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American Dream in American Literature - Essay Example

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American dream is a reality and at the same time an illusion. It is a reality based on the proclamation in the closing line of the American National Anthem "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
American dream was a revolutionist idea. It took shape as aspirations for religious freedom, equality, and an opportunity to succeed…
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American Dream in American Literature

Download file to see previous pages... Like William Faulkner and other southern writers, she wanted to escape her birthplace. Her longings - the longings of an adolescent's American Dream - are reflected in her novel through the autobiographical character Mick Kelly. Mick's tomboyishness, her musical aspirations, and her dream to escape small-town life parallel McCullers' own life. To Mick, violin symbolizes freedom and opportunity. But when she feels that she cannot buy violin, she wants make one herself. This is the epitome of American Dream as seen from an adolescent's perspective, and the struggle to achieve it. But her tragedy comes from the obstacles she faces.
The hot afternoon passed slowly and Mick still sat on the steps by herself. This fellow Motsart's music was in her mind again. She wished there was some place she could go to hum it out loud" ("The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. p. 53)
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby manifests the decay of the values of American Dream. Gatsby is Fitzgerald's alter ego. They are self-made men. They achieve financial success for the love of a woman: Gatsby to win the hand of Daisy, and Fitzgerald for Zelda. But they realize that material success is not happiness. Both realize that wealth cannot buy you dreams. Gatsby dies chasing his dream, Daisy.
In "Death of a Salesman," Arthur Miller's hero Willy Loman lives an American nightmare. Like Gatsby, Miller's Loman too feels that achieving financial success is the culmination of American Dream. He raises his two boys - Happy and Biff - teaching his version of American Dream as he learnt from society, but he fails to inculcate moral values. At one point, he defends Biff for stealing.

"Loaded with it. Loaded! What is he stealing He's giving it back, isn't he Why is he stealing What did I tell him I never in my life told him anything but decent things." (Death of a Salesman. Pg 41. Act 1)
Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" exposes how much the Americans have wavered from the ideals of freedom and equality as cherished by the early ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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