“I have a dream…” (I Have a Dream, Screen #1) a line made famous by the well-known political activist, Martin Luther King Jr. In his speech, he uttered his message of peace as he was promoting non-violence and equal treatment for different races. He was fighting for equality among all men. His major goal was to advocate a more peaceful environment for all of his fellowmen regardless of color, stature or race. Just like Martin Luther King’s dream for peace and equality, we are still fighting for the cause of the American Dream.
The American Dream is the idea held by many in the United States that through hard work, courage and determination one could achieve prosperity. These were values held by many early European settlers, and have been passed on to subsequent generations. What the American dream has become is a question under constant discussion. (American Dream, Screen #1). On this day and age, one might ask, “Does the American Dream still exist? ” It has been under deep scrutiny for it had been several years that this key concept has been passed on generations but a clear cut evidence as to its imminent presence is still intensely being searched for.
People everywhere is aking if the American Dream still lives within inside all of us. In order for us to be able to move forward in our quest for the American dream, we must really understand and find out if our dreams are still intact. We must check if the same dream that we all have been holding on can still be realized. The poem, “The Second Coming”, William Butler Yeats implies that technology is progressing beyond mankind’s ability to control it. Yeats made the lines, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;” very famous.
I have chosen this passage not only because it was one of the most famous lines in the text but it was one of the many that had made its impact on readers. This passage could mean that due to the fast-paced society that we have, the center can no longer control its subordinates. He pointed out current historical moment (the poem appeared in 1921) in terms of these gyres. Yeats’ believed that the world was on the threshold of an apocalyptic revelation, as history reached the end of the outer gyre (to speak roughly) and began moving along the inner gyre.
In other words, he thinks the world is going off on a tangent. Everything that we are holding on so dearly is coming apart. At present, we are starting to lose our connection to our past. By our incessant desire for the achievement of the much- coveted American dream, we may have been losing sight of what we really want from what we truly need. He believed that modern inventions, technological advancement and freedom are slowly crippling us because these things are tearing us away from our dreams.
In the novel, “Grapes of Wrath”, the character of Tom Joad was released from prison but it his discharged from jail proved to be much more difficult because they Joad and his neighbors were forced out of their land to find another home and find a job to sustain their family. On their way to their journey, the Joad family had met several struggles and adversities. Though this may be the case, these events will eventually led to a more understanding of life. One of the many themes prevalent in the text is the dignity of wrath. On this note, we could see that this theme is very obvious.
As long as people maintain a sense of injustice—a sense of anger against those who seek to undercut their pride in themselves—they will never lose their dignity. (Roberts, Screen #2). This is a very important point because it shows us the wrath does not carry a one-sided negative meaning but it could also be a positive force in one’s life. Wrath, though condemned, can be deemed useful in one’s life. It can be used as a motivation for one’s survival as no one wishes to be walked on by other people while maintaining our dignity as we combat life’s struggle.
The novel, “Nobody Knows My Name”, is an autobiographical account of a black man coming of age in the first quarter of the 20th century, a time suffused with huge changes in society. Although there were more opportunities for education and economic access, black men also faced worsening racism, violence, and extreme prejudices. It is my opinion that the American dream has not yet ceased to exist as evident to the three texts that I have read in writing this paper. In the poem by Yeats, although he was hinting the weaknesses of mankind to control his surroundings, I believe we can still take hold of what is going to happen next.
Grim and bleak maybe Yeats’ point of view on our future, I would like to believe that there is still hope for the American dream. Although he was nearly predicting the “second coming” in terms of our eminent destruction due to our inability to control our surroundings, I firmly believe that our dreams could still materialize if we would really strive for it. We could still make it happen if we try a little harder. In “Grapes of Wrath”, John Steinbeck depicts the lives of ordinary people striving to preserve their humanity in the face of social and economic desperation.
One of the prevailing themes of the novel is the solidarity of one’s family and fellowship. Although the Joads are joined by blood, the text argues that it is not their genetics but their loyalty and commitment to one another that establishes their true kinship. In the migrant lifestyle portrayed in the book, the biological family unit, lacking a home to define its boundaries, quickly becomes a thing of the past, as life on the road demands that new connections and new kinships be formed. (Steinbeck’s, Screen#1)
Once gain, the truth behind the famous cliche “Misery loves company” was proven. In the Joad family’s attempt to better their status and through their struggles, they have formed deep friendships with their fellowmen. At this note, I think, the American dream could still survive at the present times if like in this novel, the family remained strong to defend their dreams. The American dream can still come true if we still have the same compassion for others and a desire to be of help to others. The question remains, does the American dream still exist?
My answer would be a resonding yes. In Steinbeck’s novel, he showed action by the lower classes over expressions of individualist self-interest and chastises corporate and banking elites for shortsighted policies meant to maximize profit even while forcing farmers into destitution and even starvation. (“Summary”, Screen #1)Although towards the end of the story, it is somewhat unclear what lies for the Joads, their compassion for their fellowmen was still shown. An evidence of this would be when Rose of Sharon, barely recovered from childbirth, had nursed a man in need.
While in the novel, “Nobody Knows My Name”, the author showed the relentless struggles of a man. Although James Baldwin died a couple of years ago, he continues important as a spokesman against discrimination and as a moving portrayer of inter-racial relationships in both the private and public spheres Lastly, the poem by William Butler Yeats starts out with the image of a falcon wheeling about in the sky, far away from the falconer who released it. The bird continues to wheel and gyre further and further away from the falconer.
This symbol stands for the young people who have given up the values of their parents and grandparents for the new art, the new literature, the new music. (Water, Screen #1) And also Yeats said that is one gyre widens over a period of two thousand years the other narrows, producing a gradual change in the age. The process goes back to another twenty centuries that have passed, and so on, producing a cyclic pattern throughout time. This only goes to show that people everyday seeks ways in bettering their lives and they are always willing to help those who need them,
The reason I chose the positive side is for the reason that I think, success comes from man’s ability to survive in his environment. Moreover, I believe that the American dream shall never die because as long as there is a child that is born, the American dream is renewed once more. In Yeats’ poem he contemplated on the idea that children can lose their desire of making the same choices made by their predecessors. They would have to make different ones but equally challenging decisions. I think the Americans can still survive their struggles for the reason that the younger generation can have more fruitful decisions.
By doing so, they are perpetuating the concept of change, thus, this decisions can save the American dream from being forgotten. Another thing is Yeats’ showed notion that once in every two thousand years, there is a gradual change on our ideals. The processes then transposes after several centuries have passed, producing a cyclic pattern throughout time. If this is the case, the American dream will not cease to exist primarily because if we will all come back in two thousand years, we would all go back to all our old aspirations and dreams and inevitably, to our same, old American dream.