A Description of the American Dream in the Novels the Jungle, the Great Gatsby

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Interpretation of the American Dream in the Jungle, The Great Gatsby, and Death of a Salesman

The United States Declaration of Independence proclaims that all men are created equal and that everyone has the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This document led to the national ethos that is the American Dream. This dream states that "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class.

Following the Civil War, the United States of America underwent large-scale change and, by the start of the twentieth century, was one of the richest nations in the world. By 1950, the United States of America was the richest country in the world and a world power.The state was not the only thing to change during this period. From the late nineteenth century up until the 1920s, average Americans experienced a dramatic expansion in wealth and prosperity. However, with the Wall Street Crash in 1929, the U.S.A. experienced an economic depression that destroyed millions of livelihoods. This eventful period of American history led many to question the American Dream's place in modern America.

This research paper will examine the interpretation of the American Dream in literature between the Progressive Era at the start of the twentieth century and the 1950s economic and social boom. In order to do this, the paper will examine the novels The Jungle, The Great Gatsby, and Death of a Salesman. These three novels all examine the American Dream in different decades.

Written in 1906 by Upton Sinclair The Jungle is a novel that portrayed the lives of immigrants and the working class in century America. The novel was published during the muckraking decade, and its depiction of poverty, unpleasant living and working conditions, and the corruption of those in power led it to be called the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery.

A socialist named Upton Sinclair believed that by the start of the twentieth century, the concept of the American Dream had become hollow and hypocritical. In order to portray this, Sinclair uses the character of Jurgis Rudkus and his extended family as symbols of the hollowness and hypocrisy of the dream. Jurgis comes to the U.S. with the belief that he will receive good wages and live a good life in the new world. Throughout most of the novel, Jurgis maintains an unshakeable faith in the concept of the dream, believing that his hard work and moral values will result in success and happiness.

Unfortunately, every aspect of the family's experience in the U.S. is the opposite of the American Dream. Sinclair does this in an attempt to expose what he feels is the hypocrisy of the dream. Jurgis and his family expect to arrive in a country of acceptance and opportunity but find a town full of prejudice and exploitation. In Packingtown, hard work does not normally lead to success, as the most well-off characters got to where they are by being corrupt and partaking in crime.

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A Description of the American Dream in the Novels the Jungle, the Great Gatsby. (2023, Mar 07). Retrieved June 22, 2024 , from

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