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Reality, Poverty and the American Dream: An Analysis of Two Course Readings - Essay Example

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Rather than taking a definitive stance on the issue of the American dream and stating that it is categorically dead or completely alive within the system, this research piece will review two of the readings that have been thus far required in class. These will include: “Serving in Florida” by Barbara Ehrenreich, and “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara. …
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Reality, Poverty and the American Dream: An Analysis of Two Course Readings
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"Reality, Poverty and the American Dream: An Analysis of Two Course Readings"

Download file to see previous pages Both of these stories integrate with what is the reality of the American Dream for many low-income and/or underprivileged families around the United States. Rather than seeking to state that these two particular stories are indicative of the experience that each and every lower income family within the United States may experience, the author intends on using these examples to illustrate the point that many of the problems that exist within the economic realities of the society of the United States exist seemingly outside the bounds of mainstream understanding.
The first of these readings which will be engaged with is that of Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Serving in Florida”. This piece is especially useful to understand due to the fact that it racks the actions, mental exhaustion, physical fatigue, frustration, hopelessness, and misery that necessarily follows many that seek to carve a life for themselves with few opportunities or little education. Although it is simple to merely utter that the American Dream is available to each and every citizen that seeks to expend the hard work necessary to realize it, Barbara Ehrenreich proves that the reality of the situation can oftentimes be far different than the ingrained cultural norm. As such, Ehrenreich first notes that the work is demanding, degrading, physically exhausting, and completely incapable of covering all of the bills that she incurs as a function of her long commute. Regardless of the fact that she rents practically the cheapest efficiency apartment money can find, she struggles to put food on the table and pay the high cost of commuting 30 miles each day. As a function of this very real and present reality, the author determines that she must necessarily take a second job in order to meet the extant needs that her financial situation engenders. This choice requires even more commitment, hard work, longer hours, and fewer and fewer hours of sleep and leisure (Ehrenreich 17). Ultimately, such a choice is not surprisingly exhibited on the health and outlook that Barbara experiences. This particular level of analysis is interesting and unique in the fact that it relates the true reality of what such a level of decision making and choice effects on the reality of life that Barbara must face. It is further enlightening that it is not long after she engages with working two jobs that she begins to become increasingly mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted; rapidly thereafter exhibiting symptoms of exhaustion. Though the piece is enlightening, it does not however pay a particularly close level of attention with regards to the lack of education that Barbara was utilizing in order to seek out employment. It is of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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