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Office Space: The American Nightmare

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Fabian Williams Office Space “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is every person’s god given right, but what exactly is happiness? Americans have fallen in love with the idea of success, we fantasize about cars, clothes and caviar. We want to be living the high life, but the only way to access the high life is to work for it. To climb the ladder of success till you get to the summit. It’s the American Dream, but that’s just it, it’s nothing but a dream, a fantasy. The reality of life is a boring and stressful existence where many of us are just struggling to make a few dollars. It would suffice to say that the American Dream is in all actuality the American Nightmare. The American Nightmare is a pitiful existence inside a self-made…show more content…
The foremost perception is that of Peter Gibbons who works a nine to five job as a lifeless drone for Initech, a company that he hates and he has a hostile girlfriend who is constantly cheating on him without his knowledge. Peter despises his work and the mundane day to day reality, but most of all he despises his eight bosses especially Bill Lumbergh. “Puffed up with fake jocularity, Bill epitomizes the smiley, buck-passing, back-stabbing, passive-aggressive office dictator who fears and despises his underlings while prating nauseatingly about everybody being one big happy family” (Holden). In the eyes of our main cast Bill is the devil himself, as many white collared workers across the nation could say about their own bosses as well. Bill repeatedly abuses his position and power and antagonizes his already distraught workers. This only adds further fuel to the nightmare and places increasing stress and disdain upon the workers…show more content…
“What would you do if you had a million dollars?” this is the question that is constantly presented to numerous characters within the film. The purpose of the question is to examine and observe what that particular characters ideal version of the American Dream is. For Peter Gibbons his answer would be to sit at home all day and do absolutely nothing. His life would be free from stress and he would simply do all the things he would want to do such as fish. Peter’s American Dream is absolute freedom, he wants to be able to do anything he wants to do whenever he wants to do. In sharp contrast is one of his co-workers Samir, who answers the million dollar question with investing half the money into stocks to diversify his portfolio, and the other half into securities. Samir’s version of the American dream is continuously climbing the ladder, he wouldn’t be satisfied with simply being successful he’d want even more success and more wealth. This is a crucial theme of the film because it shows the dichotomy of perspectives amongst society. There are those who want to keep climbing the ladder, and then there are those who simply want to leap off and
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