The Obtainable Dream
by Daeisha Smith
Critical Essay Winner, 2017 VSU Student Writing Contest
As a society the United States of America, incorporated a set of ideas in reference to the success of citizens. This idea is known or referred to as the American Dream. “The idea of the American dream promotes the belief that every United States citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative” (Sobel American Dream). Success and prosperity fall anywhere on the spectrum of career, family, assets, and ultimately happiness. As a result of this idea that has been incorporated by the country, the American dream creates the foundation of controversy among the citizens whether this idea is beneficial and accurate. The concept of the American dream prevails within the younger generation as they idolize the elite upper classes who have been able to acquire the dream.
Success within present day society is immensely sought out by the younger generation. However, what does success consist of exactly? According to the idea that has been adapted by the United States, success is the ability to obtain the highest point of prosperity or wealth. Prosperity and wealth can be displayed in many forms, whether it stems from money, materialistic products, or happiness within family dynamics. It is to be said that the American Dream has been obtained once the individual has achieved success. For instance, success within the American dream suggests that once citizen have purchased the large dream home with the white picket fence, multiple foreign cars, is financially secure, and in possession of ideal perfect little family. The American dream has been obtained. Success is the ultimate goal of the American dream because it is expected that the individual has put forward hard work, determination, and initiative in order to achieve the highest point of prosperity and wealth. The younger generation immensely seeks success because of the desire to partake in the highest point of prosperity and wealth, but only a few are able to achieve such success. In order to achieve success, all three components are necessary to guide them along the road to the desired destination, but multiple individuals of the younger generation tend to focus more on the fruits of the labor and not so much the labor (hard work, determination, and initiative) that is required to provide the fruits (success). The select few within the younger generation who are able to achieve such success are the ones who recognize early on the hard work that is needed to be put forward, the determination required, and the initiative to get going in order to achieve success. Numerous individuals of the younger generation are yearning to succeed so the struggle and hardship faced in everyday life will become unfathomable as the vision of the future looks bright with the promise of a better life through success.
Celebrities are the few upper class elites who help to promote the concept of the American Dream, as they are the primary representative. With celebrities being at the forefront of the American dream concept the younger generation is more inclined to be enticed by the lifestyle lived by these elite upper class individuals. Whether it includes the brand these individuals wear, the homes they own, the exotic foreign cars they drive, the amount of money flaunted on social media. Celebrities tend to appeal to the public through many forms of social media, whether it is on television, magazines, social networks, etc. With that being, said celebrities promote the concept of the American dream through social media where the younger generation is able to watch the extravagant lifestyle at the tip of their finger. The younger generation is in fact interested and well engaged in the lifestyles of celebrities as they are yearning for such success as those elite upper class who were able to achieve the American dream. Subsequently celebrities create the desire of the younger generation to chase after success as it is clear what the American dream is capable of and the lifestyle the youth are able to live once hard work, determination, and initiative is present.
With the younger generation being able to relate to the upper class elite through location, race, and child rearing times creates the belief that the dream is obtainable. The influence of relatable experience of the upper class elites creates the illusions that if the upper class elite can make it so can this younger generation. Following, this further take Jay Z for example where the rapper lived in Marcy Housing known as the projects in Brooklyn New York. Marcy is a form of public housing where it is provided to low income individuals, many may have considered this a form of poverty, but as the sight of today’s society ignores that part of the rappers past and instead focus on Jay Z current success. Today Jay Z is worth $520 million dollars (financially stable), own Multiple Mansions (A house with the white picket fence), is married to Beyoncé which the two have one child together (the ideal family). For the individuals that lived in the same public housing as the rapper believes if Jay Z was able to make it out on top they have the same opportunity for the same. Generally speaking, with the ability to relate is one of the major factors in what thrives the concept of “The American Dream”.
The American dream contains an enormous impact on the younger generation as they are inspired and intrigued by the upper class elites, whom being able to obtain success at the highest point. Considering the points made earlier, it is safe to conclude, the younger generation endeavors succeed within this present day society, celebrities (upper class elites) help to promote the concept of the American dream, and finally the younger generation is able to relate to some of the upper class elites who create the belief that they’re able to acquire the dream as well.
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