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The Changing Definition of the American Dream - Essay Example

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This essay will begin with the statement that the definition of the “American Dream” is central to Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poem, “Richard Cory,” because its speakers think that Richard Cory represents the American Dream because he is rich and cultured.  …
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The Changing Definition of the American Dream
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Download file to see previous pages The author's definition of the American Dream is one that is based on finding meaning in one’s life.  Richard Cory might have killed himself because he did not find his existence meaningful at all. The American Dream refers to material security, not necessarily prodigious wealth, and, more importantly, it concerns the meaningfulness that people find in their lives by having a fulfilling career and making the world a better place. The American Dream is about material security. The traditional American Dream is home ownership and having enough material things for comfort. In the article “John Zogby: The American Dream Redefined,” John Zogby’s survey reveals that people who see the American Dream this way are called “Traditional Materialists.” Materialists believe that the American Dream “meant some form of financial success: the acquisition of goods, a bigger house, a home with a piece of land around it and so on” (Zogby). This Dream is about the attainment of material goods that affects perceptions about the quality of life. The American Dream is not about being extremely wealthy, however, because people are already content with sufficient material security. Howard R. Gold, in “Price Tag for the American Dream: $130K a Year,” asserts that many people think that the American Dream is much simpler than being filthy rich. Thomas Hirschl, the co-author of the book Chasing the American Dream and a professor at Cornell University, emphasizes that, for some of the people they interviewed, the American Dream is “not about getting rich and making a lot of money. It's about security” (Gold). It is a dream of having enough to have a good life, not necessarily an extremely wealthy one. Finally, the American Dream represents the idea of finding meaningfulness in life by having a fulfilling career and making the world a better place. Some people think that the American Dream is about living their dreams that make them feel that life is meaningful. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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