When it comes to the topic the “American Dream,” most of us will it’s to each his / her own. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of agreeing to disagree. Whereas some are convinced that the American Dream is different depending on what one person make out of it, others maintain that the American Dream is the same and very much so reality. What actually is the “American Dream”? James Truslow Adams coined the term is his 1931 book Epic of America. Adams defines the American Dream as” that land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. While some believe the American Dream is an ideal of the past, I believe that the American Dream is still a possibility for all. The definition of the American Dream varies from person to person. No two definitions are the same, and there is really no right or wrong answer. My definition of the American Dream is to set goals to achieve that will help me accomplish a better life for me and my family: owning my own house, being in good health, having good friends who I can depend on in time of need, getting my degree so I can become financially stable, and not having to live paycheck to paycheck.
Someone else might look at my idea and say it’s crazy, but I have never focused on being rich. Personally, I don’t believe that being rich can make a person happy. It can only buy material things, but it can’t buy love and happiness. These are some of the things that all well-adjusted people want out of life. A college degree is a must in order to live the American Dream. Now there are some people who have achieved what they considered to be the American Dream without a college degree. Some of the fields of where those have been successful are in entertainment, skills trade, and agriculture. Still having a college degree is essential with today’s ever growing technology. However, people are finding it increasingly difficult to attend college because the cost of tuition and books are going up every year. After graduating students are having a hard time paying back loans that they take out because they can’t find employment due to the economy being in a bad situation. So they find themselves working in other jobs not pertaining to their field. Even though there are some who can achieve their American Dream without a degree. I believe the American Dream for most of us requires a college degree.
Bob Herbert, the author of “Hiding from Reality” believes that there isn’t much left of the American Dream. Herbert states that wherever you choose to look- at the economy and jobs, the public schools, the budget deficits, the nonstop warfare overseas- you’ll see a country in sad shape and we as a country are in denial about the extent of the rot in the system, and the effort that would be required to turn things around (564). He also states, “The wreckage from recession and the nation’s mindless destructive policies in the years leading up to recession is all around us” (565). Herbert’s point is that over the years Americans policies have not been effective and for the economy to fail, and its only hurting the people who are not well off. He comments on some of the causes, but Herbert does not assess blame for destroying the American Dream. Despite the tough economy people are still living their American Dream. In the article “Is the American Dream Over”, Carl Thomas states, states that “The American Dream has meant building a life based on the foundational principals that created and have sustained America for more than 200 years” (568).
He also states that the rules for achieving the American Dream may no longer be taught in and supported by culture, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work (570). Thomas is saying that rules do not guarantee the American Dream because there may be obstacles that can stop one person from achieving it. One rule that Thomas states is people need to live within their means, but some people cannot do that because their means are inadequate to their requirements. Thomas believes that overspending and over regulating government are things among others that have kept the poor from achieving the dream and that many remains locked in failing government schools, producing graduates who lag behind other nations in subjects that matter (569). Thomas does agree with Herbert to a certain extent. Herbert feels that the avenues to obtaining the American Dream in this country is impossible. Thomas recognizes that the way to the American Dream has been damaged, but if we work together as a country one can remove many of the obstacles that stands in our way of reaching our dreams.
In Brandon King’s article “The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold?” he believes that the ideas and values of the American Dream are still very much alive (572). King states “I would redefine the American Dream today as the potential to work for an honest, secure way of life and save for the future. Many liberal economists and activists say that the American Dream is dead, but I say that it’s more alive and important than ever and that it is the key to climbing out of the Great Recession, overcoming inequality, and achieving true prosperity. He also states that today most people do not strive for a rags-to-riches transition, and instead prefer a stable, middle-class lifestyle, one in which they can focus on saving money for the future and having secure employment (573). I agree with King because I work hard to provide a home and safe environment for my family. I want to feel secure in my life by saving money here and there so my children can go to college to pursue their American Dream.
Herbert, Thomas, and King made compelling arguments; however, I agree with Brandon King as I stated earlier in my paper that the American Dream for me is not complicated or extravagant. It is not necessary for me to have a lot of money as long as I’m comfortable, my family is healthy, I have a nice home, and I’m getting my degree. That is all I need to live my American Dream. We as the people in America live in a very diverse society, but goals and wants comes from all races. For many years, people have migrated to our country hoping to find education, freedom, healthcare, and better jobs so they can pursue their American Dream.
With America actually being seen as the land of assurance, I personally believe that with the recession going on that the American Dream is still alive and obtainable. Even though the economy is in a tight spot right now, some people believe that the American dream is dead and gone but, I believe if one is confident, know what they want out of life and willing to work hard for it, then there is no reason why one shouldn’t be able to achieve their American Dream. The economy has slowed many people progress, but some have maintained their lifestyle. In order to feel completely whole one need to have a spiritual feeling about oneself. In other words, one should feel good about all of their blessings that have been bestowed upon them. Every day is a struggle for some but if you have God in your life and pray everything is going to be alright. I was always told that hard work pays off, so if one wants to pursue their American Dream, one has to work hard at it. One will not only live the American Dream, one will be the American Dream.
Adams, Truslow James, “Epic of America”. Boston: Little, Brown, and, 1931. Print.
Herbert, Bob. “Hiding from Reality”. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. – 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 564-567. Print.
King, Brandon. “The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold?”. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. – 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 572-579. Print.
Thomas, Cal. “Is The American Dream Over?” They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. – 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 568-571. Print