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The American Dream

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The American Dream is the concept that all Americans are all given an equal opportunity to succeed through hard work and determination. Many factors, however, play into achieving this dream. The typical American citizen has no say or control over a lot of these factors. Everyone has a dream, yet not everyone has the opportunity to achieve them. Therefore, the American Dream is not possible because no matter how hard people work towards their dream, oppression and discrimination will continue to be present and form a lack of upward mobility within the class systems. Many sources support that idea including A Raisin in the Sun , The Jungle , an article called “Who’s Your Daddy?” and the poem “A Dream Deferred” by

One source that further proves that discrimination and oppression limits upward mobility in class systems, is the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. The play tells the story of a family living in Chicago in the 1950’s showing both the good and bad aspects of being a black family at that time. One major point in this play that showed the Younger family’s struggle dealing with discrimination and oppression, was when a spokesperson from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, came to talk with the family about their plans to move into Clybourne Park. He talks ambiguously telling the family that the community “voted” against them moving into the park. “‘I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn’t enter into it. It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities’” (Hansberry 118). This quote shows just how discrimination and prejudice affects the family’s want to move into Clybourne Park and how what Linder says to them creates a sense of pressure to not move in. The whole Younger family experienced struggles dealing with these opinions people had of them, and a lot of them had to put aside their dreams because of this discrimination. This happens much too often to families everywhere, many putting aside dreams and needs all because of people's viewpoints on their lives and social “norms”. That being only one example of how many people aren’t able to achieve the American Dream, A few more sources support the claim. The next being the novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

In, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair follows the lives of a Lithuanian family moving to Chicago in the early 1900’s in search of a better life. However, that better life is not as easy to achieve as it had seemed to the small family before they arrived. When the family arrived in the big, new city, they had no idea where to begin in regards to this new life in America. Many forces went against them in the beginning and even in the ends of their lives there. One being the fact that wealthy business owners treated immigrants and this Lithuanian family with oppression and discrimination. From worrying if you would keep your job to becoming a prostitute in hopes it saves your family, the struggles this group of Lithuanians faced were unfathomable and unfortunately, all too familiar to immigrant families everywhere. Right away in the beginning of the novel when the family moved into the city, they immediately begin the process of owning a home. They were shocked by the system and heard all sorts of stories about what happens in “Packingtown”. “‘Interest on the money you still owe’ she answered … ‘They trick you and eat you alive. They never sell the house without interest. Get your deed and see.’ … they saw themselves victims of a relentless fate, cornered, trapped, in the grip of destruction” (Sinclair 73). The Lithuanian family at this point in the novel finally understood the extent of corruption in Chicago, they understood just how dire their situation was. Businesses were able to trick the family into a financial crisis. The family soon needed to put aside their aspirations of living in a house grander than



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