It is possible to dream of living in a home, sending your kids to college, and being debt-free. But how realistic are these dreams today? Tully Cowan examines the realities of achieving such security in America, and how standards have fallen in the last 100 years.
The United States was founded by the first white settlers. They arrived in America looking to escape their past lives or, better yet, to find their American dream. They found freedom but needed money to succeed. This idea was a huge part of the mindsets of people in 1920. But is it still what Americans are striving for today?
The American Dream, which is one of the major concepts in The Great Gatsby’s novel, is relevant today because all of us strive to be financially secure in our modern age. F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby used a variety of techniques to show the American dream alongside other concepts in his novel.
T.J Eckleburg’s Eyes are an important symbol of the American Dream. Fitzgerald describes them as “brooding on over the solemn dump ground,” to show that they are symbolic of commercialism that is disappointed in the Valley of Ashes working class, who are most likely striving for the American Dream.
It is also shown in the line “Anything could happen now that we’ve crossed this bridge,” I thought. . . Without any special wonder, even Gatsby could have it happen. After Nicks observes three “modish Negroes” in a limousine on their way to New York City from his home, this optimistic illustration depicts the American Dream’s classic elements: economic potential, racial diversity and a carefree attitude.
Alex Gibney, the director of Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, was released in 2012. He also used a variety of stylistic devices and aesthetic features to communicate the idea of the down sides of the American dream. Gibney draws a parallel to Monopoly to prove that not everyone can become rich if they work hard enough.
Paul Piff, a social psychologist at the University of California, altered Monopoly to favor one player, imitating a real-life situation of income inequalities in the United States. Monopoly is a perfect example of the American Dream. Everyone receives the same amount of wealth, and only those who are fortunate and strategically can rise to the top. This is consistent with common American Dream beliefs. Piff’s version of Monopoly showed a more realistic view. One player had a higher starting point, which is indicative of how wealthy and privileged people are born.
Gibney uses a variety of shots to show the juxtaposition between the two areas that share the same name, Park Avenue. The two Park Avenues could not be more different, despite sharing the same name. Manhattan’s side features luxury cars and doormen with white gloves. It is a safe and clean environment.
The shots show a completely different view when they switch to a community with wired fencing, litter, and increased public transport. The Bronx is seen as an unsafe contrast to the Upper East Side. However, it is full of people who want the American Dream.
The novel also portrays the American Dream through some important characters. Myrtle Wilson is the wife of George Wilson and one example of a low-income person trying to become rich. She attempts to do this by becoming the mistress of Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man who purchases her gifts and an apartment in the capital. Her dream is not fulfilled, as Daisy, Tom’s wife runs Myrtle over outside her house, leaving her young and without the wealth she hoped for.
Gatsby on the other side lives a luxurious life and has all his financial goals met. He waits for his ex-love to return to him to complete his American Dream. Fitzgerald’s symbolism makes it clear that Gatsby is achieving his American Dream. In the line “… he extended his arms towards the dark water… I discerned nothing but a single green light …”, Fitzgerald depicts Gatsby reaching for something that is not in reach and portrays the American Dream as unattainable.
Fitzgerald convinces the audience with these characters that it was impossible to live the American Dream during Fitzgerald’s time. Gibney shares a similar idea, but he focuses on the difficulty of achieving this goal for people from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Only 60% of children from the most disadvantaged families work at the age of 30, while this compares to 80% for those from families with median income. Gibney extensively describes this notion in the documentary. It is evident that it is still hard to attain financial stability in modern times.
The novel is filled with Fitzgerald’s cultural beliefs, attitudes, values, and beliefs about the American Dream. Fitzgerald’s values are heavily focused upon wealthy people and the financial burdens that wealth can cause. Due to the tragic fate of many characters, he clearly shows that the American Dream should not be a goal.
This idea is extended by the author’s beliefs. They believe that unless you are born to success, the American Dream can never be achieved. This contradicts popular cultural assumptions of the time. However, they also suggest that if you work hard enough, you can achieve the American Dream. This encourages people to challenge the common belief that the American Dream is a negative dream.
He has a similar outlook. He makes it clear that wealth does not equate to happiness, even though his views strongly oppose this.
The documentary also shows Gibney’s cultural beliefs, attitudes, values, and beliefs about the American Dream. Director Gibney believes that success should be available to everyone, regardless of their background. This includes those born into wealthy families. His beliefs and attitudes are similar to Fitzgerald’s. They believe that the wealthiest people hold too much power in politics, which favors them financially. Gibney shared a belief with Fitzgerald that the American Dream was almost impossible to achieve, which aligns with society’s current cultural assumptions.
The concept of the American Dream, which has been around for just 95 years, is still relevant today. However, there have been many changes to how people see the dream. The American Dream today is less about living a life of abundance and more about being able graduate from tertiary education without much debt. It’s now about having the ability to secure a job that offers benefits, to be able afford basic healthcare costs, and still live comfortably. With some literature such as The Great Gatsby, societies became more aware of the challenges involved.
This idea is evident in the large number of immigrants who have come to America to find economic opportunities and jobs. The United States is the country with the highest number of immigrants. In 2016, 1.18 million legal immigrants were allowed to enter the country. It is possible to argue that immigration would drop significantly if the American Dream was not implemented.
This idea is extremely relevant today as many people believe they can achieve a common goal. It has a significant impact on decisions regarding job paths and living standards.
This concept can have devastating consequences for society. The goal to achieve success can lead to disastrous consequences. Gibney’s documentary demonstrates how those who have the political power to change programs in favor of the poor can do so by using their wealth. This is evident in the documentary’s line “…training, and education programs are being cut by both sides in favor of tax cuts for rich.
This can lead to an increase in crime and suicide rates. Those who earn less than $34,000 USD per year are 50% more likely to die from suicide. Similar trends exist for crime.