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The perception of work in society has been changing significantly throughout history. Once, it used to be the equivalent of “exploitation”; at another point, it was interpreted as the only way to reach the so-called ‘American Dream’. The latter would symbolize the wealth and prosperity gained due to one’s diligence and ambition. The opportunity to test one’s abilities and succeed has always looked attractive, both to Americans and those who come to this land in search of a better life.
The question, meanwhile, arises regarding the concept of this dream and its main attributes in modern reality. It is, likewise, interesting to know whether this dream is equally available to natives and immigrants. Lastly, the question is whether this dream is worth the struggle or is it just a vague image skillfully employed by the mass media? Thus, the paper at hand is devoted to the analysis of the American Dream, its modern interpretation along with the myths and prejudices that typically surround this problem. Particular focus is put on the value that this dream implies for immigrants.
Core Theme and Related Questions
In the global context, America has always been the country that offers the most promising prospects for new-comers. Hence, numerous books and films have been released that elucidate stories of people coming to this new land and beginning their lives from scratch. The core value of this dream resides in the fact that it is supposed to be equally accessible to everyone, notwithstanding his or her social position, ethnicity or cultural background.
It would be fair to say that, even nowadays, it is the dream that makes thousands of people leave their homeland, cross the ocean and plunge into a new environment; the image of which is widely distributed by the Hollywood film industry.
At this point, a question arises concerning the basic elements that make the concept of the American Dream so attractive. In addition, according to its name, the American Dream is, first and foremost, supposed to be a privilege of the natives; thus, it is unclear whether immigrants are still welcomed to share this benefit. Moreover, the media’s active distribution of this theme makes it problematic to distinguish fiction from reality. Otherwise stated, it is no longer evident what real outcomes an “American Dreamer” should basically target and which hopes it would be more rational to put aside.
Sandy Close and Richard Rodriguez discuss the main aspects associated with the American Dream in their recent interview. Their conversation elucidates some important background points. Hence, for instance, the famous writer believes that the concept of the American Dream has changed throughout time, so that now there is only the catchy slogan left while its content has faded away. Rodriguez explains that the entire idea was based upon the immigrants coming to start a new life in the USA, though, at a certain point, Americans would decide that the mission was accomplished, and they needed no more new-comers. According to the writer, this was the turning point, after which the American Dream would cease to exist (Sandy and Rodriguez par.3).
Another critical problem elucidated in the interview is the different value that the American Dream holds for natives and immigrants. Thus, Rodriguez assumes that in immigrants’ visions, the realization of the dream resides in moving to the USA and beginning a new life, while natives expect some particular benefits – money, social status, etc. From this perspective, the natives are evidently more disappointed with the dream than the new-comers (Sandy and Rodriguez par.7).
However paradoxical it might seem, immigrants, appear to be more successful in terms of achieving the American Dream. In fact, it might be said that it is due to their efforts that the American Dream still exists as a piece of reality. Thus, for example, Daphne Mallory describes two stories of immigrants that illustrate that the concept has not lost its initial value. According to the journalist, Louis Krubich and Robert Haidari are typical examples of successful American Dreamers – both arrived in the USA in the hope of quick career growth, and both became successful entrepreneurs (Mallory par.1).
One of the young men believes that entrepreneurship is “the only way to truly achieve the American Dream” (Mallory par.14). This remark supports the idea that immigrants are still attracted by the American Dream; more than that, they have a clear vision of how to achieve it.
Now that society has become more mature, the concept of the American Dream has acquired new connotations. Octavio Blanco’s article shows that today, people tend to get interested in positive outcomes that their work might bring both to them and society. Thus, Blanco reveals the story of young Akbar, who not only managed to realize his American Dream but is also determined to help others achieve the same results (Blanco par.6). This story illustrates that it is immigrants that support and cultivate the American Dream rather than the natives themselves.
At this point, I would like to refer to my own “diary notes” that I made in relation to my work experience in America. The notes describe my work for different charity communities. From this perspective, they are very close to the interpretation of the American Dream that Octavio Blanco provides in his article. In fact, my diary is an attempt to represent a brief and concise overview of an immigrant’s perception of the American Dream, within which the main value is placed on sharing it with others.
The analyzed texts are closely interconnected as they try to address one and the same problem each in its own manner. Hence, for instance, Rodriguez’s assumption that immigrants are more successful in realizing the American Dream is based on empirical evidence in the stories that Daphne Mallory and Octavio Blanco describe. Each text supports the idea that the American Dream is alive and, most importantly, it still inspires thousands of new-comers to improve their lives.
It is curious how smoothly the texts drift one into another. Thus, Rodriguez provides a general analysis of the problem of the American Dream and discusses its value for immigrants. Daphne Mallory, in turn, contributes to the common discussion by elucidating real-life examples to support Rodriguez’s assumptions. The story of young Akbar develops the core theme; meanwhile, the problem acquires some new connotations – the story points out how important it is to share the benefits of the American Dream with others. Finally, my own notes provide some extra examples of the shift that has occurred within the value concept of the American Dream – it is not only personal benefits that constitute its basis but the common wealth as well.
Therefore, these texts emphasize the importance of the American Dream, that is critical not only for natives but for the global society as well. Each of them might serve to be the rebuttal of the widespread hypothesis that the American Dream no longer exists or that it has changed its basis significantly. Lastly, they show that the stories about the giddy success immigrants achieve on the new land are not a mere falsehood distributed by the Hollywood film industry, but a fact of reality.
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The problem under discussion is particularly significant now that there is an evident shortage of morally supportive and inspiring concepts that would encourage people to bring positive change to the modern world. The American Dream, despite all the allusions it might be surrounded with, is a powerful motive for thousands of people to move on and struggle for success. Thus, it is especially critical that both immigrants and natives support this concept with the help of their hopes and efforts.
The analysis of the problem has shown that the concept of the American Dream remains important in the modern world. Despite the insignificant changes in the social attitude towards this concept, the core principles of the American Dream are still equally interpreted by thousands of people. Moreover, it seems that the idea has acquired some new implications throughout history. Thus, many people today are concerned not only about achieving the dream and satisfying their own ambitions but making the dream accessible to other people as well. This change suggests that the concept of the American Dream will keep being elaborated and improved in response to the surrounding reality.
Blanco, Octavio. My American Dream: Offering Legal Help to Other Immigrants, 2016. Web.
Close, Sandy, and Richard Rodriguez. Q&A: What is the American Dream? 2014. Web.
Mallory, Daphne. 2 Immigrant Entrepreneurs Who Prove the American Dream Endures, 2014. Web.