The idea of the American dream revolves around attaining happiness, success and equality. For higher wealth classes obtaining these components aren't a concern; but for many, the American Dream has become a nightmare. For the poor being able to obtain simple necessities such as food, clothing and shelter is a daily struggle. The price of being poor is a lot costlier then those in the realm of the wealthy. Based on the current economic and social systems in America it does not provide everyone with a fair chance to achieve the “American Dream”. In todays society many Americans believe money is the only way to happiness. True or not true, money certainly isn't a hindrance to obtaining the necessary components for survival. But if the American Dream is no longer about happiness and freedom it becomes solely about wealth and possession. "Money cannot buy happiness." (Anonymous, Spring Board pg.81) represents the concept that money doesn't necessarily play apart in your emotional well-being. Today, materialism is more important than character. Money isn't everything; you don't need it to be happy and certainly not to achieve "The American Dream". In addition to that, although money can jump-start your future it can also drive you into the ground. Dana Gioia, the author of "Money", says "...Money holds heads above water..." Implying money plays a crucial part in keeping your dreams alive while America demands so much. Although finances are a building block to ones version of the
In the article “I came, I saw, I shopped” It says “...americans don’t have savings...” This line says a lot about how people tend to purchase wants more than needs. When deciding on whether or not to make a purchase unless you are struggling for money the thought of need or want doesn’t cross your mind. The article also states that collectors are in serious debt because the purchases these collectors make are too big for their pockets. These examples are just the beginning, as materialism has been an issue for thousands of years.
With social media playing a huge role in society, us Americans are becoming more materialistic. We are being influenced by people who give us these unrealistic expectations in life and always making us want more in life than what we have. We try living up to these expectations by buying elaborate accessories, when in reality they serve no purpose to us, making us feel empty on the inside. Like Steinbeck said, “We trample friends, relatives and strangers who get in the way of our achieving it; and once we get it we shower in on psychoanalysts to try to find out why we are unhappy” (Steinbeck). Despite all of this, us Americans still claim to be realistic, yet we pay $800 for a phone just so we can be like everyone else. We buy name brand clothes that are overpriced. We pay $7 for a cup of coffee. The list goes on and on. The American Dream Steinbeck relates to is not something someone can buy, rather is it something you earn. As Steinbeck said, the American Dream is “yearnings toward what we wish were and hope we may be: wise, just, compassionate, and noble. The fact that we have this dream at all is perhaps an indication of its
The main points of the book are divided up,and go month by month.Each month is a new topic.Judith is challenged against her own word of not buying anything for a new year.The book witnesses Levine’s journey from enthusiastic experiment in January to a still game but weary participant by the fall.As favorite luxuries run out and clothes become shabbier,many of her points are intentionally provacative.For instance,not buying makes her feel vulnerable and having to ask for help.”I know I’m not alone in my ambivalence about consuming”After a few months Levine does not have to ask for help anymore.She is used to not buying anything,but it is still hard.At the beginning of her year without shopping,she is in a panic.This is not necessarily a personal panic.”Still I am moved by a sense of personal responsibility,not to say personal panic ,about this big,bad problem and the rapidity with which its is getting worse”’At the end of the book ,her mood changed from “panic”’to prosperity.Panic,Surplus,Consumer Psychology,New and Improved,In/Voulnatary Simplicity,Scarity,Redistribution of Wealth,Structual Adjustments,Memories of Underdevelpment,Security Fraud,Brand America,The Ownership Society and Prosperity.are the fifteen chapters in “Not Buying It”.Within each chapter, we discover,the different difficult trade-offs and tensions in not consuming.By focusing primarily on the personal choices and consequences of not shopping,Levine may be telling us more about the mind-set of American
The first way we got a jump start was through the article summary assignments based on articles pertaining to contemporary culture. In all honesty, some of them did cause me to look at things with eyes I had not used before. One article in particular that sticks out in my mind, is Stuff is Not Salvation, by Anna Quindlen. Through her use of Ethos, she really brings to light how Americans have this ridiculous obsession with buying stuff. She notes how we are trying to use junk to make ourselves happier, but in the end, as Anna puts it, “The happiest families I know aren’t the ones with the most square footage” (Qtd in Perspectives pg 503). Before reviewing this article, I considered myself someone who didn’t necessarily NEED stuff, but as the assignment went on, I realized how bad it really has gotten for us as a society.
In his essay, “Economy,” Henry David Thoreau argues that luxuries do not provide happiness. More specifically, Thoreau argues that luxuries hinder the development of humans; he says, “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor” (13). In this passage, Thoreau is suggesting that it is wise not to live a luxurious life. In conclusion, Thoreau believes the number of luxuries a person has should not determine if a person has led a good life.
Mindless zombies is what our consumer culture has created. In the article, “Stuff is Not Salvation,” by Anna Quindlen, the author uses all three appeals to shed light on how we as consumers have been throwing away our money on useless “stuff.” This not-so-new consumer mindset has created its own industry that has directly affected the U.S. stock market and made a lot of Wall Street execs rich. Americans need to stop going crazy over holiday bargains and realize what effect this mindless spending is having on consumer culture and on people in general.
These days we are surrounded by the latest technology: smartphones, hybrid automobiles, and robots that clean your floors. Companies are constantly finding ways to capture your attention; to keep upgrading and spending endless amounts of money on items that you don’t need. In “Honestly–You Shouldn’t Have” by Anna Quindlen, the reoccurring theme of materialisticness is mentioned and is applied to every American, starting from the Industrial Revolution up until now. In reality, having these upgraded objects and over expensive clothing represent how socially insecure they are. They simply cannot live looking poor or old fashioned, they need to show others that they are not bottom feeders. People see what they have and know there is a better model
The rapper Kanye West stated “She don`t believe in shooting stars but she believes in shoes and cars.” Malls, Outlets and online resources are the most common sources for shopping experiences for many people today. There are also the many food outlets and sales that encourage people to purchase items that may or may not be necessary. In her essay, “American Consumerism,” Jamie Bentley reflecting on Simon Benlow’s essay “An Apology to Future Generations” that expresses concern about consumers’ negative impact on the environment reveals this generation’s obsession with materialism, with the hope that people will learn to do more with less. The many options available to purchase items create a problem for individuals who desire to have what they
In this essay I will be outlining consumerism and claims that a consumer society is always a throw-away society. Consumption plays a big part in our lives and causes us to live in divided societies. It may make us feel like we fit in buying new gadgets and clothes and also give us that sense of belonging but we don’t take into account what happens to the old items and packaging. People do not want to look at the problems caused. I will use this essay with the evidence I have read
The texts, “High incomes don’t bring you Happiness” and “You can buy Happiness, if it’s an Experience”, completes the idea that monetary value does not bring true joy. In the passage, “High incomes don’t bring you Happiness”, the author states that bringing in an over excessive amount of money will not make one happy. The author said that an overall income of around $75,000 will complete one’s emotional well being, while anything over that will complete a life evaluation. Life evaluation is the idea that if one was to look at themselves while they’re in their deathbed, how would they rate their lifestyle. This is also supported through different statements within the passage, “You can buy Happiness, if it’s an Experience”. Within this study, it was proven that people enjoyed money, but often spent it on materialistic items which leaves them with a temporary feeling of satisfaction, while when they are given a fully paid trip to the Bahamas, the feeling of peace and joy lasts far longer than when they were to purchase an item of materialistic value. This
As Austrian writer Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach wrote,“To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible.” History and literature have established that the ideal goal every American has wanted is for his thirst for material possessions to be reached, but even then, the individual isn’t truly happy. Money, and the things it can get you, have long been a part of American culture and the materialist culture of society have been examined in numerous ways from novels to the art of those like Andy Warhol. A life free from the economic woes that plague almost everyone seems like the quintessential existence, but material wealth is not a way to mend issues.
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness? Today, the argument can be made that happiness and consumerism are directly linked. It is fair to say that happiness is a relative term for different people. However, the obtaining of new and shiny things has become such a part of everyday life, that it provides happiness when people are purchasing something new, and causes sadness when no buying is taking place. For many, it seems to be a protective coating against the harsh realities of everyday stresses from a job, or family life.