« Cars: Ben Stein on the “greatest invention of mankind” | Main | “Self-interest properly understood”: Joseph Stiglitz on economic inequality »

10/14/2014

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Collin Leonard

In "The American Dream is Dead, and Good Riddance" Keli Goff argues that the idea of the American Dream is dying and that the death of the idea is a good thing. Goff writes that the American Dream is usually thought of as marriage, a house, children, and the iconic white picket fence. She argues though that we have been fed that idea and that those are not what make up the American Dream. Goff sees the American Dream as James Truslow Adams saw it which is "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." She believes that the modern idea of the American Dream has become unaffordable and acknowledges a USA Today calculation that the American Dream costs $130,000 today. Goff ultimately argues that the modern way of thinking about the American Dream is dying and that we are returning to how it was meant to be.
I agree with Goff that the idea of the American Dream today has become more about possessions and money than it use to be. All my life I was fed the idea of the white picket fence and a perfect family, but as I have grown up I have seen that that can be hard to come by. I feel like the modern way of thinking about the American Dream is a good goal to shoot for, but the dream should be more about becoming happy in your way. Whether you are content as a single person on their own or with a family, the American Dream should be what you want it to be. So ultimately I agree with Goff that the modern American Dream idea is dying and that it needs to become more about what the individual thinks the idea is than what society thinks it is.

Jin H

Goff in “The American Dream is Dead, and Good Riddance” actually argues that American dream already die and the end of American dream is good thing because it has already became both mental load and financial load to the most of American, the author thinks that American dream “push” people to afford their owe houses, nice cars and children,“Perhaps nothing is more responsible for the lack of contentment plaguing some Americans today than the outdated notion of the American Dream that has been peddled to all of us for as long as we can remember.” The author argues American dream already become a kind of economic dream about the possession, but not the achievement. It makes people consider American Dream more as “marriage, children, mortgage debt, student loan debt, stuff, more stuff, and even more stuff.” And increasing American begins to challenge that dream and show their own lifestyles of which most traditional American families who still pursuit of American dream cannot afford. At the end of this article, the author believes that American dream is turning back to the definition that Adams gave and “maybe for our country as a whole in the 21st century.”
Actually I have no idea what American dream exactly is. I am not growing up in this culture so it is hard to judge it. However, I think whatever the dream is, it should give people a sort of motivation and hope that can make their life better. People believe that American dream already became a kind of standard and they must follow it to judge if an individual is successful or not. The way of pursuit of success is not as easy as talking about it, and people have the right to choose their own successful ways that they trust in. Even though I do not know much about American dream, I think a death of “inflexible standard” is definitely good thing.

Jade

I agree with both Collin and Jin. I like that Collin agrees with Goff when it comes to what an American dream is in this time. I too believe that in this time the American dream should be more of a goal as well rather than the old times when it was living in a perfect neighborhood with the perfect family and dog. Collin, I like the fact that you believe that the American dream is more than that. And Jin, I like that you too think that people and families should be able to choose their own successful and by that I believe you mean that they should have to work for the things that they want in life. If people want something, then they have to work for it to get to where they want to be.

Allyn Oxley and Casey Weber

Allyn Oxley, Casey Weber
In a perfect world, everyone has a shot at happiness: everyone can make something of themselves. We all want to be the best we can be. It seems that we all find truth in our goal for happiness. However, our own obstacles pose a threat to our happiness. To brave these obstacles, our nation started an idea known as The American Dream. This notion kept us focused on the life we all wanted to achieve; a life where status and money faded away by the progress made by our hard work and effort.
The American Dream has powered all hopes and aspirations in America. It’s the idea that everyone has the equal opportunity for success and a happy lifestyle. The standard idea of the American Dream was to have a successful life, a spouse, children, and a nice house. The white-picket fence version. Though many would claim the American Dream is lost, we believe it has simply evolved into a more modern version.
According to Keli Goff in her article “The American Dream is Dead, and Good Riddance,” the American Dream has been lost. She says, “the American Dream costs approximately $130,000 annually, meaning the dream is only within reach for about 1 in 8 American families.” Goff states that the American Dream is no longer attainable to most families. However, the American Dream hasn’t been lost; it has simply changed.
Over the years, the American Dream has been modernized. Things have changed. The American Dream no longer concerns husband and wife, children, and the perfect life. Society has come to accept the fact that perfection is superficial. Marriage is simply a legal bond between two people, not an expectation. Kids are a choice that society values for the hopes of our future. Perfect life? That dream is long gone: it’s only a dream. We believe that our country’s ideals have taken a turn for the better. Hard work is still valued, but happiness is valued above all. As long as you’re happy, why should you care what others want you to be? Our imperfections make us unique: we don’t have to hide them.
Not only has the American Dream changed, but Americans as well. Over the past 60 plus years that we’ve had to contemplate this idea of a perfect life, we have grown as a society, making some points of this idea irrelevant to our lives today. We no longer need to have the best car around; we are more worried about the pollution caused by them. We don’t have to have a perfect house; we’ve owned up to the fact that perfection is superficial. As for spouses and kids? The tables have turned. Gay marriage is more common today, along with IVF and surrogate mothers. There is no longer one option for everything: there numerous options for anything.
The American Dream hasn’t been lost as some people think. It has been changed, and will continue to change as our country develops. It is no longer about having the best house, a spouse and children, or the best anything. It is now about striving to be happy with your life no matter how it turns out. We no longer have to fit into the “perfect family” to be achieve the American Dream. As long as we have achieved happiness, we have achieved the American Dream.

Emma Borchers, Jeff Shymanski, and Natalie Roberts

Emma, Jeff, and Natalie

“It’s time to redefine what it means to be successful in America.” It’s time to revise the “American Dream.” In an article titled “The American Dream Is Dead, and Good Riddance,” written by Keli Goff, she explains why this preconceived notion needs to be invalidated and new dreams created. Most Americans feel unsatisfied with their lives, and this is because of the “American Dream” that they have grown up learning about. They have this ideal life formed in their mind and they won’t feel contentment until they succeed in their dream.

So what exactly is the “American Dream?” As Goff states in her article, one part of a study done by USA Today showed that for Americans to achieve the “American Dream” they need to have two children, their own home, and their own car. This would also include the stereotypical white picket fence. It is the perfect life, and the ideal family. Even if some Americans don’t think they want this dream, “there is still very potent societal pressure on Americans to chase some version of a dream many may not even want, but have simply been told to pursue their whole lives.” The “American Dream” is developed mostly through the media and the TV. Kids grew up watching shows like Leave It to Beaver or The Brady Bunch and want that family life when they grow up. The media has a large part in influencing what Americans think is the “American Dream.”

The media provides societal reflection in customs, morals, and ideals. Television shows of today provide accurate depiction of our society’s perspective and function. Similarly, media of times past is also indicative of the culture at that time. Due to our past’s more reserved approach to social norm, television mainly aired shows about large, white families leading respectable lives with respectable careers in a sizable home indubitably complete with a white, picket fence. The Brady Bunch is almost perfectly microcosmic of this idea. However, television shows about seemingly perfect families put pressure on reality. How can real life surmount expectations set by a fictional depiction of a perfect life? Simply put, it can’t. Sometimes that perfect suburban house complete with the white picket fence just isn’t a feasible or fitting goal for some. As times have changed, the cookie-cutter “white picket fence” aspiration has become outdated.

With the change in social implications today, media’s representation of reality has changed drastically. The Brady Bunch has been transformed into Modern Family. Collectively, we are much more socially lax today. Issues like gay marriage and abortion were unheard of in past media. Also, it is unreasonable for everyone to be able to afford a lavish suburban home. Goff refers to “singletons” and couples without children as examples of new perfectly acceptable lifestyles. All of these aspects would be deemed dysfunctional in past societies. These characteristics are not being necessarily glamorized, but dysfunction is at least being recognized as an inevitable and integral part of the realistic family.

Today, according to the article by Goff, “... the “American Dream” costs approximately $130,000 annually, meaning the dream is only within reach for about 1 in 8 American families.” This being said, people of the 21st century are not jumping straight into the “American Dream”; instead, those people are living a new dream where they are not tied down by marriage or children. They have the freedom to live their own “American Dream” involving a more self-indulgent lifestyle. People are beginning to modernize their views on what the “American Dream” means for them personally.

For us, we believe that everyone has a different view on what the “American Dream” is. To explain, people who have different social statuses, educations, or morals and values may all have different opinions on the “American Dream”. Personally, we believe the main goal of the American Dream is to be happy. As John Lennon once said, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Happiness can be found through many different ways whether it be having a successful career or a good family life. Today, society is not based around happiness, but the material things in life, which can never fill the void inside of us.

Nikki, Cooper, and Emily

The American Dream is viewed differently by many people. Some may view living the American Dream more generally and see it as living in America with all its freedoms in itself is the American Dream. Others may view it more specifically and relate to a sport, such as baseball, or as Mr. Polking would view the American Dream as all his college comp students putting more effort and time into his class. In Keli Goff’s article “The American Dream is Dead, Good Riddance,” Goff views the American Dream as being lost. Goff’s view basically is that it is not really gone, but rather changed. She wants people to realize that even though they may not have the big house or the nice car, it doesn’t mean they can’t live their own version of the American Dream. In Goff’s article, she made the statement, “As part of its calculation USA Today cited certain key benchmarks for achieving the American Dream, notably home ownership, educating two children, as well as owning a good car.” She then went on to say, “But for many of us our American Dream doesn’t involve all of the above, and in some cases any of the above.” However, we agree with the first view made by USA Today about the American Dream.

We believe the American dream is to start out by getting into the college of your dream and graduating with a degree that will get you far in life. Then, at some point meeting your future spouse, get married, and stay together until you’re old and gray. The next step in life will be starting a family. The family will consist of two to three children, and if you have two children, then a boy and a girl. You will want the children to excel in all things in life and be successful at whatever they do. Your house will be nice and modern in a family-friendly neighborhood. You will also have a nice, loving dog that retrieves your newspaper for you, of course. You and your spouse will both have a relatively nice car, maybe even an extra vehicle just for fun. You won’t have any kind of financial problems; not having enough money will never be a problem you will have to face. This is what the ideal family life would look like for the American Dream.

Also, the American Dream s giving everyone an equal opportunity to rise to the top of the social and economic classes. It does not matter where you came from or who your family is. You can become rich even if your whole family works as fast food restaurants. If you work hard enough you can achieve things that would not be possible in other countries. You can move to a new place and get a fresh start. You can also be whoever you want to be. You are not defined by your families last name when you move to another town. In Goff’s article, she had a quote from James Truslow Adams that agrees with this side to our American Dream. Adams had stated the following in Goff’s article, “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.” We fully agree with this statement made by Adams. Yes, we do believe that the overall American Dream is living in a nice house with a car for each parent, with two to three children and a dog. However, we believe that what is considered a “nice house” or a “nice car” differs among people. As long as they get to live life happily and financially stable, that in itself is the American Dream.

Megan Morson

Keli Goff, in her article “The American Dream is Dead and Good Riddance,” refers to the American dream as owning a nice home with a cliche white picket fence and big, happy family safely tucked inside. She sees the American dream the same way James Truslow Adams saw it, as "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." Goff then goes on to say, “But over the years this definition of the American Dream has been lost. Instead, when we talk about the American Dream, we often find ourselves talking about marriage, children, mortgage debt, student loan debt, stuff, more stuff, and even more stuff (to fill up the house you owe the mortgage debt on).” Goff argues that the American dream is no longer affordable or obtainable to the average person. She goes on to say that we should change the American dream so people are no longer overextending themselves in order to fit the status quo.
I agree with Goff on many of her points. When I first thought of what the American dream meant to me, I imagined having the means to support myself and my family comfortably. A luxury that many countries lack. The American dream is being able to choose things like my career, my spouse, and my home. I think the American dream is an image of freedom. With freedom comes many more luxuries such as love, wealth, and happiness.
I also agreed with her statements about the American dream being unaffordable and how it needs to change. Goff says, “It’s also hard not to wonder if the mortgage meltdown would have happened if so many Americans had not bought into the idea that their American Dream would not be complete without buying a house, specifically a house they could not really afford.” I think people should work toward the American dream by working hard at their jobs and getting a good education but it is a poor choice for someone to spend money they don’t have on things they cannot afford such as a home that they only want because it will make them fit into this idea we have created.


Paige

Paige, Jordyn, Kennady
According to Keli Goff, columnist for The Daily Beast, “The American Dream as we know it is dead, and good riddance.” The American Dream has become costly over the years-- not only financially but also emotionally. Many Americans believe the American Dream is perfection. They want the perfect family, the perfect house, and the perfect image. This idea of perfection is based on society’s perception of success, rather than the individual’s perception of success. USA Today stated that the American Dream includes owning a home, having two kids, and owning a nice car; however, like Goff asserts, many people’s personal dreams do not include any of those wishes.
The American Dream should not have to include the same wishes for every person. The American Dream should be fulfilling your own goals to become the best you can be. The United States offers plenty of opportunities for every individual to do just this. Taking advantage of those opportunities is taking advantage of the American Dream.
Some people believe the American Dream is having the opportunity to receive higher education, to get married, and have kids. This may be true for a vast majority of Americans; however, there is a large single demographic in the United States who are fulfilling their American Dream without meeting these checkpoints. As Goff says, “... these so-called “singletons” are already living their own version of the dream.”
Americans should not be pushed to fulfill the stereotypical American Dream. This dream has become a nightmare for many Americans. Some cannot financially support this dream while others simply don’t want the dream but feel pressured to achieve it. As James Truslow Adam said, the American Dream is: “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… 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.”

Brandon

In an article titled The American Dream Is Dead, and Good Riddance on thedailybeast.com, Keli Goff states, “a sizable number of Americans can no longer afford the American Dream.” In the article it says that the American Dream costs roughly $130,000 on a yearly basis. That’s the problem with this viewpoint. The American Dream is not based on a monetary value. People shouldn’t be placing a financial goal on the American Dream. The availability of the American Dream should not be based on the depth of your bank account but instead based on the depth of your dreams and goals.
Further down in her article, Goff states, “the American Dream as we know it is dead, and good riddance.” She goes on to state, “I’m referring to the version that usually involves some mention of a white picket fence.” We need to change the way people of the 21st century see the American Dream. People need to return back to the basis of the American Dream: the intangibles are what make the American Dream special. To some people, having more money makes them feel like they are living the American Dream. Walking into their three-car-garage and pulling out in a Benz may make them feel like the ideal American. This person may have forgotten that at the root of these fancy items is freedom and what the American Dream really is. Along the road to that nice car, you have to pass by choices and freedoms. The American Dream is a journey, but what lies at the end of the road is up to you.
The American Dream isn't about obtaining a certain dollar amount. It's not about living in a certain house or driving a certain car. No. The American Dream isn't based on any form of monetary value, but more on the side of idealism and hope. When people think of the American Dream they should think of rights, freedom, opportunity, strength, steadfastness and more. The American Dream is malleable and bends to each individual who strives to become something different, something of their own.
For me, I plan on going to college and receiving a usable education in my desired field of study. I want to use my talents to impact people and make a difference. Through this whole process, I want to live my life the way I think it should be lead. The American Dream is about choices. The Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights give us the right to choose. This is truly the American Dream. Fail or succeed, you have opportunities to rise and be whom you want to be. Opportunities originated in America.

Emily S

In "The American Dream is Dead, and Good Riddance" Keli Goff argues that the American Dream is the idea of owning a house with a white picket fence, having children and an expensive car. Goff also argues that the idea of the American Dream is outdated. The American Dream was supposed to mean the opportunity for success, no matter where or how you grow up. Goff makes a great point when comparing the stereotypical American Dream to the modern American Dream: we can not afford it. “USA Today calculated that subsidizing the American Dream costs approximately $130,000 annually, meaning the dream is only within reach for about 1 in 8 American families” (Goff). The American Dream is something that has become a thing of legend, and it needs to be changed.
I agree wholeheartedly with Goff. This American Dream that everyone strives for is illogical for today’s society. There are many demographics within the country than can barely find a job, let alone a house, a marriage, or even a fence of any type or color. These people are lucky to survive on a daily basis. They have no time for a local myth depicting the perfect life for Americans. Thankfully these people aren’t the majority of Americans, but even the majority still can not afford to live the dream. In my family, we do not have a new car, a fence, or a happy marriage, and yet we still are satisfied with our lives. My mom has gotten a promotion at her work, my brother continues to be involved with every sport imaginable without any worry about money, and I have a steady job at our local hospital. Our family is the new modern family.
The modern family today consists of at least one or more adults, possibly a child or more, and a place to live. This does not mean that the adults are married, or that the place they live in is a house. It could be an apartment, or their parents’ house. A difference between the old American Dream and the modern American Dream is the fact that a lot more people are waiting to marry and have children. This allows many people to go out and have a fulfilling job life and experience, earning them more money, which is a way to achieve the old American Dream. We are told from birth the stories of those who are successful. These people are usually extreme success stories, like Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, George Washington. Yes these people did have enough money to fulfill the American Dream’s criteria, but instead what made them successful was the opportunities to become successful. If Bill Gates’ parents weren’t successful business workers, then his ideas for Apple would become a dream instead of reality. If Einstein was unable to escape Nazi Germany when he did, we might not have the theory of relativity. If George Washington was killed by enemy troops, the United States might not have become a country. The American Dream is one where everyone has the opportunity for success, and that is far more important than a fence.

Lauryn

Lindsey, Caleb, Lauryn
The American Dream has long been thought of as a nice house with a white picket fence and a wife, kids, and dog to come home to after work. As stated in a recent study in USA Today, subsidizing the American Dream costs approximately $130,000 annually, meaning the dream is only within reach for about 1 in 8 American families. While this may have been the goal for quite some time, Americans today find that dream unattainable.
In her recent article, “The American Dream Is Dead, and Good Riddance”, Keli Goff states the classical vision of the American Dream is no longer reachable, and because of this Americans should move on. “Nearly a third of households now consist of one person, and the number of Americans living alone has doubled in the last fifty years” (Goff). The classical American dream of having a family is becoming less and less desirable. Along with the increasing number of single households is an increase in the number of childfree adults. The ideas of marriage and family were core parts of the American Dream, but now, it seems that other factors have taken their place. Goff believes Americans should go back to the roots to find their own sense of meaning and success in relation to the American Dream. The stereotypical American Dream is morphing, further becoming more individualized.
While the dream forty years ago may have been something along the lines of a white picket fence, today that is not the case. For Lindsey, the American Dream includes owning a house, having a stable job, and living debt free. Her dreams do not include having a huge family or marrying right out of college. There will be no happy homemaker stereotype, as she wants to live a life with relative freedom and the ability to do what she loves. She doesn’t need the biggest house, the best car, and a loving husband to make her feel like she has succeeded in life. She doesn’t want being a wife and mother to define all that she is. For Lauryn, the true American Dream is happiness. Whether it be going off to college to get a high paying job, surrounding yourself with loved ones, or filling a garage with high-class sports cars, your dream should be whatever makes you truly happy. It varies from person to person, as it should, because why try and fit into a mold created by society? That seems to be too much like a “cookie-cutter” style of life. America is about being free, and creating a life for yourself. For Caleb, the American Dream would be having a great job that pays well and a wife, kids, and home to go to after work. Having a big house and nice car would be a nice bonus, but as long as he has enough money to support his family, Caleb will be just fine. His dream is a little bit like the standard American Dream, but that is what he wants.
As you can see, the American Dream for Lindsey, Lauryn, and Caleb all have different twists to them and are based on each individuals’ wants and desires. We think the American Dream should not have a set image like it has in the past, but should instead be the idea of obtaining what you want out of life.

Maddie, Alecia, Eli


The American Dream is for everyone to have a free, safe and fair life.Everyone in the United States needs to have some type of freedom, live in a safe environment where they don't have to worry about much crime or blame, and be treated fairly. In the past, Americans did not have the amount of freedom that they do today. There used to be slaves that didn't have any freedom whatsoever, and they had owners that told them what to do and what not to do or else they would kill them. You can't do that today. It is also a dream for our men and women in the military to come home safely and end all wars successfully. America wants to be a safe nation, with chances of having complete success; therefore, the American Dream is not what it used to be.
In the article, “The American Dream is Dead, and Good Riddance”, Keli Goff stated that the original American dream is in the past and most American’s now cannot afford the “American Dream.” The American Dream now is consisted of marriage, children, mortgage debt, and student loan debt. Even though the dream has become about finances, the people who can’t afford the dream are going back to the way James Adams defined it to be, “which is a land in which life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
The American Dream would be for the United States to not only have a strong country, but the strongest in the world. The American dream is to have beyond well educated kids and adults because one day, they will all be determining how successful and powerful American is. America doesn't want a bunch of poor citizens on the streets, having to survive with just the clothes on their back, but actually have a roof over their heads, a quality job to support them and their families, and also have a drive to make this country a better place. Living on the streets, you have absolutely nothing. You don't have a place to live, no food to eat, and no ambition to make your life and this country better.
Living a free, safe, and fair life is what we believe to be the American dream. By many others, including Goff, it is said to be consisted of marriage, children, mortgage debt, and student loan debt. This isn’t the way that living should be. Being free is something that many people have come to the United States for and that is what should be promised to them along with a safe and fair life.

Trisha Langenfeld

Trisha, Mason, Tyler

The American Dream
The American Dream has various amounts of definitions defined differently by each American individual. Some imagine the perfect life: a loving family, stable job, and a suburban home with a white picket fence. Others see the American Dream as an equal opportunity to achieve success by hard work, determination, and prosperity. But no matter what the standpoint is, the American Dream is present in almost every American’s life, whether it’s apparent or not.
In Keli Goff’s article “The American Dream Is Dead,” and Good Riddance, she states a few different ways on how the American Dream has changed along with society. In just the first sentence she says, “New analysis confirmed what many already assumed to be true: a sizable number of Americans can no longer afford the American Dream.” Here she is inferring that the American Dream has been lost in the sea of financial struggles meaning people are left to pay off these debts throughout their lives instead of living the American Dream. Her second claim to the decaying of the American Dream is that people are living less of a family life and more of a single household type of living. Instead of getting married and having children, more people are living what she calls the “singleton” lifestyle which eliminates one of the most important factors of the American Dream: family. Family is important, however it’s not everything that defines the American Dream in our viewpoint. There are many different variations of the American Dream, as mentioned before. Even we have a different idea on what the American Dream is to us.
In our opinion, Goff perceived the cliche version of the American Dream. A white picket fence, kids, and a loving wife. We believe the American Dream to be much more than that. The American dream, to us, is all about perception. The United States is a blank canvas, only you control what the canvas looks like throughout your entire life. We were the first country in the entire world that allowed its citizens to do this. The only person to say you can’t be famous or rich is yourself. Just look at Eminem or Warren Buffet. You have to have a desire to do it, and the will to work harder than anyone.
The American Dream is an idea of freedom. A freedom that can only be achieved by a true American life. A life that includes a family, an occupation of your choosing, and a home that you can call yours. Other views of the American Dream, our view, may suggest that the only way to achieve a perfect life is by using your freedom to work hard and create a life for yourself. The American Dream is to be looked at as something that can be earned and not implied.

Addison Ross

Imagine yourself driving down a suburban street in a new, luxurious Cadillac, relieved to be going home after a day at your white-collar office job. As you pass your white picket fence surrounding your spacious, green lawn, you pull into your three-car garage. You’re greeted by three heart-warming hugs from your gorgeous children and a friendly bark from your loving Golden Retriever, Buddy. The aroma of a home-cooked meal drifts into your nose as you shout, “Honey, I’m home!” This is what the average human sees as “The American Dream” or did, until recent times, according to certain experts.
James Truslow Adams was a historian that first used the term “The American Dream” in 1931. He defined 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.” According to Adams, the American Dream should be an opportunity that everyone is able to reach. Unfortunately, with the cost of living standards being very high, it is hard for most Americans to reach Adam’s version of the American Dream. According to USA Today, only one out of eight families consider themselves to be living the American Dream, because the average cost of $130,000 is something that not every family is able to obtain. Because of the high costs, some believe standards of the American Dream need to be reduced.
Keli Goff states that, “But instead of inspiring handwringing about how to make the American Dream more affordable, I hope these numbers show us something else: the American Dream as we know it is dead, and good riddance.” What Goff is saying is what was formerly known as the American Dream is gone. The standards of the dream have been lowered drastically. People dream about just owning a house or having no college debt.
When it comes to the topic of the American Dream, most of us will readily agree that not everyone has the same standards for their dream. Where this argument usually ends, however, is on the question of what the actual definition of the American Dream is. Whereas some are convinced that the American Dreams is all about extravagant houses and fancy cars, others maintain that the dream is being able to put food on the table and paying off debt. We believe that the American Dream is a mix of the two together. While it is important to pay off your debt to live a sufficient life, having a few wants on top of the needs isn’t such a bad thing. It truly is a dream to be able to satisfy all the desires you ever have.

pamela

Wake up! Unless more peoples idea of the American dream is to live on the streets, the American dream has died. Yes it was ment to be free, make your own choices, and to be happy. Yes everyone has their own point of view as to what that meens to them. What we are not getting is no matter how you view it does not matter much when it has become harder to atain. How can you be living any kind of Dream when no matter how hard you work or try you can't pay the rent or fix your car, can't pay the bills or feed your kids? There are more and more people out there that can't become whatever they want or have what they need and it's not for the lack of trying hard enough. Yes their are the exceptions, but you can no longer keep telling yourselfs like it's just that simple to live the American dream as you see it, just as long as you try or work hard enough. I have watched those days come and go or at least I have lived through the days when it was here and now it's gone. their are too many people, way more then should be that the American Dream is just that, a dream. I am not into politics it is what it is and unless you are up there, and if you were you wouldn't have to worry about it, but the goverment has taken the American Dream away from us a long time ago.

English 104-520 Group 3

We agree with Collin, Allyn, and Casey in that the American Dream, in its materialistic sense, has become harder to attain; however, the internal achievement of the American Dream is still attainable and realistic. It may be more difficult to pursue a life of marriage, home ownership, and parenting, but by no means is happiness itself unattainable. The defining factors of the American Dream are evolving with the attainability of these factors. For instance, it isn't so much that people do not desire materialistic happiness, but since it is becoming less attainable, people place more value in what is attainable - relationships, hard work, happiness in any work field, rather than just the money-making fields. Now that the American Dream has begun to "die off", you see people pursuing their actual dreams rather than chasing money in order to achieve something that society views as the American Dream. We would not venture to say that the presence of the desired American Dream is negative or needs to be discarded because without the pressure to achieve a goal, society would not work hard or put in as much effort. At least in trying to attain the American Dream (whether they realize it is unattainable or not), people are working for something. The work being done is what translates to the Modern American Dream of happiness.

Spears

I definitely agree with you Collin; I think that the "becoming happy in your own way" has taken over America, and it is becoming more common to hear about different experiences and dreams that fifty years ago. Contrary to your upbringing, growing up in a single parent home, I never heard about the picket fence or large house. But, my family was always happy. I do not feel cheated of the American Dream, and I have created my own dream, as I hope other Americans will do.

Daniel Gatta

I agree with Collin here and strongly believe that our society has shifted the idea of "the American Dream" into more of doing something that makes you happy rather than attaining a job that pays you a lot of money. I also agree with Casey and Spears in the sense that the "white picket fence, large house and family of four" was never a relevant one growing up in today's society. All throughout my life people, especially my parents, have always told me to find something that I enjoy and will make me happy. It is more acceptable in today's society to chase your dream job that pays $50,000 dollars instead of going to school to become a doctor for the sole factor of income. The idea of America and the American Dream has always be based on freedom. Straying from the "white picket fence" life to more of a "do what makes you happy" life has almost more freedom and in my opinion a shift in the right direction. The American Dream has not died and is still something that many people should strive for.

Daniel Gatta

I agree with Collin here and strongly believe that our society has shifted the idea of "the American Dream" into more of doing something that makes you happy rather than attaining a job that pays you a lot of money. I also agree with Casey and Spears in the sense that the "white picket fence, large house and family of four" idea was never a relevant one growing up in today's society. All throughout my life people, especially my parents, have always told me to find something that I enjoy and will make me happy. It is more acceptable in today's society to chase your dream job that pays $50,000 dollars instead of going to school to become a doctor for the sole factor of income. The idea of America and the American Dream has always been based on freedom. Straying from the "white picket fence" life and moving towards more of a "do what makes you happy" life has almost a stronger sense of freedom and in my opinion is a shift in the right direction. The American Dream has not died and is still something that many people should strive for.

Conner Russell

Keli Goff thinks The American Dream is dead, and she takes it one step further: "good riddance." Goff claims that the idealized fantasy world of The American Dream, complete with "home ownership, educating two children, as well as owning a good car" (and who can forget the ridiculous white picket fence?) has been a bane for many Americans, giving them aspirations for something they can't get and might not even want.

Goff shows that Millennials aren't placing value in getting married, having children, or buying a house. Instead, they seek a "sense of meaning" (and the extra spending power from not being bogged down by "American Dream things" probably isn't bad, either). But if we go back to the original definition of The American Dream put forth by historian James Truslow Adams, we might get a different outlook: The American Dream isn't about "motor cars and high wages", it's about "social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable [...] regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

I've always viewed The American Dream in the same light as gender role conditioning. It's the gnawing social pressure nestled in the back of our consciousness, poking it's head out whenever existential crises flare up. My dad exemplified this, telling me he stopped traveling and got married and had kids because it was what he felt like he had to do. Both Goff and I both agree that the only thing The American Dream has done for people is to keep them from being content.

So let's bury The American Dream for good and instead have a "Sense of Meaning Dream" instead.

Nick Michaelian

Michaelian, Nicholas

“When you look at the sheer volume of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent in this country, it’s tempting to see our growing inequality as a quintessentially American achievement—we started way behind the pack, but now we’re doing inequality on a world-class level” (Stiglitz). Stiglitz’s point is that America’s economy has become so lopsided that the inequality that has formed because of it is at an all-time high. There are several reasons given through the essay that point at why this inequality remains at such a potent level. One of the reasons that directly effects the quality of our society is, the wealthy and the government alike do not put their money towards rebuilding the nation’s infrastructures (Roads, Bridges, Buildings etc…). In Stiglitz’s view, “The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs” ("Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”). In making this comment, Stiglitz urges us to realize that for all the money that now resides in this 1% private economy, most of it if any of it is used to better our society.
In the article, "The American Dream is dead, and good riddance” by Keli Goff, a very different approach is taken on the fading idea of the American Dream. According to Goff, Inspired by the new book, Chasing the American Dream, USA Today calculated that subsidizing the American Dream costs approximately $130,000 annually, meaning the dream is only within reach for about 1 in 8 American families”. Goff’s point is that the American Dream is ceasing to exist and that may be a good thing. The dynamics in America have changed from several decades ago when the perfect life seemed to incorporate a husband a wife children and a house with a white picket fence. Americans are straying from this ideal with more childless marriages and increasingly more single individual homes. Goff agrees when she writes, “But even as more Americans are beginning to challenge these ideas, there is still very potent societal pressure on Americans to chase some version of a dream many may not even want, but have simply been told to pursue their whole lives” (Goff). In other words, Goff believes that Americans moving away from this idea of the American Dream is not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of individuals in society that do not wish to fit in the mold of the American Dream.
America the land of opportunity that has not been true for some time. It should be called the land of opportunity for those born into wealth. Or as Joseph Stiglitz put it the 1%, a very select group of powerful rich people. It's hard for me as a citizen of the USA to look towards the future and imagine myself with a bank account with an amount close to that of a fortune 500 CEO. I grew up in the lower class neither of my parents went to college nor could they afford to help me go either. With this trend happening to many people aside from myself, the future looks to the same as the present while the rich prosper the poor plummet deeper into financial uncertainty.
There is no more American Dream it's more like an American Nightmare, the wealthy or 1% continue to find ways to keep others from potentially entering their bubble, mainly the middle class here in America. The bush administration did several crucial things by way of tax breaks for the 1%ers. While the rest of society is still trying to crawl from the wreckage that proceeded this changes for the less fortunate. We as a country are capitalist which essentially means more profit no matter what not enough profit and everything centers on the making of that profit. That is why it is no surprise there hasn't been drastic changes to laws that Bush put into action. My guess is, those in the Senate know that creating a higher rate for the 1%ers directly affects the money they line their pockets with. Which is why I don't expect to see changes anytime soon. Given all of this the fact still remains that, America does provide a land of opportunity just not for those who truly need it.

Kurt Navarro

In 1931 the American dream was to own a home, have kids and send them through college, to get married, and to own a decent car. Goff believes that this old vision of the dream is all but gone. People today have become less family oriented. Goff states that more and more single people are living alone, couples do not want kids, in New York some believe living the dream is just renting an affordable apartment. In modern days the American dream costs 130,000 dollars per year.
I believe that the American dream is not dead but it has just changed and evolved with society. Everyones goals have changed and with that the outcomes of peoples actions are different than what they were in the early days on America. Whatever goals it is that you set for yourself you can achieve it and that is the American Dream, its whatever you make it out to be.

Lily Khuu

Amidst my own quarter-life crisis, I’m one of the Millennials author Keli Goff writes about in her article, “The American Dream Is Dead, and Good Riddance.” Faced with the rising volume of my ticking biological clock, I almost didn’t notice the gears turning past the roaring of my dreams and goals. The career that hasn’t happened for me yet likely won’t unless I decide that the “American Dream” of homeownership, child rearing, and small luxuries simply isn’t a priority for me. Like her article addresses, I’ve been pondering on what type of value these ideals have in my life. My hope for permanent homeownership has long been tossed, the idea of having a child has been pushed to “late 30’s to early 40’s” as my 30th birthday approaches next year, and small luxuries-- like a $60,000 vehicle --no longer sound as enticing to me compared to a $5,000 trip through Asia and Europe. Even if this amount will only afford me hostels and backpacking, I anticipate that the ancient artwork and architecture will leave me satisfied without needing a five star hotel or fine dining experience.

Joyce Melendez

Goff mentions the "American Dream" is dead, due to the fact that it costs approximately $130,000 annually. She goes on and brings up historian James Truslow Adams, who coined the phrase. Adams called the "American Dream" a "...dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability and achievement." Goff also mentions that people have different goals in life, some wanting to own a home and wanting to become parents.
In a sense, the "American Dream" isn't dead because there can't be one set goal that people are expected to follow. People want to achieve different things in life, so therefore, their "American Dream" is still alive. The fact that Adams mention "...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..." suggests that our "dream" is based on our wants and therefore would be achieved with how we go about achieving our desires. Of course, there are certain limitations, but nonetheless, the calculated $130,000 annually for the "American Dream" doesn't calculate the desires of all people, so it is not dead. The "American Dream" is changing based on what people want out of life.

Mohammad Alam

Keli Goff makes a good point that “it’s time to redefine what it means to be successful in America.” It is often the case that the American Dream is not only the notion that everyone has an equal opportunity to climb up the ladder to reach success, but it also zooms in on a certain kind of success. A traditional American success, as Goff points out, includes “home ownership, educating two children, as well as owning a good car.”

What Goff notes and what many are coming to realize is that success is a subjective term. Not everyone has the same goals and expectations. This is a good thing. In this sense the “dream” is that everyone should have opportunity to achieve what they want, within the general morality of society of course. I agree that this is what Americans should be aiming for rather than monetary riches, which is completely out of reach these days as the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Still, it is this economic inequality that is ultimately becoming a roadblock for everyone’s opportunity at their dream.

In the end, this article makes me wonder about what my goals are in a society that really places emphasis on material value.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

By signing up you agree to W. W. Norton’s
privacy policy and terms of use.

About They Say / I Blog

  • New readings posted monthly, on the same issues that are covered in “They Say / I Say” with Readings—and with a space where readers can comment, and join the conversation.

Follow us on Twitter to get updates about new posts and more! @NortonWrite

Become a Fan