An American Dream Deferred

It can be difficult to define the American Dream, for it can be interpreted in more ways than one. An example may be from the novel “Of Mice and Men”, which involved two drifters and partners, George and Lennie, trying to gather enough funds via working place to place to eventually have land of their own. With this goal in mind, Lennie also had hopes of having farm animals to tend for as a past-time; a mere request he constantly brought up whenever he had the chance.

Could it be as simple as it sounded in Hemingway’s Novel? From a perspective it would seem so, but difficulties tend to lie ahead as soon as things continue to gather steam. While they were fully capable of doing whatever job they were handed, Lennie frequently had a hard time keeping himself out trouble; as George was depicted as the brains of the duo, Lennie was happily the muscle with nothing but good intentions. In some cases, it is as if the American Dream can cause more suffering than success; putting so much effort towards saving for your own land or animal farm, what would happen next?

Let’s look at how romantic but tragic it is depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. Throughout the novel, you find the main characters in desire for something–or someone–even if their lives tend to look perfect or worry-free. Myrtle, though a mere mistress in the eyes of Tom, longs to be treated and sported as he does his own wife, Daisy. Then we find Gatsby, in a romantic flux with Daisy, swindling and scamming his social status to the top hoping that the connection between them still exists. One would say he goes to the extreme of solidify it by residing in a home right across the water from Daisy, with the mindset of thinking his chances of securing his American Dream is inevitable.

Love, maybe? Daisy only looks for a simple life within all of the madness she continues to accept, and in turn stuck in the middle of being committed to the family she already has or run away with a man who had promised her the world so long ago.

Of course as the story goes on, Gatsby’s plans run up in smoke when Daisy gives him no real answer on if she truly has feelings for him; at that point, the American Dream turns into one of the shams he used to get himself this far. Could it be said that all the gold he worked for is now not worth a dime? All of the over-expensive shirts he had thrown at her, the dancing in his old Class A’s, nor the relieving of all the house servants to have Daisy come over without any gossip floating around was not enough to be one of the few who could say they achieved their longed desires.

In the end, is the American Dream truly worth risking your own dignity? More issues and conflicts happen to follow the more one pushes to it. I believe it is a tragedy on how many versions of people’s American Dreams shatters in their faces as fast it arrived, and for them to accept the outcomes (in which, did NOT work in their favor) is more reality than they dreamed for.


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