This carried on throughout the 18th century too as more people immigrated to the country, with high aims to achieve wealth, it seemed that people saw America as eying full of opportunities. It wasn’t until 1931, during the great depression, that James Tortuous Adams carried out a study and defined the American Dream as what it is known as today. He stated that any citizen of any class could achieve a ‘better, richer and happier life’. This idea is also noted in the second sentence of the declaration of independence which states that ‘All men are created equal’ and have the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.
With strong ideologies Like this, there Is a great deal of cartels and conflict that surrounds It, and this was seen following the end of World War l. At that time many people suffered a loss of their direction in their lives, due to the both the effects of the war and the economic crisis the country was in. This caused many people to question the ideologies of the American Dream. Part of the idea of it was that anyone could achieve happiness and success if they worked hard enough for it.
This fell under a lot of criticism as some saw it as being unrealistic and others thought it was too priorities with the material aspects of life, arguing that the American Dream taught you could only be successful and find happiness if you have none and possessions. These criticisms were reflected In the literature, with novels such as On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Fleets: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and the poetry of Dorothy Parker, all representing these thoughts and frustrations In their own unique way.
Ernest Hemingway himself was in World War l, and was also wounded during it. He plays out some of this experience through the character of Jake Barnes in Fiesta, who is also notably the narrator of the novel. Jake Barnes is a World War I veteran, who sustained and injury during it which left him impotent. Jake and his friends have left America to live in Europe, which is a key indicator that the characters of the book are part of what was know as The Lost Generation’.
This was a term given to American citizens who had been left with a feeling of disillusion, which in some peoples cases were brought upon by the war. These people did not have faith in what the American Dream stated, and many of them fled America to Europe to escape what they saw as an unrealistic Ideology. Dorothy Parker also dealt with the Issues of the lost generation, as many of her poems carried those frequent emotions of emptiness and restoration which corresponded with the paradigm. Unlike Hemingway, who dealt Walt tense mementos In a more serious Ana conventional tone, Dorothy Parker approached them with a sarcastic matter of fact manner alongside a high level of wit. Poems such as Dilemma, Observation and Resume show this. Although Jack Kerouac was part of The Beat Generation, his characters very much relate to the issues of the lost generation. Especially the idea of aimlessness and emptiness that people felt due to the expectations of them.
The Beat Generation also mirrors the Lost generation, although it was a lot more extreme as it was more about ex, alcohol and drugs, the issue of the need to be free due to dissatisfaction with the expectations from society which had spawned from The American Dream was the key message behind it, much like it was for The Lost Generation, It is interesting to note that both these movements occurred after a war, which may cause the war to be a contributing factor to the occurrence of these empty and dissatisfactory emotions felt by people who were profoundly affected by it.
The theme of rebellion is very consistent throughout these three works, this is shown by the way in which the characters go out of their way to conflict with the general expectations of society and escape them too. On The Roads character Dean Mortality is one of the more notable characters for representing this out of the three texts. He is said to have had an extremely troubled background and has been in prison before, The criminal aspect to Deans character very much resonates with the theme of rebellion, as he is going against society’s laws, this see’s him self as a conflict with the American Dream..
Dorothy Parkers poetry deals very much so with the issue of rebellion. Although on the surface a lot of her poetry carries a lot of feminist aspects o it, it still carries the notion of the need to rebel and which mirrors this theme. Coda features many conflicts with the American Dream, and almost questions the point of work and mock it somewhat ‘And work is the provenance of cattle’. ‘So I’m thinking of throwing in the battle – would you kindly direct me to hell’..
In this part of the poem Dorothy Parker indicates that rebelling against expectations would not only be regarded as rebellious by society, but as sin by God, which does gives the message an extreme amount of affect and also puts in the emotion of fear which loud have been felt by the people who went against the American Dream’s ideologies. The characters in The Sun Also Rises do carry the theme of rebellion, however Hemmingway deals with it in a mild manner, this may be due to the fact the character, due to their class, have more dignity to them.
The love theme is the main way in which The Sun Also Rises follows the topic of rebellion. The American dream was not necessarily about love, however it did contain the idea that you should make it one of your main goals to settle down and have a family, which does tie in with that. Jake and Brett are in love, however, due to Sake’s impotence they are never really a couple. Many characters in the book fall in love with Brett such as Robert Cohn and Roomer. The need to escape is a very key issue in the 3 texts and this ties into the theme of travel which is a very prominent feature especially in On The Road and Fiesta.
On The Road is very much about travel, as the narrator and one of the main protagonists Sal Paradise sets out on a Journey across ten continent, sun a need Tort a Journey as far as this instantly indicates to the reader that his character must have the need to escape from something, Dean Mortality’s character very much is represented as feeling the need to escape from society and the expectations of the American dream, as his character travels from city to city, gets in trouble with the law and many different sexual partners A noteworthy subject to look at is the theme of drugs and alcohol.
This ties in extremely well with the need to escape, as these substances are used to mentally escape reality, so it is not suspiring they are featured within these texts, as all the characters are represented as attempting to do this. Alcohol in The Sun Also Rises is seed as a key element of escape for Hemmingway characters,. All the characters are heavy drinkers, so much so it would be hard to pick out a scene where they were not going for a drink, or someone was not drunk,.
Although they all do seem to differ in their reasons for drinking, Mike for example, who’s only real notable characteristic is to get drunk a, appears to use alcohol it mainly as an escape mechanism. Whereas although this is the case for the other characters too, they on a whole appear to rely on it to cope with life , showing Just how insecure, and dissatisfied they are with reality and what is required of them. The only character in the book who does not drink is Robert Cohn…
Kerouac character’s in On The Road are not wealthy like the ones In The Sun Also Rises or what could be imagined through Dorothy Parser’s Poetry, so the reasons and motivations for the use of drugs and alcohol differ slightly, although sharing the same theme of the escapism. Sal and Dean are both heavy drinkers and both use drugs, and appear to be a key aspect of their relationship. Sal and Dean appear to gain more perspective on life when they are under the influence, and they seem to share more wisdom. His is noticeably similar to Sake’s character in The Sun Also Rise, as he is often seen as being very observational about life when he is consuming alcohol. However the fact they need this to gain a perspective on reality, is not a positive thing as it still proves they need it to escape from their true emotions and their true perspective on reality, Identity is a primary theme too, whether it is a loss of it or a sense of it.
The American Dream appeared to take away identity from people, as it had formed an expectation that everyone on a whole had a need to follow, as they were all told they should aspire to get a Job and have a family, so therefore made many people feel deprived of heir identity as they would Just be conforming and would have a similar life to everybody else, leading them to possibly feel deprived of their identity as they would feel as if their lives were no more interesting or different from anybody else.
Identity givers much the main cause of the need to rebel, escape and associates itself with the emotions of dissatisfaction, emptiness, aimlessness and confusion, which are all topics that appear within the three texts I have discussed. If the characters did not have a loss of identity then they would not have these feelings and hey would not act in the way they do, as all of them feel deprived of this. Therefore they go out of their way to rebel in what they both say and do, they travel, all to make them fell as if their lives are more interesting and for them to appear as an outside AT society, wanly teeny more or less are.
In ten process AT tens teeny PICK up negative emotions which are linked with a loss of identity, which makes them want to escape society even more. Like Hemmingway characters who all adapt these false persona, to make them appear content with their lives, when really with a closer look they are rubble and struggle to grasp a sense of identity, this being very much the case for Jake and Brett. Even though Jake is the narrator of the book we still get the idea he does portray himself as being more sure than he really is. It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing. This is a fairly key quote into discovering that Sake’s character has more emotional depth that what he represents through his narrative, as it shows he himself puts on a persona during the day, which enables him to manage and rationalize his true emotions of lethality, but at night it is harder to hide them. On The Road appears to almost be a quest for identity, as it is a main reason why the two protagonists take the Journey, as they feel lost with who they are. And they want to find their own individual meaning, Dorothy Parser’s poetry is very much about identity, and focuses very much on the acceptance of identity, the poem Observations is a prime example of this, at the beginning of the poem it very much relates with the social roles of the time which were a result from the American Dream ‘ If I abstain from fun and such, I’ll probably amount to much. However the poem has a sense of resolution to it as at the end it summarizes the acceptance of identity and ends on a strange positive note, ‘But I shall stay the way I am.
Because I do Not give a Damn;. However although many of the characters and views throughout these three works conflict with the American dream, there are many ways in which they relate to them too, this helps readers gain the sense of confusion at the time. The character Jake Barnes and many of his acquaintances have already achieved the wealth aspect of the American dream, although many of them have souls inherited it and not secretaries worked for it.
Robert Cohn very much follows the American Dream, as although he has a failed marriage, it is discussed at the beginning of the book that he has worked hard to get where he is, and desires to become a successful writer, he appears to want to aspire to want to be Jake, both because of his love for Brett and because Jake is more successful both financially and with work Dean Mortality ironically achieves elements of The American Dream too as he does marry and does have children, although still conflicting as he divorces his wives and leaves his family Enid.
From analyzing these texts, and looking in the way in which the characters represented, it can be seen how literature at the time corresponded with and noticed the feelings of people due to The American Dream. Although it was perceived to be a positive ideology by some, as it enabled people to have a goal and a focus in life, and maybe a sense of success when they did achieve the American Dream, it did provoke a lot of negative and frustrated emotions amongst the people who felt The American Dream was out of their reach or was pointless to attempt to achieve.