still the case.

    I think American values versus values held in other countries also keep Americans themselves from realizing the truth in the dream. For instance, as Kangaroo pointed out, not all Americans can afford a car or can hold down a job or feed the family right now. We may forget that this is the case in many third world countries.

    It's all relative.

    Personally, I dont believe in it, although I can see the truth in it if I were outside the country looking in. I think the American dream is often perceived as a life without obstacles or persecution, and obstacles and persecution will follow you wherever you go.
     
  11. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    The American Dream is why I am here today, though frankly I have yet to catch the fervor that my parents had for it. I suppose there is still much time left to align my sights.
     
  12. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, understandable. The internet is not the best medium for humor sometimes.

    Anyways, a serious answer!

    At its simplest, the American Dream is what NaCl said: the freedom to achieve.

    And I sincerely believe, if started off at an equal footing, everyone could achieve something. Maybe not as directly significant as they would like to be, but significant none the less.

    However, it is that "equal footing" bit that is so tricky.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I had an American lecturer tell me that the American Dream died with Kennedy (in the context of a discussion about Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), but not being American myself I'm not too sure what to make of it.

    Any of you Americans have any thoughts about that statement? Agree? Disagree? Why? What did JFK meanto America?
     
  14. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it exists, but it's nothing special. It's just a glorified version of the country's popular culture. The only difference is that the American Dream affects the country's popular culture, whilst the equivalent in other parts of the world are affected by the country's popular culture, and as a result don't consider themselves to be important.

    Of course it exists. There are similar things in every country or nation in the world, and they surprisingly have the same sort of topic (although not always). But what it represents is subject to the changing opinions of the people, or even personal opinions if they're strong enough, so how people can claim it is the 'perfect society of America' I don't know.
     

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