American Dream...Help with definition

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I've mentioned before I volunteer at my daughters school usually doing an 8th grade speaking class. The teacher asked if I would come in on Monday and talk to her oberstufe class about the "American Dream" She told me I didn't need to prepare anything just answer questions from the kids. While I am pretty good at answering questions on the fly it got me thinking what the "American Dream" means to me. After looking into it a bit deeper since I never really thought about it I realize it can have many meanings. So I was hoping some of the Americans in TT could tell me their thoughts so I am well rounded in my answers to the class.  Thanks

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Well, one part of the American Dream to me is that education is more open in the US.

Yes, after high school it all costs money (and that's not fair).

But you can get back in at any age, with any background.

 

Our story: Mr Metall had had a hard time in German school (depression plus discrimination), and finished regular German school with the lowest possible qualification. Basically he had nothing, and was locked into low paying jobs. Getting higher education in Germany is subject to a ton of rules and time demands that made it very difficult for him.

 

But after visiting the US, he was motivated to get the GED books and study them at home on his own schedule, take the test at Prometric whenever he was ready. And he passed! And he could self study and take the TOEFL test whenever he could!

And he's in advanced training now, based on that GED, which will even let him go to college as a mature student, if need be!

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I think the American Dream is an ideology based on equal rights and opportunities for all. As we know, in some areas it works but in others it doesn't. Anyway, might be a good talking point.

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                       Found this online, up until now the American Dream meant for me living in comfort, safety, owning property and often  being in debt. In my childhood in Ireland in the 50s parcels containing luxuries , letters with Dollars arriving from relations living  there at Easter and Xmas also made us believe it was a land of  wealth.I am re-reading at present Malachy McCourt.s "A Monk Swimming" .

 

The term was coined by writer and historian James Truslow Adams in his best-selling 1931 book "Epic of America."  He described it as ""that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." He went on to explain, "It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

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1 hour ago, fraufruit said:

I think the American Dream is an ideology based on equal rights and opportunities for all. As we know, in some areas it works but in others it doesn't. Anyway, might be a good talking point.

 

Don't forget the white picket fence :P

 

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2 hours ago, fraufruit said:

I think the American Dream is an ideology based on equal rights and opportunities for all.

That's also my view: anyone can succeed, independently of where they come from. This was mostly true for European immigrants who were limited in their original country by class level, etc.

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A component of the American Dream is fairly comprehensive freedom of speech and expression. That is unavailable in most countries.

 

In the U.S., it is legal to make an obscene gesture at a cop. One may get flogged for it (or shot, if one is black), but it is technically legal.

 

 

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Lot's of meanings and I think some of the Dream is skewed by when we grew up.  When I was younger, I'd say:

 

Material: a good, well-paying and prestigious job, nice house (apartment or Co-Op if you like the city), car, enough money to go on vacations.  I think this differed a lot between the Coasts (almost Bonfire of the Vanities or the first two stanza’s of O’Shaughnessy’s “Ode” ) and middle America (my grandfather and father worked for Ford – or as s tradesman in the union – and that’s the kind of secure job I want for life)


Ideological: To have the opportunity to do anything you want; if you work hard enough at something you can excel; to have the ability / education to provide a better life for yourself and your partner than your parents had, and to provide your children with even better possibilities


For some US younger people these days:  To do well enough to not have to live at home; to not be in debt and have the ability to travel, to find a job where their talents are appreciated and to be allowed to have a voice and make an impact, to have a solid work / life balance

 

I'm not so sure that freedom of speech and expression is part of the Dream - it's so ingrained in US society that it's an expectation (though you are correct that with every right there are obligations and consequences).
 

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On second thought, I think you are correct that the speech and expression thing are not part of what is seen as the American Dream. In the U.S. it is just . . . so. No dream, it is reality (damn, I am welling up).

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Whatever the American Dream is by definition, I have lived it. I have seen and done so many things, unconstrained by some formal lane. I have not a single fucking certificates or certifications, but I am rich at not too advanced an age, and earned every penny. That is American.

 

Check out Sinatra's schmaltzy "The House I Live In" on Youtube. (For those learning English, that is incorrect English grammar.)

 

 

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I think the American Constitution is the only founding documrnt that actually grants the right to pursue happiness, or, if you will your "American" dream.

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It's going to be different for everyone and it changes as you get on in life and as you learn more.

If you are gong to give a talk to kids I would go with saying that it is about being able to try to reach your dreams but no guarantee that you will.

 

It is the freedom to try.

 

How old are the kids?

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, John Bail said:

It's going to be different for everyone and it changes as you get on in life and as you learn more.

If you are gong to give a talk to kids I would go with saying that it is about being able to try to reach your dreams but no guarantee that you will.

 

It is the freedom to try.

 

How old are the kids?

 

 

 

They are about 17.

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The male American dream is a 19 year-old blonde with daddy issues. 

 

The female American dream is a rich 90 year-old with heart issues. 

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2 minutes ago, Guest said:

 

 

The female American dream is a rich 90 year-old with heart issues. 

These days we dream bigger than that. 

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1 minute ago, programdirector said:

These days we dream bigger than that. 

 

 

95? :P

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46 minutes ago, catjones said:

compare and contrast with the German Dream...

I want to be the fly on the wall when that discussion comes up. Take notes and share with us?

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