Although definitions of the American Dream may vary in some respects, the most common definition includes a belief in the achievement of monetary success, the assumption that the current generation will do better than the previous generation. In recent years, however, commentators have questioned the continued viability of the American Dream, pointing to such factors as the tremendous growth in income inequality, the increasing cost of a college education, staggering student debt, the weakening of labor unions, and the power of corporate money.
Bearing in mind some of these comments and others, compare two works that we read this semester, one of which has an optimistic outlook on the American Dream, and one that is more critical of the concept. (PLEASE USE “THE GREAT GATSBY” AND “Benjamin Franklin’s The Autobiography) Consider such questions as the following: Which of the two works seems to you to be more valid today? Is the American Dream still a realistic dream? Was it ever a realistic dream? What factors affect its success?
You might want to look at some recent newspaper articles regarding the American Dream and other relevant information. If you do so, be sure to cite your sources.
You won’t need secondary sources about the texts; I am interested in what you think. But if you do use them, you must cite your sources.
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