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Copy of American Dream

Connecting Dan Harris' article, "Is the American Dream Dead?" with "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller.
by

Jessica Nordberg

on 1 May 2012

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Transcript of Copy of American Dream

THE TRUE AMERICAN DREAM The Initial Dream HOW DID THE AMERICAN DREAM COME TO BE? - "The Epic of America" (1931) by James Truslow Adams
- "American Dream of a better, richer and happier life
for all our citizens of every rank."
- This promotes equality and happiness for the society as a whole, or "the common good" EVOLUTION OF
THE DREAM THE DREAM OVER THE YEARS - Due to the rise of capitalism and consumerism,
the Dream began to evolve and become distorted.
- People began to have more materialistic wants.
- Americans started to feel that the Dream was cars,
houses, TVs and college degrees.
- This escalated to mansions, mortgages, stocks,
credit cards, etc. The Later Dream 50..........60..........70..........80..........90..........00.......... THE DREAM'S EVOLUTION IN
TELEVISION The Honeymooners The Brady Bunch Ozzie and Harriet Dynasty Dallas The Hills Gossip Girl Grubby tenement Lovely, modest home Even bigger home
+ Hawaiian vacation Mansions Spoiled THE GREAT RECESSION CAPITALISM'S IMPERFECTIONS - The economic crash of 2008 caused many people to lose their jobs and their money.
- This would come to be known as "The Great Recession" CAPITALISM AND CONSUMERISM - Are economic orders
- Involve privately owned companies that choose
the price and everything else about their products
- Are based around the tactic of urging society to want and buy more EFFECTS ON THE AMERICAN DREAM - Caused more "wants", people began to believe that
materialistic things were necessary to be happy
- Started with simple, reasonable desires; gradually shifted onto more expensive ones
- Are very similar to drugs: started off small; influenced by society; addictive EFFECTS OF THE GREAT RECESSION - Dan Harris begins the article by stating that 62% of Americans now spend less
- Other studies show an increasing number of people's dreams is simply to "be happy"
- The recession made people think less about materialistic desires, focusing more on happiness, thus "refreshing" the American Dream back to its initial state PATRICK WOJTOWICZ Who is he? - Mentioned in Harris' article, he is a prime example of how the American Dream is becoming less materialistic. Why does he matter? - After having major financial problems after the recession,
Wojtowicz's family "gave up vacation cruises, restaurant meals, new
clothes and high tech toys to become 21st century homesteaders".
- Now they raise pigs and chickens for meat, have a garden for vegetables, have disconnected their sattelite TV and radio and are installing a wooden furnace. PATRICK'S NEW LIFESTYLE - "The earn, spend, earn era has come to an end for us."
- "The idea of living a fuller, more satisfying life seems
simple to us now . . . Money, cash, credit, maybe they
don't matter. Maybe, just maybe, it is those things that
impede our ability to be truly happy." WHAT WOULD YOU PUT ON YOUR "AMERICAN DREAM LIST"? Stocks and mortgages did not make it to the list! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE YOUR AMERICAN DREAM? SO <
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