The American Dream: Dead or Alive?

            CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN SOCIETY - The American DreamĀ® : DEAD or ALIVE? INTRODUCTION Originally, the 'Dream' was envisaged to be life in a new world where anything successful can happen and good things might (Hochschild, 1996). In 1963, Martin Luther King Jnr said that he too had a dream "that on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood" Video: The Legacy). Since then, many aspects of Martin Luther King's Dream for the American people have come true, but some remain a dream. Today, the notion of the 'American Dream' stretches far beyond the idea of political and religious freedom to a more economically oriented base. The United States has increasingly become a consumer-based society, so the idea of 'success' is now measured by material wealth - a white picket fenced house in the suburbs complete with car, dog and two children. The American Dream is still alive, but only in the minds of those citizens who have the resources to fulfil the definition of success, namely, material wealth. DISCUSSION The US is the most influential country in the world. This is seen not only in monetary strength and business power, but also in the choice of music, clothes and recreational activities. It is this perception that draws people to the idea of the great American Dream and the 'land of the free', a perception that for the right person at the right time, everything is possible. America has traditionally been a land of immigrants and the home to people of many nationalities and cultures, all aspiring to achieve the Dream. Early immigrants have left an indelible mark on American cities and society, from the Italians in New York, the Scandinavian farmers of Wisconsin and the Mid-West, to the more recent waves of immigrants from Asia on the West Coast (Hochschild, 1996). All came to pursue the Dream and entered the great 'melting pot' in the desire to become a successful American.

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