The Idea of the American Dream

Topics: United States, Happiness, American Dream Pages: 6 (2495 words) Published: October 1, 2008
The American Dream
What is the American Dream? Is it even attainable for the average citizen? Everyone has their own opinions on how they view the American dream. It can be different for almost everyone when you take into consideration their gender, age, nationality, and the transition of this idea between each generation. Can we obtain this dream by having a big house, luxury items, a non dysfunctional family, and the perfect job one would never complain about? Or is it simply what our nation is told by authorities such as parent figures and the media? Most people would consider this fantasy as the "perfect life" which, most comprehend as going to college, getting a good job, making a family, and having more money than needed. This idea of the so called perfect life is thought of as the universal dream for Americans. This dream is thought of as the pursuit of happiness, but this idea is no longer a selfless goal. Instead, the pursuit of happiness has transitioned into a self-serving fantasy for most Americans. This transition of the American dream has caused most people in this nation to lose focus on what is really important in our lives and brainwashed us to believe the allusion that possessing material items will bring us happiness. Many immigrants who reside in America have the idea that the American dream is escaping poverty and simply living a better life, while other immigrants and main stream American society view America as a place of opportunity to become more successful financially. The idea of the American dream and the pursuit of happiness may be universal for mature Americans, but completely different for other types of people according to their age, gender, nationality, and historic generation. People who were the supporters of their families over 50 years ago had only one idea of happiness, and that idea was a goal to make sure their was food on the table and a roof over their heads. That simple dream no longer exists in the majority of America. Now the type of happiness is different between age and gender. People of different ages have different desires. As people get older their needs are not as materialistic to a degree, but more focused on what makes them comfortable. When they mature they realize that materialistic items are a waste of money and focus more on how they should spend their money more wisely on things that could actually benefit their needs such as health care. Their happiness comes from feeling secure and comfortable. Although a child may not realize what the American dream is, they live it. They focus on what new toys they are going to get whereas adults focus more on their career. Men and women also view the American dream differently. For many men it’s more about ego, having the “macho” image, and driving the hot car. Men want to have a certain image that every other man would desire to have. . On the other hand, many women who have children are more focused on how they look as a mother. They want to be seen as the perfect mother with the smartest and most talented children. Aside from those ideas of the pursuit of happiness, people from different countries have the most legitimate idea of the American dream. The idea of the pursuit of happiness is an altered dream for those of different ethnicities and those who are born in America. Michael Schudson states that, “[i]mmigrants have an American dream knowing hardly anything of the US—except that they will find opportunity there, abundance and a chance to share in it” (1). They view the American dream as an opportunity to enhance their style of living, become a free independent person, and have equal opportunities. It allows them the opportunity to achieve more prosperity than they could in their countries of origin. Whereas, those who are born in America have a completely different understanding of what the American dream is. This dream to American society is making money so we can buy things that we think will make us happy. A clear...

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