American Dream and American Reality

What was the american dream 1940s? The author of the book «Red Dirt» brings out the bitter memories of growing up a poor white American during the 1940’s and the 1950’s. She gives a critical idea of how much poor white Americans had to persevere in life attempting to cling to what was believed to be an American Dream. Through her work, the writer also tries to display the distinction between the working class and the employing class. She claims that there can never be peace on earth if the hunger is still the talk of the day among the working class whereas the employing class is able to enjoy every bit of their lives.

While reading the book, we come across the term «Okie» which has a number of meanings. Basing on Dunbar-Ortiz’s life, being an Okie refers to being the first one in the family to complete the high school education not even proceeding to the college level. It means that originating from region of many troubles and poverty, one has to move to another area in order to try and see what life can sound like. If you look at the early life of Okie, it becomes clear that her family was one of the poorest in those days. At one point they were evicted and had to seek refuge in one of her uncle’s place who was also described as a bankrupt. They had to struggle keeping in mind that this did not apply to them but to the entire group of the white Americans who had nothing to smile about.

The life described by the writer depicts a lifestyle contrary to what was to be granted if the American Dream had been accomplished and realized. American Dream was a great idea built around all Americans working together for the betterment of their lives. This was to be done despite all the social classes that existed. Why then were we having a social gap as depicted by the writer? There existed a big gap between those who worked and those who were the employers, a gap between the poor and rich where the poor like the writer’s family struggled for living whereas the rich enjoyed life without caring about the poor. American Dream was also targeting equality amongst the people of America. Analyzing what the writer narrates, it is quite evident that one of the most important elements of the American Dream was in fact far from being achieved.

It is indeed true that the lives the poor white Americans lived provide an evidence of the lie of the American dream. The way they lived and the hardships of life they went through were not what the American dream intended to achieve. Living life of poverty, hopelessness, and uncertainty was all the dream gave the poor white Americans instead. It is still encouraging that despite all these hardships she described, the writer had the confidence and strength to overcome the obstacles to better life without losing hope for best. At one point she promised her mother that she would build them a good house and change their lives if she ever became wealthy. This is a clear indication that she had already developed a strong driving force that would deliver her from hardships and troubles they were passing through at that time.

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