The reason they call it the American Dream is that you have to be asleep to believe it. For many years, the United States has been known for the idea that if one works hard enough he or she will be prosperous and, in turn happy. However, its seemingly endless opportunity is unrealistic and unattainable.
The American Dream has been the driving force for all the immigrants that have set out for the U.S. The dream has been an idea that has been passed down from one generation to the next since the founding of the nation hundreds of years ago. The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which claims that 'all men are created equal' with the right to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' For an immigrant or a teenager who comes from impoverished parents, it seems as though you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. This way of life relates to employment. For example, starting at a job that only provides you with a minimum wage salary, which is around $9.00 per hour. According to USA Today, the average four person family has an their annual income come in at about $50,000, which is decent. While the typical upper-class family makes about $300,000 or more a year. This means you’d have to work about 672 hours per week between two adults on minimum wage to move up economically. There aren’t enough hours in a day to manage such a thing and it would be too physically demanding. This is not helped by the considerable wage gap between men and women. White women make $0.78 to every dollar a white man makes. When talking about people of color, Black women only make $0.64 to every dollar a white man makes and Latina and Hispanic women only make $0.54. This shows it is significantly more difficult for women, especially women of color, to achieve the American Dream, no matter how hard they work. George Monbiot said that, “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.” Meaning that success comes from hard work but hard work does not equal success.
The American dream is not a concept one merely hopes to attain, but rather one must be willing to work for by whatever means necessary. In his American Dream “Value Menu,” Harrison Scott Key believes that in order to be fulfilled in life an individual must have family, friends, fun, fitness, financing, and the dream. However, he states that it is not possible to have possession of these all at once, that “most of us are lucky to get three” because “you won’t have it all.” The American Dream is shown to be achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking, and hard work, rather than by chance. One must make sacrifices such as compromising morality, physical well-being, conscience, or identity. It is commonly thought that if you play by the rules and do as you’re told, then you’ll move ahead, but this is wrong. In the past and present, factors such as the Great Depression, slow economic progress, wars, and unemployment have caused and will continue cause generations to work continuously and tirelessly to make ends meet. Despite these people’s hard work and sacrifice, they had little time and no money to guarantee their dream of social advancement. The American Dream may seem nearly impossible for some citizens, because there is no equal opportunity. A dream means a happy ending and a happy outcome, but the American Dream can promise neither of these. This land of “limitless opportunities” is failing in many was and depending on who you are and what you do for a living, the American Dream may be more achievable to some than others.