Type of paper: Essay

Topic: America, United States, American Dream, People, Economics, Workplace, Hard Work, Determination

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/23

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The American Dream is an essential element of the American culture. Most, it not all, American citizens are raised to believe in the “American Dream,” as well as the established standard of liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness. When most people allude or refer to it, they refer to the 20th century. However, the American dream is just as relevant today as it was in the past. Essentially, the American dream refers to the belief in the liberty and freedom that enables all individuals living in the United States to attain their objectives in life through determination and hard work. Nevertheless, it is important to note that there are numerous standpoints on the American dream. It is different for every individual and every person interprets it differently. For some people, it presents them with the opportunity to obtain more prosperity that they could in their parent countries. On the other hand, other people view it as an opportunity for their families, especially children to access quality career and education opportunities.
Over the years, various authors have written different literatures concerning the idea of the American Dream. In this essay I will argues that Barbara Ehrenreich and Paul Jaskunas believe that the American Dream is a pipe dream that is not attainable while Paul Krygman firmly believes that it is attainable through hard work and determination.
In her book, Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich examines and evaluates the issue of class in relation to achieving the American dream. Specifically, Ehrenreich decides to work undercover to establish whether she could eventually rise to the top though hard work and determination. According to the author, she grew up with the notion that hard work was the key of success; therefore, she chronicles her steps as a waitress in a diner, housekeeper in a restaurant, as well as the challenges she faced on her way (Ehrenreich 1).
Even though she started-off with $1000, she soon finds herself broke and working double shifts to guarantee her survival. In addition, she describes the potions of her coworkers who had to rent hotel rooms by the night to ensure that they had a place to refresh and sleep because they could not afford homes. Subsequently, Ehrenreich concludes that no matter how hard one works, even if they break their backs working double shifts, they can never achieve the desired results (Ehrenreich 1).
Moreover, she maintains that the illusion that hard work yields success is the fundamental reason that makes attaining the American Dream virtually impossible. Through her experiences in the job market, the author demonstrates to readers that the American Dream of equal opportunity is nonexistent, and that the American society is a closed system, which is largely defined by gender and race (Ehrenreich 1).
In his article, “the tyranny of the forced smile” Paul Jaskunas depicts the American dream as fake fairy tale that is unattainable (Jaskunas 1). He tries to illustrate how most people migrate to America in pursuit of good jobs, better salaries, and better lives, but they later realize that they cannot achieve these objectives through hard work alone. He implies that good jobs are not based on passion or interest, but on what just comes on the way. Further, he maintains that people do not pursue their dreams when they migrate to America; they just settle for anything that comes their way and pretend to be personate about them. Therefore, to survive in this ‘'promising land'' the author indicates that one must coordinate and adopt existing systems, irrespective of their hardships and challenges (Jaskunas 1).
Jaskunas further states that most employers in America strive to employ employee who are passionate and enthusiastic about what they do. To underline his perspective, he gives his individual experiences when he was seeking a job as a university teacher. He says, ‘'I suppose I could describe myself as passionate, in a sense'', Jaskuna indicates as he describes his first interview (Jaskunas 1). Therefore, it does not matter whether you like the job or not, you must prove that you love the job passionately for you to get it and retain it. If you cannot prove or demonstrate these elements, you should then act as if you like the job. Failure to do that, you will never secure or retain a job in America. The author has further indicated that love is an essential element in job relationships in America (Jaskunas 1). In all jobs that involve public relations, such as marketing, management, teaching, health, among others, love is a critical factor and requirement despite the working conditions or the rewards offered by the employers.
Based on the author's assertions, it is clear that America is just another nation with similar problems or challenges like ‘home,' or may be more severe ones (Jaskunas 1). For this reason, when everybody from third world dreams of moving America to access opportunities and a good life, they seem to be dreaming. In reality, America is just full of social problems where people are just forced to follow the systems set by the West; therefore, they are denied the freedom to choose how they want to live. Passion is an emotional factor that can never be imitated, and it is very hard to fake passion or to pretend you love something. In this case, it is true that even if America provides jobs to immigrant, the jobs, as well as the lifestyles are not satisfactory and as fulfilling as they expected (Jaskunas 1). In America, these immigrants earn money, which, if taken back ‘home', may buy so many goods, but back in America, their incomes cannot afford them the lifestyles that they expected and some are forced to live in makeshift shelters, as they cannot afford homes. Essentially, Jaskunas underlines that that the American Dream is just a myth, which most American citizens as well as residents believe in. They believe that through hard work and determination they can eventually achieve this elusive dream. The author does not share in this perspective, as he is of the opinion that the American Dream is a fantasy that most Americans dream of, but they can never achieve it.
Finally, “The Death of Horatio Alger” by Paul Krygman’s scrutinizes and evaluates the value of the American Dream. Specifically, he argues that the notion of the American Dream is important to all American citizens as well as residents, as it gives them the will to work harder with the primary objective of improving their economic status. Krygman begins by recounting how he once read an article that he believes made outrageous claims about America (Paul 1). Essentially, the article stated that Americas are likely to maintain their current economic status, that is, the poor will remain poor, and their children are more likely to maintain the same class. Therefore, Krygman opposes the idea in the article as it is against the American Dream. He emphasizes that the American Dream is so important since it gives people the mindset and determination to work hard. It also fills them with hope for the future. He intimates that without the American Dream, people would find it relatively difficult to move upwards in life, to achieve their dreams. Therefore, Krygman’s suggests that he values the notion of the American Dream. He insists that it has motivated many people in many generations across history. To him, the American Dream is a motivator.
Additionally, Krygman values the American Dream because of the various troubles that people go through in the efforts to lead healthy and comfortable lives (Paul 1). He illustrates his point by explaining that in the 1950s, things were different in America as people could quickly climb the economic ladder. In fact, it was a guarantee that one’s life will improve. However, the article he read suggests otherwise (Krygman 1). The article states that one is likely to stay in the economic and social class they were born. The notion of staying in the same economic class one was born in worries Krygman, as the absence of upward mobility in the economy would eventually lead to caste system. He believes that people will find it relatively difficult to climb the economic ladder in the caste system. The article he read states that money is scarcer, and jobs have practically disappeared compared to earlier years, and such a scenario causes difficulties for various economic classes (Krygman 1). However, he argues against this impression saying that the American Dream does not only give people hope, but it is also achievable; hence, it should be upheld regardless of the current status of the economy. Ideally, Krugman gives a solution to economic stagnation and immobility by suggesting that the obvious loopholes in the American system should be closed. Wage inequality should be monitored as one of the ways of closing the loopholes that prevent people from achieving the American Dream. He suggests that steady union movements as well as a rise in the minimum wage would eventually control wage inequality. Moreover, Krugman encourages Americans economic prosperity can be achieved, irrespective of the day-to-day economic challenges confronting Americans. To him, hard work and determination can lead to economic prosperity, which is a means of achieving the American Dream (Krygman 1).
Conclusively, the American dream represents the belief in the liberty and freedom that enables residents and citizens on the U.S. to attain their life-objectives through hard work and determination. Ehrenreich and Jaskunas are not convinced by the notion of the American Dream. To them, it is unrealistic. On the contrary, Krygman maintains that the American Dream is achievable through hard work, as the concept is good because it motivates people to work hard towards their dreams and aspirations. Even though I support the concept of the American Dream, America as well as its citizens and residents should stop advertising it as the land where dreams are realized and opportunities abound, as in some instances, this is not always the case. Ideally, determination and hard work is a positive step towards financial freedom and success; however, it does not guarantee anyone the American dream.

Works Cited

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: on (not) Getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt &, 2008. Print.
Jaskunas, Paul. The Tyranny of the Forced Smile. The New York Times. Feb 15, 2015. Web March 18, 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/jobs/the-tyranny-of-the-forced- smile.html?_r=0.18th march 2015>
Paul, Krugman. "The Death of Horatio Alger". The Nation. December 18, 2003. Web. March 18, 2015. <http://www.thenation.com/article/death-horatio-alger#>

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