Perspectives on the American Dream

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Nick Mills American Lit, 2nd Hour 5-1-12

Perspectives on the American Dream

The American Dream can be described as a belief in freedom that allows all citizens and residents of the United States of America to achieve their goals in life through hard work. There are many different perspectives on the American Dream, it is different for everyone and each person interprets it in a different way. For some, it is the opportunity to achieve more prosperity than they could in their countries of origin. For others, it is the opportunity for their children to grow up with an education and career opportunities. The idea of the American Dream still has truth in today's time, even if it is wealth, love, or fame. The thing that never changes about the American Dream is that everyone deserves something in life and everyone, somehow, should strive to get it. There are many texts that illustrate the American Dream. A book that represents the American Dream is “Heart of a Champion” written by Carl Deuker. Another great example of the American Dream would be a speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream.” The movie “Forest Gump” directed by Robert Zemeckis is another good example of the American Dream.

The book “Heart of a Champion” written by Carl Deuker represents the American Dream in many ways. The theme of the book is never giving up and following your dreams. The book is about a kid named Jimmy Winter who is a born star on the baseball field, and Seth Barnam can only dream of being as talented. Still, the two baseball fanatics have the kind of friendship that should last forever. But when Seth experiences an unthinkable loss, he's forced to find his own personal strength--on and off the field. I think that the author’s purpose in Heart of a Champion is that you should never doubt yourself. There are many perspectives of the American Dream conveyed in the text. One message is to give your full effort to reach your goal. To follow your dreams no matter what the obstacles are. “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark.” I think that quote is saying that you should always try your hardest rather than taking the easy way out. “Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is.” The quote is saying that it’s not all about winning it’s about the effort you put in to win. There are many great quotes in the novel that represent the American Dream. Another great quote is “You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possible be - in baseball and in life.” This book relates to the American Dream because it shows that you should follow your dream no matter what the obstacles are.

The movie “Forest Gump” directed by Robert Zemeckis is another great example of the American Dream. The theme of the movie is that you should never give up no matter what challenges you are faced. Forrest achieves a lot of dreams and goals during his journey. Forrest goes through a lot of hardships to reach his American Dreams. First of all, he was born with mental and physical challenges which made it really difficult to strive for his dreams. He had a rough childhood; He was teased a lot but that didn’t stop him. He also didn’t have a dad there to support him. “You have to do the best with what God gave you” is a quote from Forest Gump that truly represents the American Dream. Forest never let anybody tell him that he could not do something. Forrest’s family was also poor and had limited amounts of possessions. While in his middle aged years, Forrest saw his best friend die right in front of him during the Vietnam War. From the hardships that Forrest had he was still striving ambitiously to reach his dream. In the end, Forrest reaches many dreams: a well remembered soldier in Vietnam, a famous ping pong player, helped catch one of many criminals of the Watergate Scandal, becomes CEO of a shrimp business, played football for Alabama, met famous people, married his true love Jenny, and becomes closer than ever with his family and friends. Even with Forest’s disabilities that did not stop him from achieving his dreams. That’s why this movie represents the American Dream because Forest never gave up.

In the speech “I Have a Dream” given by Martin Luther King Jr. he speaks of the American Dream to be a land of peace and equality for all Americans no matter the color, race, or religion. The theme of the speech is that everyone should be treated equally. Racism was a big problem in the 1960’s. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” is a great quote that represents the racism that was going on at the time. Martin Luther King’s speech had a huge impact on racism and changed history. A great quote from Martin Luther King Jr. is “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.” Martin Luther King’s words were very powerful and gave you a lot to think about. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr. just wanted people to stand up and do something about what was going on. He wants everybody to have a chance to live the American Dream no matter what race you are. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” That is a great quote saying that you have to stand up for your freedom. Everyone should have the freedom to live their dream. Martin Luther King Jr. was very intelligent and had a huge influence on people. His speech represented the American dream in many ways and it will never be forgotten.

The American Dream can be described as a belief in freedom that allows all citizens and residents of the United States of America to achieve their goals in life through hard work. The American Dream can be represented in many different ways. All of these texts are great examples of the American Dream.

Questions for Consideration

  1. What is the American Dream?

  2. How can the American Dream be reached?

  3. Is the American Dream realistic to achieve?

  4. Has the American Dream changed? In what ways?

  5. What challenges have you faced in your attempt to achieve it?

  6. Do you believe many people in America are living this dream?

  7. What encourages people to strive for the American Dream?

Works Cited

Deuker, Carl. Heart of a Champion. Little, Brown / Hachette Book Group USA, April 1, 2007, Paperback

Zemeckis, Robert. Forest Gump. Los Angeles, California, July 6, 1994.

Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream”. Washington D.C., August 28, 1963.

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