The Myth of Individualism

1209 Words Dec 9th, 2011 5 Pages
The Myth of Individualism

America is famous for the reputation of being the land of opportunity, and for generations immigrants have fled to the United States to experience the freedom and equality our government lays claim to. The fundamental of this reputation is the American Dream, the belief that life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each by hard working regardless of social class or circumstances of birth(by James Truslow Adams). The American Dream is different for everyone, though it is most commonly associated with success, freedom, and happiness. The concept of the American Dream seems to have dwindled from where it was in the past few generations. It has gone from success, freedom,
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Class distinction provides not only feelings of inferiority for the lower-classes, but monetary inadequacy as well. Higher-class children have an advantage from birth since they are guaranteed large sums of money at some time in their lives. Furthermore, it is known that it takes money to make money in a capitalistic system and so the inheritance laws only widen the gap between the rich and poor, keeping the lower-class exactly where they started: on the bottom. The American dream can only offer empty promises of equal opportunity to succeed. People are driven to work hard by the notion of success without having almost any chance to succeed. However, because the American Dream is so deeply embedded in our culture, it greatly influences our perception of others and our perception of success. The "all you need is hard work to succeed" mindset has encouraged Americans to flaunt costly possessions to give the persona of a hard worker, while Americans who do not own extravagant objects are looked at as lazy or incompetent. In reality, most cases are opposite. It is undeniable that an American laboring long hour for minimum wage works harder than an American who doesn 't maintain a job because he lives off inheritance money, but that is not what the myth has taught us.
Even for those who have completed the American Dream, it’s not necessary a happy ending. In the story Ragged Dick, Horatio Alger writes about a young man’s progress from poor background that

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