The American way of living is usually seen as a perfect life, in a rich country which offers a big amount of opportunities, such as getting a job and raising a family in a nice home. An evident example that portrays this is the concept of the 'American Dream’ that has been defined as a dream of success, fame and wealth, which is expected to be achieved within a short periodof time. However, this way of living has also been criticized by many writers. In the song Frijolero by Molotov, the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the film Babel, by Alejandro González Iñárritu this criticism can be clearly seen. The purpose of this paper is to connect these three pieces of work in an attempt to show that the United States of America is not as perfect as itseems. It is my contention that Americans tend to qualify people with less money as inferior and that in their relationships money is always involved.
At its beginnings the American Dream consisted in being able to prosper and giving equal opportunities to every man in the country. Differently from the European scheme, in which people who were born in a low class stayed there their wholelives, Americans found a way of progressing. This was achieved through hard work and thrift, and a very strict work ethic, even if their objective was long-term. After the Industrial Revolution, when machines replaced many skilled workers, Americans started to give up that kind of dream and look forward to gaining material goods and money, as well as social status. The values and morality of theAmerican Dream were lost and wealth became the main objective.
Nowadays it is even harder to achieve the “American Dream” because everyone is competing against each other in order to be the most successful one, but since they always want more, the dream is unattainable and therefore becomes a utopia. The only thing that remains constant is the desire for money, as Matthew Warshauer says inhis article: “Few will deny that Americans are intently focused on the ‘almighty dollar.’ In a society dedicated to capitalism and the maxim that, ‘the one who dies with the most toys wins,’ the ability to purchase a big house and a nice car separates those who are considered successful from those who are not.” Yet the most difficult part is acquiring all these things in a short term, which iswhy Americans are tempted by “easy money”- money made by luck more than hard work, a formula perceived as instant success.
Altogether, it could be concluded that the goal is not only having more, but also getting it now. So that is why Americans are always rushing and they never seem to have time for other things that, for instance, Eastern cultures consider important, such as family,spirituality and leisure.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a clear criticism of the American Dream. It shows how everything is based on being rich, which does not mean being happy. Jay Gatsby, the character that gives its name to the novel, is a self-made man who is trying to win Daisy’s love back. She is a rich lady married to a man from the high society named Tom, so Gatsby thinksthat being wealthy will make her come back. He gets so blinded trying to make more and more money and to have more possessions that he does not see that money cannot buy Daisy’s love. He throws fancy parties trying to impress her, and “showing” that he is famous and that he is known by lots of people, but yet he has no real friends. Approaching the end, when Tom tells his wife that Gatsby's moneycame from the illegal trafficking of alcohol and drugs, and Gatsby cannot deny it, Daisy decides to end her affair with Gatsby and stays with Tom, without hesitation. This can be seen when Nick says that she never came back to Gatsby’s: “No telephone message arrived, but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o’clock – until long after there was anyone to give it to if it...