Is the American Dream Still Alive the American Dream and the Individual Dream

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The American Dream/ The individual Dream

Once upon a time there was a mother, a father, one son and one daughter. They lived in a perfect two story house with a white picket fence and a tire swing. They also owned the cutest dog named Spot. Mr. Smith worked in an office and was the picture-perfect husband and father. Mrs. Smith stayed at home to give their children the attention they needed and take care of the home.

She wore the most beautiful sundresses and always looked flawless. Little Jimmy and Sally were the perfect children and students. In the 50’s the American Dream was this perfect image of family and home. Does the American dream still exist? Is it still the perfect image of home and family? I believe the American Dream is alive and well, but it has evolved over time and looks different in each of our eyes.

Some of us may hold similar dreams along the lines of happiness, success, love, fame and wealth but different at the same time. Today I want to show that the American dream is still something we all hold onto so dearly even if we don’t realize it. Immigrants come to American wanting the American dream but it looks different to them compared to me or even the guy sitting in this coffee shop across from me. I will be introducing you to the thought that the American dream looked like in the 50’s and what it looks like to many of us, why many think it’s dead and evidence that it is still alive.

When reading Shayan Zadeh’s article it inspired me to look at the American dream form different experiences. He talks about how he believes that immigration is the drive for our economy. He uses his own personal experience to paint a picture to help us understand the issues that immigrants face. There is so much paper work to be done and hoops to jump through to live the “American Dream” when you are not an American.

This article sparked my interest so much because my father is from Mexico and came to the states 24 years ago to pursue the American Dream in the land of freedom and opportunity. It still seems like he didn’t achieve much but when I hear about his hometown it is a large step up from what he could have had if he had stayed in Mexico. He has a beautiful home that he remodel by hand, an amazing wife, two children, a good job and happiness and success compared from where he started. He has inspired me to work hard and pursue my own dreams.

When Tim Roemer talks about his time in India in 2009 he states, “I learned that America is still deeply admired around the world as the place where many people want to live out their dreams.” He counties to make his point that the united States is a bacon of success for many immigrants and how many usually come here for the higher education. I actually have a few friends that are here studying as Boise State University even though they are from Saudi Araba.

Their government gives them a scholarships that pays for their schooling and some extra money for spending. In return these student go to America (or a few other choices such as Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, etc.), focus on their schooling, receive a degree and return home with a great degree to help their country. Although in some cases these students love America so much that they choose to stay and become citizens. These students’ American dream is success and happiness.

Immigrants come to the United States in search of something better than what they already had, and in most cases anything in the United States is better than what they had. The Migration Policy Institute states, “A nation historically built on immigration, approximately 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States in 2013, accounting for 13 percent of the overall U.S. population.” Our great nation is built on the hopes and dreams of immigrants. Just like my mom always said, “the United States is just one big melting pot.” I believe that immigrants sometimes hold on to the American dream more than actual American.

If I were to walk up to a random stranger and ask what they believe the American Dream is they would probably respond with something along the lines, “Is that even still a thing,” or “I don’t know, happiness?” While I was talking to a student at CWI the other day he mentioned that he came to America for the American Dream.

That was his exact words, I did not even mention the phrase previously. He is an immigrant from Niger, Africa. He told me that he came here because he grew up in poor conditions and he wanted to come here to make a better life for him and his family and in the long run he want to take trips back to inspire and help his native community. His American Dream is success.

The American dream is seen different in the eyes of him and me. For Americans it is different, we are born into already existing “classes”. Adele makes her point in her article The American Dream Is Dead: Here’s Where It Went. She shares her thoughts that the American Dream is not a real thing that many can achieve.

She talks about how the American Dream isn’t even financially attainable for Americans themselves, let alone immigrant’s American dream but very few can actually reach it. Very few can go from rags to riches. I might use this source for a counter argument in my paper. The people that did start poor will stay poor forever because very rarely do people actually start out with nothing then turn into Oprah or Howard Schultz. The lower your class the fewer opportunities you have access to. It is very difficult to climb that “American Dream” ladder when you have far less steps to climb up than someone in the class above yours.

Each president through the years have tried to improve the United States by making more opportunities for Americans that start at the bottom of the “American Dream” ladder. Each election year each candidates promises many, many thing but usually there are not that many promises that do become reality. Not only is our government helping us out but also immigrant t this great nation. In Caleb’s article “Lost American Dream of Undocumented Students: Understanding The Dream” he discusses the U.S. Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. It looks at undocumented students in the country.

My own American Dream is by the time I am 30 years old I will be a nurse, in a happy marriage, maybe expecting a cute bouncing baby or owning a beautiful husky, get down to my goal weight, and live in a gorgeous home but travel as much as possible. This dream seems so far out of reach right now but it is what drives me every day. It is my own personal American Dream. It is my dream of happiness, love and success.

Everyone has a dream. Everyone has a purpose that drive them forward. It is our goals. It why we wake up and get out of bed each day. It maybe something small such as owning our own house at a certain age, making someone smile, have fun, getting a certain car, being a certain weight or seeing a certain person place or thing. The American dream is usually a larger thing such as having a beautiful family, having a certain job, becoming famous, or having my own business. Some may disagree and say that some of these dreams are actually bigger or smaller, saying the opposite of what I just did.

When in high school I had a friend that was born at the top of the American dream ladder. His idea of the American dream and I’s are very different. His family owned the charter boat industry in my small coastal town. In other words they had so much money that they didn’t even know what to do with it. Since he started at the top of the ladder he doesn’t have as far to go. He was more into success and wealth. His American dream is to take over his father’s business, and before that have fun and be wild and crazy and free.

He dreams of success and fun. He and I started on different places on the ladder and we have different dreams but we both hold onto the American dream so closely.

See we all have similar but different dreams. We dream of happiness, love and success, fame, or wealth. It may have started out with the image of the perfect Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the white picket fence, and the children but over time it has evolved and looks different in each of our eyes. Immigrants come to purse the American dream, to pursue what they couldn’t have in their own countries. I dream of becoming a nurse to help people and finding my best friend and love of my life-success and love. Josmo at the coffee shop may dream of becoming the next big DJ-fame and successes, wealth.

People born at the top of the American food chain has less to dream about because they already have it. His American Dream is to make a name for himself, and chases the dream of fame and success. We all hold onto the American Dream no matter if we don’t realize it. Our dreams are all are all similar since they revolve around happiness, love and success but differ in many ways. I believe the American Dream is alive and well, but it has evolved over time and looks different in each of our eyes.

Work Cited

  1. Chaudhury, Sudata Deb. “The American Dream: An Indian Version In The Age Of Globalization.” Global Studies Journal 5.3 (2013): 122-138. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
  2. Erisman, Wendy, Shannon Looney, and Washington, DC. Institute for Higher Education Policy. “Opening The Door To The American
  3. Dream: Increasing Higher Education Access And Success For Immigrants.” Institute For Higher Education Policy (2007): ERIC. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
  4. “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States.” Migrant Policy Institute, 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.
  5. Hanson, Sandra L., and John Kenneth White. The American Dream in the 21st Century. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2011. Print.
  6. Kim, Caleb. “Lost American DREAM Of Undocumented Students: Understanding The DREAM (Development, Relief, And Education For Alien Minors) Act.” Children & Schools 35.1 (2013): 55-58 4p. CINAHL with Full Text. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
  7. Miyazawa, Kaoru. “Dreaming And Surviving In Heterotopia: First-Generation Immigrant Girls’ Pursuit Of The American Dream In
  8. New York City.” Taboo: The Journal Of Culture & Education 13.1 (2013): 63-76. Education Research Complete. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
  9. Peters, Adele. “The American Dream Is Dead: Here’s Where It Went.” Co.Exist. Fast Company & Inc, 08 Sept. 2015. Web. 13 Mar. 2016. 2) Soergel, Andrew. “Even Americans Can’t Afford the American Dream.” U.S. News & World Report. N.p., 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
  10. Roemer, Tim. “Americans Remains the World’s Beacon of success” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Comp. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.
  11. Wright, Luke S. H. “The Death Of The American Dream.” Virginia Quarterly Review 85.4 (2009): 196-199. Art & Architecture Complete. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
  12. Zadeh, Shayan “Bring on more Immigrant Enterpreneus” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Comp. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.

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