History of America Mirrored in American Literature

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The history of America is mirrored in American Literature. The American dream, the idea of equality and being able to achieve anything you wanted, meant that millions of immigrants moved to America. America claims to be a country which enables everyone to have equality and freedom however in the texts we can see it is rather a Capitalist and individualist country. The paradox of America can be seen through the fact that the Statue called freedom was built by slaves. The inequality can also be seen through the experience of individuals such as Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated for trying to abolish slavery. The reflection of America through texts such as ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and the poems of Sylvia Plath shows the tragic face of America, in which ‘representatives of the upper class are engaged in acts of egotism, self-aggrandizement, and heartlessness.’ In these texts, the American Dream is different for each character as it varies from having money to being a perfect wife or mother. Underneath the concept of the American dream lays America’s reality of a harsh world which proves that not many can have the American Dream but rather their dreams will turn into their nightmare as they live in a country based on Darwin’s idea of ‘Survival of the fittest’. These texts show that those who accept what they have are able to achieve their dream however those who want everything and strive to have everything find that their dream turns into a nightmare
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