Free Essay

What Is American Dream

In: Historical Events

Submitted By uzu45
Words 1082
Pages 5
Uzair Sumra
Robert Guffey
English 100
30 November 2015
What Is The American Dreams?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a book written by Hunter S. Thompson published in the year 1971. The book is a reflection of American politics during Thompson’s time. It is written with the author (Thompson) as the main character, but he uses a fictional name to avoid repercussions and allow for more artistic license. The book takes place in the early 1970s and the main character, Raoul Duke, is sent to Las Vegas to write an article on the 4th annual “Mint Race 400” buggy race. Under the advice of his lawyer (Dr. Gonzo) both drive out to Las Vegas on a nonstop LSD and mescaline trip. Unfortunately, Duke and Gonzo engage themselves in an adventure of the lifetime. Somehow things go berserk and both of them end up abandoning work and engaging in an experience that involves disparaging everyone around them. The obvious theme of the book is The American Dream. Thompson wrote a lot about the American Dream and just like most people, he believed in the American Dream. Hunter S. Thompson portrays the American Dream as illusionary, as there are some places where he says that the American Dream is about money.
The American Dream is a phrase which is heard, at some point, by most people today and the meaning has been understood since the founding of America. The definition of the American Dream appears to be different for most people, depending on their views. Probably the most accepted explanation of the American Dream is that it “is an idea which suggests all people can succeed through hard work, and that all people have the potential to live a happy and a successful life” (What is American Dream? However, this phrase also equates happiness to wealth. The American Dreams differs for many people, but Horatio Alger’s idea is the one that we still remember today. He describes the American Dream as “from rag to riches” which means to start a life very poor and then become very rich in life. People who go from rags to riches are usually afraid the good life will be snatched away from them. Thompson’s sense of the American Dream is basically equal to Horatio Alger’s sense of the American Dream. At least he wants to act like him when he asks himself “How would Horatio Alger handle this situation?” (24).
The American Dream appears all over the book. It is mentioned several times, also in the book’s subtitle: “A savage journey to the heart of American Dream.” It is difficult to connect certain events in the book to the American Dream. “Can you hear me? I yelled. He nodded. ‘That’s good’ I said ‘Because I want you to know we’re on our way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream’ I smiled. ‘That’s why we rented this car. It was the only way to do it” (2). According to this statement Duke verbalizes their mission which is to search for the American Dreams in Las Vegas, which is being rich.
According to Duke the American Dream is also living a lavish life, being rich, spending a lot of money and not caring about it later. Duke and his attorney receive a taste of the rich lifestyle on their journey to Vegas through excessive spending, gambling, and the hotels and transportation being paid for. Duke touches on this early on in the book when describing the events that leads to the trip to Las Vegas: “…a call comes from New York, telling me to go to Las Vegas and expenses be damned – and then he sends me over to some office in Beverly Hills where another total stranger gives me $300 raw cash for no reason at all… I tell you my man, this American Dream in action” (4). Throughout the book, Duke and his attorney spend money quite frivolously for their happiness. Duke even wants to buy a monkey for reasons unspecified. This alludes once again to living a life of luxury and excess while striving for the American Dream.
Another place where they talk about the American Dream is when they say that the American Dream is in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is the place which is built on the idea “nothing to something.” It’s the place where someone can go empty handed and come back rich. Las Vegas turned the “rag to riches” concept into a money making industry. It is a shame to the American Dream, as it offers it to anybody who is willing to take a foolish risk for the money and erases the “hard work” part.
Who are these people? […] Where do they come from? They look like Caricatures of used car from dealers from Dallas. But they are real and sweet Jesus, there are a hell lot of them—still screaming around these desert-city crap tables at four thirty in the morning. Still humping the American Dream that vision of the Big Winner emerging pre-down chaos of a stale Vegas casino. Big strike in Silver City. Beat the dealer and go home rich. Why not? (19)
According to the above quotation, these people use gambling as their way to the American Dream; they are hoping to win big, get rich and live the life of luxury at which the American Dream hints.
Another example of the American Dream, where money and being rich is concerned, is Duke’s commentary on “Vegas hospitality.” He shares his views on this topic after paying for a rental car with a credit card that he learns later has been cancelled, but he never worries about that. “…nobody cares. They would rather not know. If Charlie Manson checked into the Sahara tomorrow morning no one hassle as long as he tipped big” (36). Along with revealing the lack of moral character in these employees, Duke emphasises their lust for money, their want to become wealthy and less excessively.
In the true meaning of the American Dream which is that every citizen should have an equal opportunities to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative. However it is delusion to be all about wealth and getting rich the easy way as portrayed by Duke in this book.

Works Cited
Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. 2nd Vintage Books Ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

What Is the American Dream?

...What is the American Dream, and who are the people most likely to pursue its often elusive fulfillment? Indeed, the American Dream has come to represent the attainment of a combination of goals that are specific to each individual. While one person might consider a purchased home with a white picket fence his or her version of the American Dream, another might regard it as the financial ability to start and operate his own business. Clearly, there is no cut and dried definition of the American Dream because it is different for every person. What it does universally represent, however, it is the opportunity for people to seek out their individual and collective desires and go out and achieve them. The American Dream was and always will be something that makes America great. It allows those with aspirations to make them come true. In America all you need is a dream and the motivation to carry out that dream. Ambition is the driving force behind the American Dream. It allows any one that has an aspiration, a desire, a yearning, to carry out the individual dream. It knows no bounds of race, creed, gender or religion. It stands for something great, something that everyone can strive towards. A dream can be a desire for something great. In America, the American Dream allows dreams to become realities. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the American Dream is defined as "An American social ideal that' stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity". To live......

Words: 1515 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

What Is the American Dream

...something. I believe that The American Dream is exactly that, the climb to become successful in America. It is a commonly known fact that immigrants in history and in the present day have come to the United States to start again and make better lives for themselves and their families. Although this dream means different things for every individual person, all of them reach for something they don’t have, and they usually originate from a lower class than their end point. An example of The American Dream in action is the background behind renowned special effects makeup artist Glenn Hetrick. He was raised in the lowly suburbs of Bethlehem Pennsylvania, and his interest in makeup effects drove him to participate in local theater productions as a fledgling makeup artist in high school. Once he graduated from high school, he moved to the big city of New York and took various film jobs, mostly for horror films. Soon enough, Mr. Hetrick was noticed by big time movie and special effects companies, and was being hired to work for them. After years of hard work under their corporations, he finally became the owner of the Optic Nerve Studios in Hollywood, and more recently has opened up his very own original studio, The Alchemy Studios. The point I’ve tried to make behind Mr. Hetrick’s life story is that he, like many others, started from little to nothing and worked his way up. There are no shortcuts, no get out of jail free cards. The American Dream can not be realized in the......

Words: 321 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

What Death of a Salesman Conveys About the American Dream

...The American dream has stood to be each person’s idea of success. The American dream is usually associated with 1940’s America depiction of the ideal family, as can be depicted from television shows such as Leave it to Beaver. However, this is one aspect and shallow analysis of the American dream that is not appropriate for all reaching to achieve their American dream. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Miller succeeds in portraying this through the characters Willy and Biff. Their conflict represents two varying perspectives of the American dream, and this very struggle leads to the conclusion that the American dream is rooted in the pursuit of a better life. Throughout Death of a Salesman, Miller portrays two ideas of the American dreams and it is definite that they are “American dreams” as they both deal with success and that character’s idea of success. Though, this is where characters’ views differ and conflict with one another. Willy’s American dream is to have his children succeed and to leave his imprint on the society which he was unable to succeed in doing so in a life long career as a salesman. Furthermore, Willy lived in the ideology that being “well liked” was far more important and and necessary than being a Bernard type of person and make a living based on his studies. Willy’s belief and encouragement of this ideology upon his sons influenced Biff immensely. As a result, Biff did not put the effort into his studies that would have enabled him to pass...

Words: 750 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The American Dream

...American Dream The American Dream is defined as a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the United States especially by working hard and becoming successful. ("Merriam-Webster Dictionary") A shadow has been cast upon the eyes of average Americans. What is wrong with the American dream? Our attention has been shifted from the true problem of economic inequality to the patterned racial discrimination. Take for example Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres and Kelly Ripa. Oprah and Tyra are both African American while Ellen and Kelly are Caucasian. Tyra is a lot younger than Oprah. Ellen is a homosexual female while Kelly is not. Do these differences of race change the fact that they make a equally substantial amount of money? Today in America we feel the need to justify the economic inequality not with class differences but with the racial borders. As Walters Michaels describes in The Trouble with Diversity he states that “the argument, in its simplest form, will be that we love race – we love identity – because we don’t love class” (Michaels, pg 966). Is this the art of the fundamental teaching of our elders? Is America truly the melting pot of the world, or should it be the salad bowl? In this social “salad bowl” we would be open to retain the cultural identities of our ancestors while assuming a part of larger America whole. The American dream is and always has been fundamentally powerful because......

Words: 1096 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Death of a Salesman Essay

...Andrew Fishman American Prison Willy Loman, the main character in Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, wants to live the American dream. He is consumed with his own misguided beliefs regarding success, which causes his life to be similar what Wyoming Senator Craig L. Thomas said about the American Dream: “You stuff Someone into the American dream, and it becomes a prison.” Willy’s obsession with the American Dream, believing that being well liked equates with success, keeps both he and his sons in a state of emotional immaturity. These beliefs causes the American Dream to be a prison. The Loman family’s American Dream becomes their prison, constructed of deception and false pride. They cannot escape their immature behavior of manipulating, lying, and bragging, never realizing that this behavior prevents them from success. The Loman Family is so caught up on the American Dream that they give up happiness for the business world, they do this even though the do not like to be in business. Throughout the book Willy is so concentrated on teaching his kids the American Dream that he and his kids fails to recognize their aspirations which causes them to continually be stuck in their American Dream prison. As Willy and Happy are locked up in the prison Biff realizes that he is not a business guy and that allows him to be happy. Willy is too stuck in the idea of the American Dream and the narrow minded approach of success to do what he wants. One example of this...

Words: 997 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Ambitious Nightmare

... The ambitious nightmare Is the American Dream still alive today? It all depends on whom you ask, and how you look at things. Everyone sees things differently and will interpret it that way; to one person the American Dream is just that, a dream and when they wake up it will be a nightmare, and to another it is an ambition, that just makes them want it more. By definition the American Dream is: “a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.” So, the question remains, is it still alive today, and is this really how people are living their lives? As sad as this answer may be, the truth is, probably not, like all good things they must end. The American Dream is a great thing to wish for however, it has been lost in time with the unwillingness to pursue it. The saddest thing is that some people believe the American dream is something that exists today; whereas some people in society have no idea that this dream exists. What ever happened to the zeal that drove America to the top? What happened to the aspiration of striving for greatness and becoming that greatness? That may be a question no one knows the answer too or it is an answer that people are unwilling to give. George Carlin once said, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to......

Words: 1085 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

American Dream

...The American Dream is not something that can be defined with possessions or lifestyle. The American Dream is part of a mindset that every single person in the world strives to achieve. However, all people have an individual dream that is their end goal that may manifest in cars, boats, houses, spouses, etc. In literary works throughout history the presence of the dream is displayed through a variety of different topics, ideas, and storylines, but all are based on the mindset of achieving it. The American Dream is a generalized term for every person’s goal in life and will not go away until it is reached. It is prominently portrayed in various modernist time period novels and poems. The modernist movement was a time of disillusionment, partying, and a desire to get back to the way things were. It was the roaring twenties and the economy was thriving. This time period was one of the most significant in American History and The American Dream was heavily prominent during this time period, shaping the way others view the dream for years to come. The Great Gatsby, a modernist novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald perfectly displays the modernist’s American Dream. Jay Gatsby, the billionaire playboy with everything money could buy was still trying to achieve his American Dream. It wasn’t a house or a car, it was a girl. In the beginning of the novel the main character Nick observes Gatsby out on the dock. “I could have sworn he was trembling...distinguished nothing except a single green......

Words: 622 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

American Dream Is Achievable

...undoubtedly heard of the American Dream. The idea that no matter who you are or where you have come from, you can do whatever it is you desire in America. What was once one the main driving forces for immigrants to flock to the new world, has slowly changed over the years, but still holds its value in the eyes of those who are looking for a promising new place to live. The American dream might not hold the same awe inspiring sound that it once did, but for many generations before ours, it was a beacon of hope that helped build the foundation that the United States was built on. And still today the American dream might not be as achievable as it once was, but it is still an important symbol to the American ideology....

Words: 1061 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

America Dream, everyone has his or her American dream since everyone’s wants and desires is different. From my personal perspective, the American dream is different from the past to the present, because what people require is diverse. What’s more, the American dream is different from one person to another. So, it depends. Some may want more freedom, some may want more equality and some may want more personal rights. In my opinion, the basis of the American dream was in the dreams and the ideas of those who wanted to immigrate to America and in their though about what the future of America was and what America would be. America is a country full of immigrants where thousands of people immigrated to America in the past. People who desired to immigrate to America had their own thoughts and dreams of what American would become in the future and what their life would be in the future. Was it better than the situation nowadays or even worse? “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I life my lamp beside the golden door!” (Lazarus,online). As we known, there were lots of wars in Europe which resulted in many people not wanting to suffer from tyranny and oppression anymore; hence, they intended to leave their mother countries to a new place without war and more freedom –America. What’s more, those who meant to move to American would not have religious and......

Words: 1228 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Living the American Dream

...Living The American Dream The American Dream is one of the reasons our country is so populated. In the 1800s, immigrants came from all over the world to live the American Dream. It was the inspiration behind huge bounds in technology, industry, and lifestyle. Without this concept of the American Dream, we would more than likely be a third world country struggling to survive in an economically driven world. It is what defines us as a nation, and to this day, it still powers whole generations of American citizens. The American Dream dates all the way back to the late 1700s during the revolutionary war. Our country was founded on the belief that freedom of choice was a right, not a privilege. That belief has carried through to this day. Many foreigners come to America to escape religious or governmental prosecution. America has more opportunity than any other nation on the globe, and that blossoms from the American Dream. In America, people have the opportunity to purchase a home, the opportunity to purchase a car, the opportunity for a higher-level education, and the opportunity to practice whichever religion they so choose. With all of these opportunities also comes responsibility. All of these things are what make America, and the American Dream so beautiful and majestic. In the article Keeping the Dream Alive, written by Jon Meacham, the author explains the historical beginning of the American Dream. The American Dream was created by James Truslow Adams. In the......

Words: 842 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The American Dream

...The American Dream The grass is always greener on the other side. Many people have gone to America in search of “The American Dream”. Many have succeeded, but even more have fallen flat on their faces. Apparently the grass is greener on the other side, but you need a lawnmower to handle all the grass. What I mean with my last sentence is that you can’t just go to America and get rich. You have to have a skill, something you are good at. The lawnmower is the skill and the grass is America. I have read about lots of people who wanted to get rich and famous and so they thought that they just could go to America and become rich overnight. What they don’t realize is that you have to have a skill because you need to earn your money and earn your respect. In the text about Arnold Schwarzenegger he tells us about his journey from being a little Austrian boy, to being a big American icon. When Arnold was young he said to himself that he wanted to be the best in the world in something. The dream of being the best stuck with him and now he has won the Mr. Olympia six times, and he is even the governor of California. He moved to America because he wanted people all over the world to know who he was. He wanted “The American Dream”. His dream about being the best is exactly what the American dream is all about. Arnold’s story is a success story. He made it and now he is living the American dream. In the text he says that it’s important to have more than one dream in life. You have to keep...

Words: 613 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Death of a Salesman

...In what ways does Fitzgerald and Williams present the importance of hopes and dreams? Both F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and Arthur Miller’s ‘A Death of a Salesman’ focus their main ideas on the importance of hopes and dreams. Death of a Salesman, produced in 1949, has become a classic of modern American theatre. It is a story of an average salesman with a dream of being rich and well-liked. Willy believes whole heartedly in what he considers the promise of the American Dream. In the 1940’s The American Dream was as simple as it gets, to have a perfect, successful life with a common nuclear family, a house in the suburbs, a nice car and a life without conflict or family strife. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a highly symbolic reflection on 1920’s America as a whole, in particular the disappearance of the American Dream in an era of material excess. On the surface, ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a story of the eternal love between a man and a woman. However, in reality the main theme of the novel involves a much larger, less romantic outlook. The 1920’s was an era of decayed social and moral values, which means that the idea of The American Dream was different to what it is now. When World War 1 ended in 1918, the generation of young Americans who fought the war became intensely disillusioned. The rise of the stock market in the aftermath of the war led to a sudden increase in the national wealth and a new found materialism, leading the younger generation to pursue a life of......

Words: 1674 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Mice and Men

...longing for more? Is the American Dream actually a reality? Or is it just an illusion one uses to mask the situation they are in? A perfect example of this can be seen through the character George in Of Mice and Men. This novel written by John Steinbeck displays the theme of “The American Dream” as it is in real life. The American dream can be clearly seen through the character of George. Throughout the novel George encountered a great responsibility to take care of, protect, and save from hurt a naive, loyal, and devoted Lennie. George paints a picture of what The American dream is and what it is not. "Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. They come to a ranch an' work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they're poundin' their tail on some other ranch. They ain't got nothing to look ahead to." Whatever George thinks The American Dream is, this isn’t it. A bunch of lonely, wandering farm workers that George describes as being without family or hope. George longs for day where he doesn’t have so much responsibility and doesn’t have to worry. He dreams of a day where life is care-free and easy. "…If I was bright, if I was even a little bit smart, I'd have my own little place, an' I'd be bringin' in my own crops, 'stead of doin' all the work and not getting what comes up outa the ground." This quote describes his American Dream and how he......

Words: 573 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The Dream

...Washington 1 Jalyn Washington English 101 Professor Macy 12 April 2015 The Dream ​The American Dream has many definitions. There are many different answers to describe Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. The American Dream in the late 1940s was to have the “perfect American household”(The American Dream). This was to have a house in the suburbs, a steady job, being married, having a few kids, and keeping up with the Jones’. Death of a Salesman is a harsh criticism of the American Dream. The American Dream in Miller’s play is depicted as the ability to become prosperous by being well liked, the ability to start from nothing to something, and pursuing others dream. It also depends on which character is asked: Willy Loman, Ben, and Biff’s American Dream. ​Willy Loman’s American Dream is the ability to become prosperous by popularity. Willy believes that personality, not hard work and innovation, is the key to success. Time and again, he wants to make sure his boys are well-liked and popular. For example, when his son Biff confesses to making fun of his math teacher’s lisp, Willy is more concerned with how Biff’s classmates react. Biff says he crossed his eyes and talked with a lisp (Miller 1770). Willy giggles and asked him did the kids like it and Biff responds with “They nearly died laughing!”(Miller). They all make fun of Bernard at the beginning of the movie. Willy marks Mr. Bernard for getting his stuff together and says “Oh well he won’t ever amount to anything...

Words: 845 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Texts in Section a Focus on the American Dream

...Studentereksamen The texts in section A focus on the American Dream. Write a paper (700-1000 words) in which your answer the following questions. Answer the questions separately. Give an outline of how the American Dream is interpreted in texts 2, 3 and 4. Text 2: Arnold Schwarzenegger's view on the American Dream is; that it is something you have to make yourself worthy for. This is characterized by three things. To truly succeed as an American citizen you have to learn the English language. This is a necessity to blend in to the American culture. Another factor that weighs in high according to Schwarzenegger about the American Dream is the right to vote. In Austria, you do not have the right to vote, so he exaggerates the fact that the right to vote should not be taken for granted. He also says that 'democracy is not a spectator’s sport', so you should participate as much as possible. Thirdly, he emphasizes that giving back to your country should be important. According to Schwarzenegger you should give back as much and as possible. He ends the text paying tribute to all the great immigrants who have performed service for The United States. Text 3: The third text epitomizes the opinion that the American Dream is money-oriented. Since the economy was at a downfall in 2008, the American Dream had been, metaphorically speaking, been killed or at least wounded. Beyond that, the text is angled in a much more negative way, but maybe a more realistic way. The writer,......

Words: 826 - Pages: 4