Essay on Disadvantages Of The American Dream


“We as Americans are completely obsessed and wrapped up in a lot of the wrong values - looking good, having cash in the bank, being perceived as rich, famous and successful or just being famous... It's the most superficial part of the American dream and who would know better than me? The only thing that's going to bring you happiness is love and how you treat your fellow man and having compassion for one another.”- Madonna Ciccone. The American Dream has been used to enslave, to segregate, and to exploit. I believe the American Dream is a biased system that only few truly benefit from. Teaching that our worth is based on our achievements, that we should always want more, and that we can exploit anything to live a more comfortable life. 

This idea is exemplified by the author Scott FitzGerald in the characterizations in his book, “The Great Gatsby”.  In this book, the character, Gatsby, who was born lower class, has moved to a rich, upper class town. He feels like he doesn’t fit in with the egotistical and shallow people, but if he only tries harder, and gains more possessions, then maybe he will. Even though he eventually becomes extremely wealthy, he never reaches true happiness, and is always left wanting more. This exemplifies how unsatisfying and unattainable the American Dream is. Instead, we should learn to be content and grateful for everything we have and not be taught that we should constantly wish for more which will only bring unfulfillment in life. 

Additionally, the American Dream has been used for despicable purposes. Because of its focus on materials and wealth, it often completely disregards the ways that we are getting those goods. This is shown vividly in history, with Americans enslaving African Americans in the past, and now with the resemblances of numerous prisoners working and either being paid nothing or less than a dollar an hour. Being born human means empathizing and loving other humans; but the American Dream has evolved into a system where we get cheap labour and frequently buy and throw away products without caring where it came from or where it goes. 

“For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.”- Bernie Sanders. What may have started out as well-meaning has turned into an idea where we constantly compare ourselves to others, and constantly buy and throw away products. This dream applies only to the people it was made for. Maybe a few people benefit from this delusional idea, but likely the majority of those benefiting had unknowing but prejudiced systems silently helping them.

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