American Dream What's Wrong With the American Essay

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American Dream

What's wrong with the American Dream?

The American Dream is primarily associated with achievement and success. According to Hochschild, achievement and success can be individually defined as it can mean something different to each person. The basic tenant, however, is the notion that hard work yields favorable results, if you play by the rules. Further, the dream can be pursued by anyone despite his or her background, culture, race or personal history (Charon & Vigilant, 2009, p. 28).

Hochschild notes that there is an inherent problem with the American Dream; namely, that everyone can equally participate and can begin again. The myth and fantasy associated with this basic tenant is something that can be desired and sought after but not achieved. The American Dream is really a notion, ideology, or philosophy for White middle class Americans. It is not equally accessible for people of color, and up until recently, not nearly as accessible for women. Moreover, Hochschild argues that the "emotional potency of the American dream has made people who were able to identify with it the norm for everyone else" (Charon & Vigilant, 2009, p. 32). This double denial of the American dream makes it a social issue.
The second problem associated with the American dream that Hochschild points out is the notion regarding the reasonable anticipation and expectation of success. This assumes that equal opportunities are available for everyone and that enough resources and opportunities are available. All it takes is for the individual to 'pull him or herself up by their bootstraps' in order to achieve desired success. The point Hochschild makes is that there is no guarantee that dreams will be fulfilled, however, the distinguishing factor between the right to dream and the right to succeed is politically blurry and psychologically difficult to maintain (Charon & Vigilant, 2009 p. 33). The abundance or limits of resources also makes this a social issue. At present,….....

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