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The Roadblocks of America

In: English and Literature

Submitted By iWoolf
Words 962
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In his book “The Epic of America,” historian James Truslow Adams wrote, “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” (214-215). Many believe that making it in America coincides with living the American Dream. To most, the American Dream is an idea highly possible for Americans to secure a better material life for themselves through hard work. However, hard work and perseverance are not the only factors that contribute to making it in America. The path to making it in America can be altered by race, birth, and low wages. Firstly, the factor of race can determine whether or not a person is able to make it in America. For example, an Indian restaurant decides to hire potential employees. What are the chances that the employee will be Indian? There is a higher chance that an Indian person would get hired at an Indian restaurant rather than a white person. In Horatio Alger from the book Rereading America, Harlon Dalton asks, “Is merit all we care about in deciding who gets what share of life's goodies?” (264). It is not just merit that decides who gets what. Harlon Dalton provides support by asking, “Does anyone, for example, honestly believe that any Supreme Court justice in recent memory was nominated solely on the basis of merit? Any president? Any member of Congress? Does anyone believe that America's health-care resources are distributed solely on merit? That tax breaks are distributed solely on merit? That baseball club owners are selected solely on merit?” (264). The majority of our presidents are white males. 1 out of 9 Supreme Court members are black. Dalton is trying to say that not all judgment is made solely based on one's merits. Race is an important factor that affects the judgment of others. Secondly, birth or stature can alter the path to making it in America. Where a person comes from and what family they are born within plays an important role in deciding how difficult it will become to make it in America. If a person was born in the slums with nothing, it is difficult to get a proper education. If a person was born from a rich family, that child may already decide that his current lifestyle could be considered as living the American Dream. Even with all the hard work one puts in, it does not outweigh the fact that those of lower class have more responsibilities. It's hard for a person to make it in America if they have to provide for their own family. In The Lesson from Rereading America, Sylvia says, “Where we are is who we are, Miss Moore always pointin out. But it don't necessarily have to be that way, she always adds then waits for somebody to say that poor people have to wake up and demand the share of the pie” (Bambara 258). It is true that if someone of a lower class wants to make it in America they would have to get themselves out of the terrible condition they are living in first. Lastly, low wages are to be considered as a “fork in the road” in the path to making it in America. It is extremely difficult to make it in America when one is working a job that pays low. Workers with low wages struggle to support themselves. These people have to prioritize the cost of living rather than their goal to make it in America. No matter how hard you work, if one's wages are low, the path to making it in America will be nearly impossible. In Serving in Florida from Rereading America, Barbara Ehrenreich says, “I had gone into this venture in the spirit of science, to test a mathematical proposition, but somewhere along the line, in the tunnel vision imposed by long shifts and relentless concentration, it became a test to myself, and clearly I have failed” (279). Those working meager jobs that have low pay have to concentrate on working to make a living. No matter how hard and how much a person perseveres, working a job that pays low will get them nowhere. To make it in America a person is living the American Dream. Hard work and perseverance is not the only thing that will pave the way to making it in America. People are not judged solely on their merits, but they are judged on the color of their skin also. Where you come from can give you a disadvantage towards your goal to make it in America, but that is not necessarily always true. Working a job that pays low wages is the anchor that is bringing one down from making it in America. If no one considers that there are other factors, besides hard work and perseverance, then they will be blindly walking the path to make it in America.

Works Cited
Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. "Horatio Alger." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 1992. 260-66. Print.
Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. "The Lesson." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 1992. 253-59. Print.
Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. "Serving in Florida." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 1992. 253-59. Print.
Adams, James Truslow. "The American Dream." The Epic of America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1931. 214-15. Print.…...

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