Sunday, April 8, 2012

The American Dream

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To most people the American Dream is that of choices; to practice the religion they want, or to wear what they want, or vote for who they want, even though these are all different they’re the same. Freedom, freedom is the underlying tone in everyone’s American Dream but for some it is not obtainable, although there are many that are able to achieve this; people from wealthy families or people from head figures of society. For the rest of the people the Dream is just that, a dream or a myth, something that will pacify people just like a bedtime story does to a small child. Even if a person is able to achieve their dream they are still held back by responsibilities and duties that come from with accomplishing their dream.

The authors of the two stories, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and O Brother, Where art Thou? by Joel and Ethan Coen, are also saying in their writings that brotherhood and friendship are part of the American Dream and are required to fully accomplish it because no one’s dream is to be alone, although loneliness and betrayal are things that occur during the trek to succeed in accomplishment of the American Dream. Although the dreams of people are something that people look forward to and are taught in school, the authors are saying that to accomplish one’s dream is to in turn give up some forms of freedom, so in other words to accomplish the American Dream is to be free from some things yet trapped by others.

In the story Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck there are three main underlying ideas; dreams, friendship and loneliness. The dreams of the characters in the story are a lot simpler than those of people today but they still carry the same principle, freedom. Throughout the story the two main characters, George and Lennie, are working toward having enough money to buy a farm and be free to do whatever they want, to be their own boss, to not be told how to live their lives, to be free. Friendship is the main factor in any successful dream because no one wants to accomplish the dream without someone to enjoy it with. During the story as George and Lennie talk about their dream some of the ranch hands ask if they can join in their dream because they want to be accepted and to have the idea of security in friendship. Candy, an old man with one arm that is only good for sweeping, and Crooks, a black stable boy that sleeps in the barn, are both alienated by the ranch hands and want to be accepted so they almost bride George and Lennie to be a part of their dream, Crooks gives George and Lennie money so that they will be able to accomplish their dream. Throughout peoples lives loneliness is an idea that is never really thought about unless a person is already lonely. People don’t want to be lonely. People as creatures are social creatures and sometimes when they are alone they go psycho because they think that if they do they will not be alone any more; people will do incredible things not be alone, that’s how unwanted loneliness is. Loneliness in the end of the story eventually destroys the dream of George, Lennie, Crooks, and Candy. Curly’s wife throughout the story is always lonely because no one will spend time with her. Towards the end of the story Curly’s wife tries to talk with Lennie. During the course of the conversation Lennie tries to pet Curly’s wife’s hair and she freaks out, the only thing Lennie knows to do is grab on to her hair and hold on tight. He does this because he is mentally retarded and doesn’t know any better. When Curly’s wife tries to scream Lennie covers her mouth and accidentally breaks her neck. Because of those actions caused by loneliness the dreams of all the other people are ruined. George can’t accomplish the dream because he has no real friend now. Lennie was the only real friend that George had and Lennie had to be killed because of what he did. Loneliness in the end destroyed the dream and in turn caused many others to be lonely. John Steinbeck throughout the story is trying to say that loneliness can destroy the dream and that friendship is required to accomplish it.

In the film O Brother, Where art Thou? by Joel and Ethan Coen there are dreams, brotherhood, and betrayal. Throughout the movie the themes are played out in different forms. The theme of dreams is the biggest part of the story. Throughout the movie the actors are trying to achieve their dreams, the actors are trying to achieve the dream of being rich and have lots of money so that they wont have to work. Although these dreams are not possible to obtain, the characters still try to achieve them because it gives them reason to go on, the only reason people are motivated to do anything is that they want to live up to their dream. Betrayal is another part of the movie. The characters are all betrayed by Pete Hogwallup’s cousin when he tells the police where the group is hiding so that he can get some money, also Everett, the leader of the group, betrays the group by lying about the treasure. The Coen brothers use the treasure as symbolism, as a trap. Although the treasure is meant to be a bad thing, it brings the group closer together, strengthening their friendship and the brotherhood between them.

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My idea of the American dream is to be able to live comfortably, not necessarily to be your own boss but to have a successful career and a family. My parents own their own business and its not all that great, they have to deal with stuff that I wouldn’t enjoy very much, although they do get paid more than some people, the stresses are not worth owning your own business. I believe that some people can achieve their dream. The people that I believe would have to try harder to achieve their dreams are people from other ethnic backgrounds that don’t speak English, like Hispanics, and people from low income families, although some of these people do become very famous like Jennifer Lopez, she came from a low income family and because of her talent she has become very famous in entertainment today. The people that I think are able to achieve their dreams without working extremely hard are people from middle and upper income families and people that strive hard to accomplish what they feel is necessary to achieve their goals. When the authors wrote the two stories they knew what they were talking about to some extent. I accept what they have to say but I don’t fully agree with it nor disagree. I think that it is possible to accomplish your dreams fully but I do agree with the idea they said that only certain people can achieve this dream. I don’t completely agree with the idea that the American Dream is a trap or something to pacify people, I think that for some people that try hard enough it is a reality. Although I agree and disagree with the authors views I think that stories are very good to understand so that people can appreciate what they have even if it’s not their ideal dream. My ideal dream would be to own a 004 Dodge Viper GTS-R and to own a mansion with maids and cooks and things like that but honestly, its not possible unless I were to invent something that influenced the world, but for the most part its just a dream. When people make outrageous dreams there obviously not going to be accomplished because it’s not possible but when someone sets dreams that are reasonable and accomplishable they are definitely going to accomplish them.

Throughout people’s lives they are influenced by friendships and loneliness, also brotherhood with close friends and betrayal, although some of these things are very painful to have occur, like betrayal, and uplifting like brotherhood, they are what make dreams so important, they make dreams so much more appreciated. It’s all about the journey.

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