Task 2b: The historical development of the American Dream

Outline of the texts

Task 2b asks you to discuss the historical development of the American Dream and what position it has in the USA today, using the material in Appendix 2. The text in Appendix 2 is an excerpt from the article ‘The American Dream Is Alive and Well’ By Dr. Samuel J. Abrams and includes some graphs with statistics about Americans’ perceptions of the American Dream.

Dr. Samuel J. Abrams begins his article by arguing that Americans still believe in the American Dream, even though the economic climate does not support the idea that there are equal opportunities to achieve upwards social mobility and wealth.

Abrams explains that the American Dream is still alive because people’s view of it has changed. While people in the past associated the American Dream with having a house and a career and being wealthy, they now connect the American Dream with freedom of choice and a fulfilling family life.

The article cites Helen Zhang from Cleveland who says that her parents came from China searching for a better life and that she also believes in the same ideal: wanting a better life and more opportunities for her children. The writer concludes that today the American Dream is about the individual and the family rather than material possessions.

The graphs included in the article show that most people in the US consider individual freedom (77%), family life ...

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