American Dream Term Paper

Total Length: 1150 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 5

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American Dream in the context of Gus Van Sant's 1997 film "Good Will Hunting"

There has been much controversy with regard to the American Dream during recent years, as people appear to be more and more hesitant about accepting the fact that it exists. "Good Will Hunting" stands as a perfect example concerning a person who feels fed up with promises associated with living the American Dream and simply wants to live life the ways that he feels is best. While the film also emphasizes how a person can fail in taking advantage of the opportunity to live the 'American Dream', it also makes it possible for viewers to understand that people should actually focus on appreciating things that actually matter instead of being obsessed with the material aspect of the dream.

The protagonist's name, Will, is basically meant to emphasize his main problem -- his lack of will. "He lacks the desire to leave behind his working-class life in South Boston and take up the sort of white collar position that his talent puts within his grasp." (Robbins 88) Even with this, as the film's storyline progresses, viewers gradually come to consider the idea of the 'American Dream' and whether it is really worth to fight for it. Will and his therapist, Sam, both have significant issues and the former actually seems to be regretful as a result of his social status. The moment when he refrains from providing his lover, Skylar, with more information about his past demonstrates that he feels disadvantaged as a result of having failed to 'live the American Dream'.

There are numerous examples throughout history showing that the American Dream can destroy people's lives and that it can make it impossible for them to see the bigger picture.
The fact that it promotes material values as the main ideas that people should think about if they want to be happy practically influences individuals to ignore the several things that actually matter in life, such as love. F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is certainly one of the best examples pointing toward the belief that the 'American Dream' can ruin people's lives by making them chase false values. When considering the protagonist in Fitzgerald's book, it seems that this character shares a lot of features with Will Hunting. However, Nick Carraway has to go through a complex set of events in order to take on attitudes similar to Hunting's. It is practically as if "Good Will Hunting" goes at having people understand that fame and fortune are not the only important things in life. People should instead concentrate on concepts that actually matter in order for them to feel good about themselves and in order to avoid entering a world where individuals are obsessed with material values.

What is intriguing about Will is the fact that he is not interested in things that concern most people. His friend Chuckie perfectly contrasts him when considering that he seems to believe that Will would practically insult him and others like him by not embarking on a journey to experience the American Dream. While Will eventually comes to leave his neighborhood and his life as a working-class individual, he seems to have a particularly complex understanding of life and does not simply want to waste his life on values that he does not believe in. There are a series of differences between Will and Chuckie, but the former's ability to detect….....

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