Include an introduction that introduces readers to the topic of the American Dream in an interesting way and provides readers with a brief summary of the two articles you will focus on for your discussion. Your summary should highlight some of the key points the authors make in their article. This summary should set you up nicely to move to a thesis that clarifies the two elements that most appeal to you as ones you would like to pass down to future generations. For this thesis, you will also need to add a “because” clause that clarifies reasons why you want to pass these elements on to your children and future generations. (You should have at least 2 stated reasons).
Have focused, well developed body paragraphs that support the thesis with good examples and details. I should see effective use of the author as you discuss each element of the Dream. Your personal examples should help clarify why this particular element of the American Dream matters to you and is one you want your children or future generations to inherit. When using the author, be sure to effectively quote or paraphrase, using signal phrases and page numbers as needed. Be sure to have thoughtful wrap up sentences that bring body paragraphs to a clear, effective close.
Have a conclusion that offers some thoughtful observations about the American Dream, its evolution, and what you believe its future should be. Many of the authors we’ve read end on a hopeful note. Consider doing the same.
The very mention of the ideal of the American Dream is incomplete without invoking the inputs provided by three notable personalities, namely, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Truslow Adams and Martin Luther King. Each of them had at different points of time in the American history, infused their visions into the ideal as a response to the needs of the time. The ideal of the American Dream had gained currency with the publication of Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, in the year 1920, wherein he had associated the vision with prospects of better life by acquiring material requisites of life. Adams’ definition in 1931 on the other hand had emphasized on enriching the quality of life by making the social conditions conducive to both growth and development for all sections of the society. Martin Luther King had added the dimension of equality amongst the races in 1964, to draw attention towards the grave injustices perpetrated on the Blacks.
Apart from their pioneering intellectual labour, there are other scholars who have expressed their understanding and concern on the relevance of the American Dream. In this essay two such scholarly works shall be discussed in the following sections with a reflective undertone, justifying why the elements specifically highlighted have been chosen to be passed down to my successors. For the purpose, the articles, “The making and persistence of the American dream” by John Kenneth White and Sandra L. Hanson; and, "Rethinking the American dream" by David Kamp shall be discussed.
White and Hanson (2011) traces the origin of the ideal of the American Dream from antiquity to the contemporary times with a stress on the relevance of the ideals in defining and shaping the day to day lives of the people. They opine that the very essence of the American Dream was very much immanent in the watershed episode of America winning freedom from the yoke of colonialism in the year 1776, which made it very clear that the Americans could by means of self-reliance achieve even the seemingly impossible. Their article provides an evidential account of how the ideal of the American Dream has from time to time materialized itself. A vivid account of America successfully overcoming the period of the Great Depression, and Obama becoming the first non-white President of America in the article is quite inspiring.
David Kamp’s article, ‘Rethinking the American Dream’ (2009), is a critical insight into the saga of success that America had witnessed over the years post the achievement of independence from foreign occupation. It very blatantly hints at the struggles and the price which the common people had to pay in order to sway through the times of distress. That brings one to question as to, whether the dream is of individual concern or of the collectivity. Kamp had been very assertive of the fact that the American Dream had relevance to the lives a section of the people, while another section of the American society who languished in the quagmire of misery.
Having provided an overview of the two articles, the discussion shall focus now on two ideals extracted from each of them to be handed down to my successors, on the basis of my personal judgement. The messages of, invoking the past to ensure success in the future years, and the spirit of perseverance is quite noteworthy in the article by White and Hanson. I would try to reconcile my successors to the fact that whatever we are today is but a derivative, a gift of the determination and enterprise of our predecessors, hence we must look up to them, emulate them, and carry forward their legacy in order to achieve success. By this, it is not being meant that the future course of actions are supposed to be an exact replica of the model followed by the great persons in the yesteryears. Modification of the approach, by keeping the spirit intact is ideally the suitable method, which retains the element of being futuristic without compromising with the core values. Secondly, just having a vision and not working to achieve that is not something which had happened in America. The upcoming generations must learn that the destiny of human beings lies in their own capacities. The Americans had exhibited a broad vision which enabled them to emphasize not just on the economic aspect at the face of the Great Depression. They had also expressed concern on the social aspect, which made recovery from the perils possible effectively. Had it not been the perseverance to transform the social order of the country which was essentially hostile to the Blacks, Obama would never have been the President of the country.
Kamp’s sensational article conveys two messages of utmost importance I shall expect of my successors to devote due consideration in order to render an ideal having relevance in its truest sense. First of all, the spirit of a common ideal defining a nation must be cultivated. The young generation must keep in mind that a nation comprises of people and it survives because the people channelize their efforts towards its upkeep. Consequently, the perks and perils incurred by the nation should be evenly distributed without exerting either of the influences on any particular section, as that goes against the spirit of justice. Secondly, the attitude of critical thinking must also be adopted by the future generation. Those who are children today, shall become adults tomorrow and take over the reins of managing the affairs of the country. Since America has been a multicultural society which respects, acknowledges and guarantees the freedom of expression and dignity of each and every human life residing within its territorial boundary, the issue is even more important. Often the injustices hurled upon the minorities is overlooked. That is owing to the lack of critical approach towards the principle of majoritarianism. I want my immediate younger generation and all other young folks of the country to realize that they must be intuitive enough to understand that simply because something suits the majority does not imply that it is just.
Hanson, Sandra L., and John Kenneth White. "The making and persistence of the American dream." The American dream in the 21st Century (2011): 1-16.
Kamp, David. "Rethinking the American dream." Vanity Fair (2009).
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