American Dream in The Glass Castle

On the American Dream

 According to The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams defines the American Dream as “dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement” (Adams 404). This definition suggests that the American Dream is a “passion for material well-being”, but the notion on which America was founded is much simpler than the dream than what the Walls’ were chasing after. In The Glass Castle, the American Dream appears again and again in many different ways, but the best reference to the American Dream is the title itself. As the title of the memoir, the symbolic Glass Castle easily sums up most of the tensions and interests of the book and explains as to why everything seems so fragile. The Glass Castle symbolizes the illusions that the Walls’ children, specifically Jeannette, must break to mature and follow her own path.

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Three out of the four Walls’ kids were swept up in the materialistic values created by their father, however they did not lose sight of their true goals. The Walls’ kids didn’t seem to realize they were following someone else’s American Dream and not chasing after their own until eventually the illusion of the Glass Castle shatters when the kids had the last straw and Lori moves to New York City, eventually followed by Jeanette and Brian. For years, the children were blinded by Rex Walls’ American Dream of a grand, transparent palace built in the desert with solar panels for electricity. The Glass Castle embodies how Rex and Rosemary would like to live, self-sufficient, and without the control of the government, which is out of the question. This shows the impossible contradictions in the American Dream that for one to be in on the dream, one has to have money as well.

Rex’s plans for the Glass Castle showed his genius mind and how he was far ahead of his time, however his inability to be a proper father for his children showed just how fragile his promise of the Glass Castle was, as it is in fact, glass. In the memoir, it is the author’s father, Rex Walls, lifelong dream to build “a wonderful and special house” for his family that is “self-sustaining and runs on solar power made up of entirely glass panels to illuminate it” (Walls 25). The idea of the house is exceptional, unique and comes from a sober Rex’s mind, but it could never be built because he needed money that he never got. Rex unsuccessfully tries to finance the Glass Castle by building another invention, The Prospector, which was going to find gold for them and “once he finished the Prospector and struck it rich, he’d start work on [their] Glass Castle” (Walls 15). The search for gold of The Prospector is another reference to the American Dream when many ambitious Americans went west during the Gold Rush in search of wealth and hopes of better opportunities to chase their dreams.

Rex and Rosemary did have the correct mindset for reaching their goal as “if the American dream is to come true and to abide with us, it will, at bottom, depend on the people themselves” (Adams 410). The only problem, however, was the way that Rex and Rosemary tried to reach their dream. In hopes of furthering their father’s dream, also once theirs, in Welch, Brian and Jeannette even start to dig a pit for the foundation of the palace. The illusion, specifically for Jeanette, immediately shatters when Rex tells her to fill the pit up with garbage, as to say, the dream itself, is no more than trash. As the last piece of the Glass Castle shatters, Jeannette leaves for New York as her father tries to revive the dream by showing her new blueprints, as Jeannette seems to finally realize “while [they] have been absorbed in [their] tasks, the world has also been changing” (Adams 406). She finally becomes aware that she has to let go of the Glass Castle and achieve her own American Dream. The symbol of the Glass Castle, courtesy of Rex Walls’ dream, is a way of sobering up, as Rex Walls’ was the town drunk; the choosing of the book’s title pays respects to Rex Walls’ brilliance, magnificent dreams and illusions, despite the unrealism and how broken they were.

 The author’s parents’ dreams are actually quite similar, in that both reflect the unrealistic ideals of adventure and self-sufficiency of the glass castle. This was their American Dream. However, there seems to be a huge hypocrisy in the memoir as Rex and Rosemary are both materialistic hungry but refuse to do anything to fulfill their materialistic desire. Rex wasn’t concerned with keeping steady jobs and Rosemary couldn’t care less about taking care of her children because both of them believed their personal freedom was more important than responsibilities and rules. However, adventure and freedom is not essential to the American Dream as much as conforming to society is. There seems to be a certain extent one can strive for freedom and adventure to achieve the American Dream, however, Rex and Rosemary went too far as “such a habit of mind does not ignore values” (Adams 407), as they neglected the simplest of things such as providing food for their kids. Although, the American Dream is open for question as to what values, it should be obvious that the simplest of needs should at least be taken care of.

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 The Glass Castle will always remain in Jeannette’s childhood but she finally lets go of her father’s dream when the illusion shatters as she comes to terms with the fact that the castle will never be built. The way Jeannette and her siblings were brought up in their childhood is somewhat similar to the life that many American lived before the American Dream blossomed, the closing of the frontier. However, because of the hardships they dealt with due to the selfishness of their parents, the children, ironically, were the most mature and responsible in the family and “bred a strong individualism” (Adams 409). In a twisted way, Rex’s dream helped the children achieve their American Dream as most dreams evolve from broken hearts or promises.

Works Cited

Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1931.

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

A Raisin in the sun & The American Dream

Abstract
The American is defined by reaching the top no matter who you are or where you come from. In the ‘50s this dream revolved around materialistic values. This play focuses on a family with each member having a different dream and their journey as an African Americans. Walter, Mama’s son learns the meaning of pride and keeping what his father has earned is more important than money. The play focuses on supporting each other through rough times and learning to love. In the end, they achieve their American dream despite the color of their skin.

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A Raisin in the sun & The American Dream
The American dream in the ’50s was close to materialism. The ownership of consumer goods was believed to bring joy into a family’s life. This stereotypical view governs the dream of one of the main characters in Lorraine Hansberry’s play. The title of the play is based on “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, a poem that raises a question about a dream that is deferred. “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? … Or does it explode?” (Rampersad, 1995, pg. 426) There are three main characters and all three of them of have dreams that have been prolonged for too long. A Raisin in the Sun is about the rocky journey they go through to acquire their dreams.
The Younger’s family has just received a $10,000 dollar check for their dead father’s life insurance policy. They live in a two bedroom apartment on the black side of town in Chicago. Racial prejudices against blacks in that era and a low income are the root of conflict in the family. Mama, deceased Mr. Youngers widow wishes to buy a house and fulfill the dream she once saw with her husband. Beneatha, Mama’s daughter, hopes to find her identity through looking towards true African heritage. Walter, Mama’s son, wishes to one day become rich. He wants to replenish his marriage and provide his son with all the opportunities he never had growing up.
Walter wants to invest money in the liquor business with a few of his friends. Although the idea appalls Mama at first, she trusts and supports her son with his decision. The night before making the investment Walter tells his son about the business transaction he about to make while tucking him into bed. He tells the little boy that their lives will change soon and paints an elaborate and vivid picture of the future. He tells his son that when he’s seventeen years old he’ll come home and park the Chrysler in the driveway. The gardener will greet him and when he’s inside the house he’ll kiss his wife and come up to his sons room to see him browsing through brochures of the best colleges in America. He then tells his son that he will give him whatever he wants. Although Walter is somewhat materialistic in what he wants at the core he just wants a happy family and a son who should have all the chances he never had. During this time Mama buys a house to fulfill the dream she saw with her husband; the only one she can afford is in a white suburban neighborhood. Mr. Lindner a man from the neighborhood comes to the Younger house trying to convince them to not destroy the white community. He offers a lot of money in exchange for their acceptance. Meanwhile Walter looses all the money he has invested in the liquor store because I friend has run away with it. When he looses the majority of their financial resources the entire family falls into a deeper level of depression. At this time, Walter decides to take the money the white man has to offer. The thought of selling away their right vexes Mama, Walter’s sister and his wife. They detest Walter for dealing with his dead fathers money so easily and feel that he has lost his soul when he days we wants to be bought out by the white Mr. Lindner.
Ultimately, loosing everything they have unites them because at the last moment Walter changes his mind about taking money from Mr. Lindner. Walter tells him that they have moved into the house because their father earned it for them. He continues by saying that they don’t want to disturb the neighborhood peace or protest for bigger causes, and that they’d be nice neighbors. He tells Mr. Lindner that he doesn’t want the money. At this moment the entire family’s spirits are lifted and they are proud of the decision Walter has made. This act of standing by your family to achieve the American dream of succeeding no matter who you are and where you come from unites them. They learn to support each other and put their families before their own. By owning a house, having a high morale, and the support of their family, each of them is on their way to fulfill their American dream.
References
Foulis, Rhona (2005, March, 14). A Raisin in the Sun. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from Culture Wars Web site: http://www.culturewars.org.uk/2005-01/raisin.htm
Potter , G and Struss, Joe. (2002, April, 02). Iowa State University. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from ISU Play Concordances Web site: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~spires/concord.html
Rampersad, A (Ed.). (1995). The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc..
 

Finding your dream job

Career is the result of a conscious position and behavior of an individual in the sphere of labor related to official or professional growth (Porfeli 47). Career as a trajectory of motion is constructed by an individual in accordance with the peculiarities of internal and external organizational reality and above all, in accordance with personal goals, desires and attitudes. The activities of people are often judged by their careers. At the beginning of the professional cycle, human efforts are usually aimed at preparing for a future career – the development of skills, values, views and other aspects necessary for the acquisition of professional identity. At the end of the professional cycle, a person typically tends to concentrate forces at determining the degree of personal career success. Both stages include the analysis of the correctness to the chosen career.

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The study, which has become a classic one (Feldt 238), shows that certain personality factors and pressure situations influence the fact whether people change their careers or try their best to hold on to the one acquired at the very beginning of their careers, believing that it is the right choice. The way an individual likes his job, and therefore, the extent to which his career will be successful, depends on certain factors. The following ones could be listed among them: a) knowledge of the profession; b) correspondence between the characteristics of a person and environment; c) good professional role models; d) stimulating, but not threatening demands of work and associated expectations; e) reduced concern for prestige; f) correspondence between personal and professional values; g) the context of working environment in which the socialization takes place (Feldt 235-45). In addition to these variables, researchers have identified two basic types of focus – on earnings and on job satisfaction, – expressed by workers and affecting career choice (Verbruggen 3-15).
Thus, people are choosing their own “right” job basing on a variety of reasons: money, status, prestige, communication, satisfaction, etc., and when choosing a career, they often take into account if not all, but at least some of those reasons. Person’s perception of certain careers and reasons why he should do this activity is largely determined by previous experiences and prevailing social attitudes (Porfeli 46-58).
To assess personality traits and optimize the choice of the professional activity, it is important to consider the type of personality selecting this or that activity. One of the most operational typologies for this purpose is the personality typology by Holland (Primé 179-80), predetermining the content of career activities and including: realistic type (focus on manipulations with tools and machinery), research type (focus on search), artistic (emotional expression, self-presentation), social (interactions with people), business (focus on the impact on people), and conventional type (manipulations with data and information).
Although the concept of Holland assumes that one of the types is always dominating, people can adapt to the conditions, using the strategy of two or more types (Primé 181). The closer are the orientations of the dominant type and the second (or third) orientations, the closer the personality types are. Taking into account the nature of dominant and non-dominant orientations, one can choose the activities that are closer to one’s own nature and where one will be more successful. If the dominant and the following orientations are far from each other, it is much more difficult to make a right career choice (Primé 185-86).
Thus, the formation of a career is a continuous process, during which the person is using the information about oneself and about the world, chooses the sphere of activity, and then – a specific profession. When choosing the direction of a professional career, one must take into account three basic conditions for a successful career: the profession should be in the sphere of one’s interests; the profession should correspond to personal abilities; and the profession should be in demand in the labor market (Perrone 291-94). Any person has an access to several ways to get acquainted with the basic terms of career choices and strategies on making career choice decisions.
One of the most wide spread resources for that is coming through psychological testing to identify professional inclinations, select the first higher education institution or education institution for reeducation or specialization (Perrone 295-97). In addition, one can rely on statistical information on payment rates and schedules in different careers. After deciding what one prefers more – a 6-digit salary or a flexible schedule, a person can examine the statistics of suitable jobs.
Most of the information can be found on the Internet. Every modern establishment or company has its own website, where one can get all the latest information. It is also possible to send resumes to employers or find several HR agencies; both methods will include prior assessment of a candidate. In addition, the international professional networks could help in getting acquainted with people who work in the same area. Communicating with them, one can find out everything about the career of one’s dream (Porfeli 46-58).
Finally, it is acceptable to use the services of the employment centre, the specialists of which can provide all necessary information and test candidates on the professional suitability. In addition to state agencies of career choices which are governmental organization that provide advice to the population on education and career choices, there are private consulting companies providing consultations with a specialist on career choices in the immediate customer service centers (Verbruggen 3-5).
Contemporary career consulting is a process of evaluating opportunities, potential and real (not imaginary, imposed by society or influence of friends and parents) wishes by professional consultants, possessing information on the labor market and demand occupations. Such consultations usually do not involve testing, but only free dialogue between the specialist and the client. The procedure lasts from 1,5 to 2,5 hours. Finally, the customer receives the conclusion of a specialist with recommendations on career development, given information on skills that need to be acquired for achieving success. This service is relevant not only for students but also for those who have already graduated from university or other educational institutions, and cannot decide on the choice of their dream career (Verbruggen 3-13).
Having made a mistake in choosing a career, people often suffer in the future. Doing something that does not bring joy may harm both the health and success in personal life. All areas of life are intertwined, so it is difficult to underestimate the importance of correct choice.
About 50-80% of people make mistakes when choosing their careers (Primé 178). And they usually make this choice consciously. Society imposes the understanding of the proper career; therefore people often follow the established stereotypes. Instead of choosing what one likes, one chooses what is considered prestigious; common sense becomes a victim of dictate of the public opinion. Because of this, the actual percentage increases to 95-99.9% (Feldt 240). Indeed, there really a few of those who have made the right choice combining one’s career with one’s passion. These people do not trust their future to the fate; they deliberately choose such a life.
Thus, the choice of career is one of the most important decisions man makes in life. Everyone wants the job to meet one’s interests and capabilities, bringing joy and money. To create a dynamic career it is necessary to realize one’s own interests, abilities and labor market requirements. Taking everything into account, it is possible to say that gradually the career choice becomes easier. More search methods, more alternatives emerge every day. Realizing one’s own weak and strong sides, interests and preferences, one can make the right choice.
Works Cited:
Feldt, Ronald C., Ferry, Ashley, Bullock, Melinda, Camarotti-Carvalho, Ana, Collingwood, Melinda, Eilers, Scott, Meyer, Luke, Nurre, Emily, and Cheryl Woelfel. “Factorial Structure of the Career Decision Scale: Incremental Validity of the Five-Factor Domains.” Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development 42 (2010): 235-245. Print.
Perrone, Kristin M., Tschopp., Molly K., Snyder, Erin R., Boo, Jenelle N., and Claudine Hyatt. “A Longitudinal Examination of Career Expectations and Outcomes of Academically Talented Students 10 and 20 Years Post—High School Graduation.” Journal of Career Development 36 (2010): 291-309. Print.
Primé, Dominic R, and Terence J. G. Tracey. “Psychometric Properties of the Career Clusters Interest Survey.” Journal of Career Assessment 18.2 (2010): 177-188. Print.
Porfeli, Erik J., and Vladimir B. Skorikov. “Specific and Diversive Career Exploration During Late Adolescence.” Journal of Career Assessment 18.1 (2010): 46-58. Print.
Verbruggen, Marijke, and Luc Sels. “Social-Cognitive Factors Affecting Clients’ Career and Life Satisfaction After Counseling.” Journal of Career Assessment 18.1 (2010): 3-15. Print.
 

American Dream Analysis In Literature

Miller’s Death of a Salesman and A raisin in the Sun presents “the efforts and frustrations of a family in pursuit of the American Dream” (Curtain 115). Dreams are the very different to each individual. Walter, the hero in A Raisin in the Sun is another Willy who struggles to realize his version of American Dream. In their attempts to achieve the Dream, Willy and Walter shows that they are common in some aspects. A social study by Alister Bull points out “America may still think as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world”(BBS). The American Dream is just illusion. It is illusions of chance for the future.

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Walter has high expectation of himself and he try out to succeed. Hansberry has stated that “… Walter Younger is an American more than he is anything else,” he believes anyone can become anything he wants to be in the land of promise. He wants to quit his boring job. He works as a chauffeur for white. He wants to be successful businessman who runs his own business. As solid evidences of success, he wants to buy a Cadillac convertible and “some real pearls” for Ruth, big house with a garden for his family and opportunity to go to well known college in America for Travis(1537). For himself, he would like to drive a black Chrysler because “Rich people don’t have to be flashy”(1538).
Other common backgrounds of their dreams is the idea of being “big”, which they are obsess with. The word “big” is often used by Willy and his two sons: Willy tells around that ” … working on a very big deal”(1466). He believes his sons will “end up big”(1469). That is why Biff complains he has to “be boss big shot in two weeks,” to satisfy Willy’s dream.
The idea of being “big” also use as important in the life of the Younger family. Walter follows the idea of being “big”: “Big. Invest big, gamble big, hell lose big if you have to, you know what I mean”(1525). When Walter finds out his son want to be a bus driver, he responses, ” A what? Man, that ain’t nothing to want to be!…” “cause, man – it ain’t big enough – you know what I mean”(1537). Waiter’s attitude echoes Willy’s emblematic motto:”Start big and you’ll end big”(1452). Other members of Walter’s family also reflex his attitude. Lena is most realistic character in the play, also has desire for something big, something high in her life:
“Lord, ever since I was a little girl, I always remembers people saying, “Lena Lena Eggleston, you aims too high all the time.You needs to slow down and see life a little more like it is. Just slow down some “That’s what they always used to say down home “Lord, that Lena Eggleston is a high-minded thing: She’ll get her due one day”(1553).
Lena seems to fulfill at least a part of her dream because she buys a decent house: “I just seen my family falling apart today…When it gets like that in life – you just got to do something different, push on out and do something bigger…”(1530).The characters’ desire to be “big” reflects emptiness of their dreams. They are confuse by the bright appearance of the American dream.
Walter and Willy are not qualified to be “big” as they imagine because they have many weaknesses. First, they fail to understand the needs of education as the first major step to begin their search for the dream. Willy’s attitude toward education is well demonstrate when he teaches his sons:
Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead, Be liked and you will never want. (1435).
Willy believes that anyone can succeed by “being well-liked” or ” make an appearance” in the business world, even without education. Walter also miss importance of education. He accuses George and Beneatha:
“I see you all the time – with the books tucked under your arms – going to your (British A a mimic) “clahsses.” And for what! What the hell you learning over there? Filling up your heads -(Counting off on his fingers) – with the sociology and the psychology – but they teaching you how to be a man? How to take over and run the world? They teaching you how to run a rubber plantation or a steel mill? New – just to talk proper and read books and wear white shoes.”(1525).
He reproaches colleges produce only good-for-nothings. When he cannot understand the importance of education as meanings of dreams.
Walter and Willy both try to achieve American dreams without efforts, both of them are immoral. Willy once encourages his son to steal materials to mend their stairs. Their crime is evidence of courage and spirit. He even asks Bernard to help Biff cheat on examination. Walter is also corrupted by materialism. He only counts being wealth and have power is important. It is somewhat meaningful for him to run liquor store, which Mama thinks immoral. Walter doesn’t feel guilty when he decides to bribe the officials to get the license. They are immoral and also often blind to needs. Willy tries to kick out the woman he slept with in front of Biff. He try to cover his shameful situation. Willy tries to cut down Linda’s talking whenever she tries to open her mouth, while he keeps interrupting Biff’s talking. Walter says to Beneatha, “go be a nurse like other women-or just get married and be quiet…”(1501). He does not care about Beneatha’s dream being sacrifice to satisfy his own.
Willy and Walter share many weak points. Their dreams are closely related with their family, especially with their son. Willy and Walter differ by their family backgrounds. For Willy, he did not have any parental love: “Dad left when I was such a baby and never had a chance to talk to him and I still feel-kind of temporary about myself”(1445). In contrast, Walter has received full attention and love from his parents. Mama describes her husband as one who greatly love his children. One of the reasons Big Walter’s death was loss of his third child few years ago. Walter received love from his parents during his childhood led him to develop “his strong sense of self-esteem, enabling him fully to accept American values and giving him the confidence to pursue his dream”(Washington 115).
Willy and Walter are in love for their children. Willy have commit his desire for parental love though pouring his affection, and through making himself idolize to his sons. Linda points out, “Few men are idolized by their children the way you are”(1437). He expects his sons to fulfill the dream. He knows he fails to achieve through “being liked. Willy and Walter’s expectation for their sons can be combine by Mama’s speech, “Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams-but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worth while”(1505).
Their desire to fulfill dreams is basically for their sons. Their search for the dream is also influenced by their marital situation. Linda deeply understand partner. She told her sons:
…I don’t say he’s great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person(1447). At this point, it seems natural for Willy to exclaim:”You’re my foundation and my support, Linda”(1427).
A closer examination of Linda’s attitude toward Willy, she does not fully understand him. Willy returns from a sales trip. He brags that he made more than twelve hundred on the trip and Linda starts to calculate how much their net income will be. His brag is followed by the terrible confession that he made only two hundred gross on the trip. Linda replies,”Well, it makes seventy dollars and some pennies. That’s very good.”(1436). Linda talks cold rather than generosity to her husband’s problems. Willy finds out other people laugh at him and he talks too much. When he admits the facts to Linda, he is revealing his true identity as a man of discouragement and failure. Linda fails to help him accept the truth, “Oh don’t be foolish” “You don’t talk too much, you’re just lively”, “Willy darling, you’re the handsomest man in the world”(1437). By sticking to illusion Willy try to implant. She avoids the painful moment, so she lose chance to help to accept the reality. Therefore, one cannot deny that “there is a clear connection between her refusal to challenge those illusions and death” (Bigsby, “In Memoriam”12).
Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun understands the frustration of her husband, Walter. Unlike Willy he does not complain of his careless wife, Walter openly complains:
“That’s it. There you are. Man say to his woman: got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs and go to work. (passionately now) Man say: I got to change my life, I’m choking to death, baby! And his woman say-(In utter anguish as he brings his fists down on his thighs)-Your egg is getting cold!”(1499).
Facing Walter’s fault, Ruth try to help him: “No. Mama, something is happening between Walter and me. I don’t know what it is-but he needs something-something I can’t give him any more. He needs this chance, Lena.”(1504). She understands what Walter really craves for successful business. This is why she give the insurance money to Walter even though she knows she has nothing to do with the money. The relationship between Walter and Ruth reflex to Mama and Big Walter. Mama remembers ” “Honey, Big Walter would come on here some nights back then and slump down on that couch there and just look at the rug, and look at me and look at the rug and then back at me and I’d know he was down then…really down”(1505). Unlike Linda who keeps blind to her husband’s problems, Mama understands Big Walter’s situation. Her suffering acquire from helplessness. She has to feel in front of her husband’s frustration. Lena shows patience, understanding, selflessness and love toward her son as well as the husband.
Willy and Walter soon find out that their dreams are doomed to failure. Willy’s frustration of his own failure also come from his son, Biff’s. He already know about his own failure. “I (Biff) never got anywhere because you (Willy)`stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is!”(1487). Biff has failed to get a stable and profitable job. He still earns only a dollar an hour. He has been imprisoned several times for the crime of theft.
As a result of the failure, they are faced with painful awakening moment. When Willy realizes his dream disappear, he clings to another new illusion: “He (Biff) will make it with their money.” He believes that Biff will have a good chance to get ahead in the world, if he can leave life insurance money for Biff through suicide. When Walter finds money gone with the imposter, he accept the guilty money collected by the white neighbors of the new community to buy the Youngers off. At last moment, he changes his mind. Instead of receiving money, he declares to Mr. Lindner, “We have decided to move into our house because my father-my father- he earned it”(1558). Here, Walter achieves manhood, realizing that “dignity is a quality of men, not bank accounts”(Weales 529).
In different reactions from each other, Willy and Walter still have something in common. Their desire “to hand the world to his son” in earnest way. For Willy, suicide is more than simple expression of illusion, it is an positive action to show dignity and meaning of his life. Walter’s spiritual growth is easily justified, considering his warm and strong affection for Travis. By rejecting Lindner’s offer in Travis’s presence, he hands down not disgrace but pride and dignity to Travis, keeping the dream alive. Because of their dreams “revealed, suspended, destroyed, and renewed again” spring from the heroes’ concern for their families, both plays are domestic under the seemingly social context.
 

Historical Development The American Dream

The idea of the American dream was evident long before its coinage. However, the idea of the American dream could be traced chronologically, from the discovery of America, especially the Northern part or the “Promised Land”4 to the modern age. According to Robert E. Spiller, in Literary History of the United States, the idea of the American dream was associated with “America”. As a “state of mind, America has existed long before its discovery”.5 Europeans began to come up with all sorts of hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the new and largely unexplored continent.
Many of these dreams focused on owing lands and establishing prosperous business and religious freedom. For them, the American dream was the dream of an “Earthly Paradise”. The Earthly Paradise was strongly believed to be the land of great opportunities. It was a great dream that dominated Europeans’ imaginations:

from the time of the first settlement, America was seen
from European eyes as a land of boundless opportunities, a
place where man, after centuries of poverty, misery, and
corruption could have a second chance to fulfill, in reality,
his mythic yearnings for a return to paradise.6

The idea of the American dream was as old as the American continent. Europeans were influenced by the Greeks’ and Classics’ writings. During the sixteenth century, an English saint and humanist, Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) identified “America” with Plato’s “Utopia”. In his book Utopia (1516), More represented the idea of the “heavenly paradise” to an “attainable paradise”. In the nineteenth century, the idea of Utopia changed into an “actual paradise”. Because of the influence of the French and Industrial Revolutions, the earthly paradise was attainable.7

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With the possibility of such a land, the American dream was an attitude of hope and spiritual faith erected to fulfill human wishes, desires, and dreams in the “New World”. Thousands of European immigrants had moved to the New World to fulfill the versions of the American dream. The New World was a hope of a new life away from frustration and the sense of inferiority. 8
The American dream dealt with the idea of “bettering one self’s economy” by which one hoped the New World would provide abundant opportunities for one’s prosperity and success. The dream was of “rising from poverty to fame and fortune” i.e. “from rags-to-riches”.9 Furthermore, it was the dream of a “perfect government” that would provide immigrants full and equal opportunities. They would go to the New World to set up new religious and political communities, hopefully, based on their ideas.10
The idea of the American dream had developed. It represented the dream of individual success of that of the “American Adam” whose labors and posterity that one day would cause great change in the New World.11 According to R. W. B. Lewis, the American Adam was:

a radically new personality, the hero of the new
adventure: an individual emancipated from history,
happily bereft of ancestry, untouched and undefiled
by the usual inheritance of family and race, an individual
standing alone, self-reliant and self-propelling, ready
to confront whatever awaited him with the aid of his
own unique and inherent resource.12

This signified the secular dimension of the American dream, which was associated with social success. With the rise of industrialism and the growth of the economic environment and the rapid advance of science and technology in the nineteenth century, America changed from an agricultural into an industrial and a capitalistic country. The idea of the American dream was to achieve economic independence, especially to have a vocation and own a home in order to be happy. This economic development led to class distinctions and created special privileges for certain classes. It was the pursuit of money rather than of happiness. With the development of new knowledge of Darwinian Theory, American people believed in the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest. To become wealthy, one needed to fulfill his or her dreams by all means, even if the fulfillment was by illegal ways. This dilemma corrupted the principles of freedom and equality of opportunity, and caused great doubt toward the American dream as a whole, and engaged more severely against other human beings. 13
A concept often brought into connection with the American dream was the symbol of “Melting Pot”. The idea of Melting Pot was used in the eighteenth and ninetieth centuries, the metaphor of a “Crucible” was used to describe the fusion of different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures.14
It was used together with the concepts of the United States as an ideal republic and a “city upon a Hill”. It was a metaphor for the idealized process of immigration and colonization by which different nationalities and races were to blend into a new, virtuous community, and it was connected to Utopian vision of the emergence of an American “new man”.15
It was first used in American Literature, as a concept of immigrants “melting” into the receiving culture, was found in the writings of J. Hector John de Crevecoeur. In his Letters from an American Farmer (1782), Crevecoeur referred to the problem of the American Nationality that appeared after the Revolutionary Era and the Declaration of Independence. He wrote:

a man whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose
wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman,
and whose present four sons have now four wives of different
nations individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of
men, [new in part, because of that] strange mixture of blood,
which you will find in no other country.
He is an American who, leaving behind him all his ancient
prejudice and manners, receives new ones from the new mode
of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and
the new rank he holds. The Americans were once scattered
all over Europe; here they are incorporated into one of the finest
systems of population which has ever appeared.16

In 1908, a play by Israel Zangwill named Melting Pot, was first performed in Washington, D. C., where the immigrant protagonist declared:

Understanding that America is God’s Crucible, the great
Melting-Pot, where all the races of Europe are melting and
re-forming! [into a new identity] Here you stand, good folk, think
I, when I see them at Ellis Island, here you stand in your fifty grounds,
your fifty languages, and histories, and your fifties blood
hatred and rivalries. But you won’t be long like that, brothers,
for these are the fires of God you’ve come to-these are fires of
God. A fig for your feuds, and Vendettas! German and French
man into the crucible with you all! God is making the
American.17

However, the play was soon criticized as unrealistic; because “melting” and reforming into new American Adam appeared to be heresy that implied that all sides had to give up their culture completely to create a new one. The conflict was that many social classes and groups were excluded from the participation in the earthly life.18
Nevertheless, since the whites (Anglo-Saxon Protestants) were the predominant group in the “British Colonies”, other cultures and identities were perceived as inferior or even unwanted. African-Americans and Native American Indians were enslaved; Catholic Irish and Southern European immigrants were discriminated against for centureies.19
People from different cultural backgrounds often wrongly interpreted the concept of melting pot as the peaceful living together with people from other ethnic groups. But in reality, ethnic groups or minorities in America were not equal to the white people. African- Americans and Native American Indians were denied civil rights.20
Gradually, the meaning of the melting pot had changed. In response to the criticism of the concept of melting pot, Horace Kallen developed the concept of “cultural pluralism” in 1915. This concept incorporated that different ethnic groups could keep their cultures and that people would mutually enrich their culture. 21
Multiculturalists asserted that cultural differences within society were valuable, and should be preserved. They proposed the alternative metaphor of the mosaic or salad bowl-different cultures mixed, but remained distinct.22
The question was “what, then, is the American, this new man? He is neither European nor the descendant of a European”.23 The conflict was between the dreams of the white European Americans, who came to the New World to fulfill their dreams as new men, and the dreams of the other minorities, especially, the black African, who came by force. Like many other minorities, Africans were obliged to abandon their rights of sharing or participating in the American life.
According to the assumption that “Man” was “part of the universe”, man had the power to improve his own nature by improving his environment through science and education.24 Merle Curti in his The Growth of American Thought affirmed man’s “natural rights” of life, liberty, and prosperity, which were accessible to everyone without discrimination. In order to be a normal American citizen, one should naturally practice these rights. These natural rights could not be alienated from the state, and if the state did violate the natural law of the universe by alienating these rights, then “man could and should resort to revolution”.25 This basic fact encouraged many people in the United States of America, especially African-Americans to take action and revolt against the injustice.
By the turn of the twentieth century, the American dream was described as a nightmare. In the Two World Wars, the dream had begun to lose its glitter. Americans, whites and blacks became disillusioned by the idea of making “the world safe for democracy [which] had proved to be blasphemy”.26 They believed that they were fighting for a better world, for a world of peace and corporation, for a real and immediate Utopia. Americans had suffered psychological and mental pressures, and the image of death made men lose stability and lose faith in the American dream of establishing a perfect world. Instead, they became neurotic, frustrated, and disappointed; Gertrude Stein described the new youth as a “lost generation”, because their lives became meaningless, pointless, and agonizing ones. 27
The reason behind the confrontation of dreams, was the misery and suffering caused by the crisis that happened in the first half of the twentieth century. One of the most eventual and memorable decades in American history was, the Great Depression of the 1930s that changed American life, and prepared the country for a post-war era, characterized by pessimism and despair.28
Thus, the American dream of the modern age had been shrouded by doubt and pessimism, as “economics faltered and opportunities diminished. The dream became a record of unfulfilled promises and dashed hopes”.29 Yet, Americans had consistently, flavored their dreams with dashed “skepticism”. From the very beginning, this was true, Sir Thomas More was “as skeptical as any other man about the promises he entitled in Utopia. When he wrote it, “he was playing with an idea”.30 This showed that the American dream was first an idea.
Then, it was said that the American dream had served as a justification for those who had exploited a virgin country, and it had been the chief argument of those who had tried to equalize all men before the law.31
Consequently, people came to anticipate “a generous and friendly New World rather than a lavish heaven”.32 The American dream was not the product of a solitary thinker, but evolved from the hearts and burdened souls of millions who came to this nation. To make their dreams come true, James Truslow Adams insisted on the principle of working together, no longer merely to build bigger, but to build better. And that referred to all citizens of the United States whether they were black or white.33
After World War II, the American dream was portrayed as a “military power”.34 The United States of America became the most powerful nation. The 1950s was the period of American preeminence as a military and economic power that revived the dream after the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. America was marked by “a self-conscious” sense of its place in the world. The twentieth century was the “American Century”, the post-war era was certainly the time when citizens of the United States began to believe that it was, in fact, their century, and that theirs was the greatest country in the world. With the Americans’ belief of their responsibility for ‘winning’ World War II, it provided them with self-confidence about the world. 35 Frederick R. Karl characterized the period:

as a time of growth, development, progress, enlightenment,
and achievement of goals; as a renaissance of sort
and essential to what helped turn the country into
a superpower under a benign, grinning, ex-hero of a
persistence. The general argument is that man and woman
who experienced the depression returned from World War
II to rebuild the country. This generation accordingly, is a
treasure, for not only did it , revitalize the country domestically,
it helped make the United States the beacon of the World,
offering financial aid, food, and military muscle wherever
required.36

Americans had always had a faith in the “new”. Critics saw the American dream as a clever political and economic marketing strategy. They wanted people to get away from selfishness, individualism, and materialism, and to return to community spirit and social responsibility.37 The meaning of the American dream had changed over the course of history. The American dream simply indicated the ability, the practice, and the participation in the society and economy, for everyone to achieve prosperity. According to the American dream, this included the opportunity for one’s children to grow up and receive a good education and career without artificial barriers. It was the opportunity to make individual choice without the prior restrictions that limited people, according to their class, caste, religion, race, or ethnicity.38
The African-American Experience
In the United States of America, the African-Americans’ experience was unique. It was marked by slavery, segregation, and injustice. It made the quest for the American dream; that was of freedom, equality, and happiness, an essential pursuit.39 It is important to shed light on the African-American struggle in the United States of America. Unlike most of other minorities, the African- Americans were captured in Africa, taken from their homes and lands by force and sent to a strange new land. They were brought chained and enslaved as a result of colonialism.40
In the early colonial days, Black Africans had many opportunities to secure their freedom by escaping or buying themselves out of slavery, and once free, they had a good chance to make their success in the New World. The life of Anthony Johnson41 illustrated the possibility of the blacks’ early dreams, in the early period of European colonization in American North. He was known as “Antonio, a Negro”. Johnson was enslaved in 1621, when he was sold to the English Jamestown; he worked with Bennett family (a white family) … who commended him for his “hard labor and known services”… He secured his freedom, got married to a freed-slave named Mary and baptized his children. As a freeman, Johnson dreamed of establishing his own farm in Virginia, of 250 acres raising tobacco and corn… Eventually, his farm was burned, and he was killed, because the colonial legal system had begun to preserve the rights of the whites and deprive “blacks’ of theirs. This period illustrated the fact “the era of chattel Slavery had begun”.
Many Black Africans came to this land having dreams to fulfill. But, many forces spoiled these dreams. The dream of owning a land and successful business for the blacks was limited or weakened by the time and by the force of the law of the “Black Codes” 42 that was enacted by Virginia, in 1667. Black people had been enslaved with the change of economic conditions. The blacks were denied the opportunity to own land, because they were Negroes and by consequences aliens.43
These Codes made slavery a permanent condition inherited through the mother and defined slaves as property. Such slave Codes robbed the African-American slaves of their freedom and the power of their will. Nevertheless, freedom was always in the mind of the enslaved and how to gain that freedom was the essential question.44
In the New World; African-American slaves were forced to give up their African past and cultivated themselves to being slaves under the white master domination. They were prevented from bringing over their social relations and institutions. These slaves ate what was given to them, not what they wanted, and dressed the clothes that were given to them. In addition, these slaves were treated without any regard or consideration to physical welfare and human dignity.45
In the American South, African-American slaves were described as property. Masters learned to treat their slaves as property. Frederick Douglass, one of the most eloquent speakers against slavery in America, captured the essence of slavery in 1846:

Slavery in the United States is the granting of the power
by which one man exercises and enforces a right of property
in the body and soul of another. The condition of slave is
simply that of a brute beast. He is a piece of the master; who
claims him[her] to be his property. He is spoken of, thought of,
and threaten as property. His own good, his conscience, his
intellect, his affection, are all set aside by the master. The
will and the wishes of the master are the law of the slave.
He is as much a piece of property as a horse. If he is fed,
he is fed, because he is property. If he is clothed, it is with a
view to the increase of his values as property.46

According to this definition of slavery, an African-American slave was the individual whose movement and activities were under the control of the Whites. Thus, he/she could not leave the controller or the employer without an explicit permission; otherwise, he/she could be punished.47
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the use of slave labor was cheaper than indentured labor. Slavery was different from one colony to another. On the Eastern Coast and American North, the climate was not supporting extensive farming, slavery, there, tended to be farming slavery, with a few slaves living and working side by side with small farmers or craftsmen. Whereas in the South, the fertile land and warm climates made large-scale cultivation possible, plantation slavery developed. Large numbers of slaves lived and worked on far distances from their owners.48 Another reason for slavery spread was the “shortage of indentured servants”, which led to resort and to enslave “African Americans”.49
This meant slavery was essentially an economic institution from which the American nation benefited. More slave labor meant a large measure of prosperity. Many American historians believed that the growth of American economy was not because of slavery. But, Eric Williams, a Caribbean Scholar, charged that black slavery was the engine of that propelled American rise to global economic dominance. In his Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams maintained that early Europeans’ conquest and settlement of the New World depended upon the enslavement of millions of black slaves, who helped amass the capital that financed the industrial revolution. America’s economic progress, he insisted, came at the expense of the black slave, whose labor built the foundation of capitalism.50
In spite of the African-Americans’ participation in constructing the foundation of this nation, slavery was identified with “dark skin”.51 By late seventeenth century; slavery and servitude were closely identified with race. White indentured services were limited, voluntary, and had no racial components, whereas, slavery was involuntary, perpetual, and racially defined.52 Hence, indentured servants could be free and had the right to purchase their own freedom or buy completing their period of indenture. At the time of obtaining their freedom, they would pursuit their dreams of property and prosperity. While the African-American slaves did not enjoy these rights and protections.53 Instead, African-American slaves were controlled by the laws of “Black Codes”.
On one hand, race was one of the obstacles that prevented African-Americans from achieving their dreams. On the other hand, the worst condition that African-American slaves had to live under, was the constant threat of sale.54 The African- American slaves’ family stability and security faced severe challenges. Masters, rather than parents, had legal authority over African-American slaves’ children and the possibility of forcible separation through sale hung over every family. The Southern plantation owners did not care, whether a slave to be sold off had family members, he/she had to leave behind or not. All mattered was that masters encouraged slavery. As masters questioned the humanity of such slaves, they argued that African- American slaves did not mind being sold since they lacked the ability to form stable family life.55
As for African-American women, they were included in the horrible system of slavery. They were persecuted, subjected to the worse kinds of oppression and exploitation. Not only, because being black women had to endure the horror of slavery and living in a racial and sick society. But as women, they witnessed their physical image being defamed and became the object of the white master’s lust. As Black African-American, women had to endure the threat and practice of sexual exploitation, and as mothers, they witnessed their children torn from their breasts and sold into slavery.56 One of the ex-slaves, Jennie Hill explained the outlook of the Black African-Americans’ humanity according to the whites’ view point:

[White] people think that slaves had no feelings, that they
bore their children as animals, bear their young and that
there were no heart-breaks when the children were torn from
their parents or the mother taken from her brood to toil for
a master in another state. But, that isn’t so.57

For a white woman, providing home was an essential thing to possess. But, for an African-American woman, it was a dream. Black African-American woman had scantly the opportunity to regain her freedom and her own children.58 During slavery, Black African-American women were exploited in two main sectors of economy: in the fields (with full employment), and in the household. Black African-American women were stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually to the utmost in the slave plantation, as they were forced to labor “like men” in the fields. Also they had substantial domestic roles. They raised whites’ children and created a decent and warm home environment for the white American family, while their dream of family unit was uncertain. 59
The Black African-American slaves had no right to live proper family unit. They had no rights which the master was obliged to respect. The master “found it cheaper to overwork a slave and to replace him [or her] when died, rather take care of him [or her] when lived”.60 The Black African-American slaves were deprived of living their own lives, denied the right of literacy, education, and could not retract, in inevitably distorted ways, the values, morals, and attitudes of the new civilization of which they gradually became a part.61 White Americans believed that the Black African-American slaves were “brutal, barbaric, savage, who would present a real danger to the safety, prosperity, and security of the United States”.62 Thus, it was in the system of slavery that the genesis of racism was to be found. According to Eric Williams, “slavery was not born of racism, rather, racism was the consequence of slavery”.63 White Americans fastened onto differences in physical appearance to develop the “myth”, that African-American slaves were subhuman and deserved to be enslaved. To enhance the Black African-America slaves’ “inferiority”, white Americans deliberately used religion to reinforce slavery as well. To support their institutions, the whites relied heavily on the Biblical story, in which Noah’s curse of his son Ham (especially, the fourth son, Canaan), who said in the ninth chapter of Genesis: “a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”.64 This story justified the color of the Black African-American slaves. By the Nineteenth century, many historians agreed to the belief that the Black African-American slaves were the descendants of Ham was a primary justification for slavery among Southern Christians. In other words, the Bible was used to teach the Black African-American slaves “a divine, God-given” justification for their condition as slaves.65 Hence, white Americans became convinced of “white superiority” and “black inferiority”. It was the beginning of hatred and racial discrimination.66
White Americans taught the Black African-American slaves how to despise their “African” heritage, identity, and culture. They strove to include their own value system into the African-American’s outlook. They believed in African’s inferiority that paralleled self-hatred.67 In general, there were five steps in molding the character of “strict discipline, a sense of his [her] inferiority, belief in the whites’ superiority power, acceptance of the whites’ standers, and finally, a deep sense of his [her] own helplessness and dependence”.68 These facts emphasized the flourishing of the white American culture and completely ignoring of the Black African-American slaves culture. The Euro-Americans were the first who immigrated to the New World by their own free will in search of individual opportunity; their European culture was superior. However, the ignorance diminished the real fact of the importance of the African heritage, not only for the Black African-American slaves, but to mankind.69
For centuries, the Black African-American slaves were ignorant about their own culture and identity. They lacked knowledge, they were illiterates. They were described as “people [, who] were no more capable of learning than were animals”.70 This indicated that Black African-American slaves were victims and white Americans were victimizers. They were oppressed by the power of the whites. So, they were unable to find a hope to transform their life from slavery into freedom.71
The Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evidence,
that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty, and
the pursuit of Happiness”.72

With the setting of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, the most important document in the American history and self-perception, slavery as a moral, human, and economic system challenged the basic principles of “Life”, “Liberty”, and “the pursuit of Happiness”, and proved to be the first great institution that tested the equality doctrine.73 The Declaration of Independence marked not only the independence of the thirteen colonies from “Great Britain”, it also laid the foundation of women’s rights and of struggles for ending slavery:

After the American colonies secured their independence from
Great Britain, [the] black[s] hoped that the same leaders who had
yearned for their own freedom would end slavery.74

The Declaration of Independence rested “not upon particular grievances, but upon a broad base of individual liberty that could command general support throughout America”.75 It served a purpose far beyond that of a public notice of separation. Its ideas inspired mass fervor for the American cause, for it instilled among ordinary folk a sense of their importance, inspiring them to struggle for personal freedom, self-government, and a dignified place in society.76
The United States of America started to shape itself as the “Empire of Liberty and Prosperity”, as a new entity, Black African-American slaves continued to play a significant role. Despite the continuation of violence against Black African-American slaves, who challenged the long standing tradition of racial discrimination and oppression in the South, the “ex-slave” and “free-black” people stepped forward into a new identity, a new reality, and a new sense of agency in public life. Many Black African-American slaves fought in the war of Independence, and “they took to the heart assertion of the right of individual freedom that was so a part of the American Colonial and Revolutionary eras”.77 Hence, the Declaration of Independence, as Jim Cullen, a historical critic thought it was not only an important document that shaped the way of Americans’ lives, but it “…was born and lived the character of the American dream”.78 This dream was profound, eloquent, and unequivocal expression of the dignity and worth of all human personality.
In his A Struggle for Power, Theodore Draper, a historian summarized the revolutionary era as “… a struggle for power -between the power the British wanted to exercise over the Americans and the power the American wished to exercise over themselves”.79 This fact suggested the most important question of “Slavery”. The Declaration of Independence made Americans want nothing more than “freedom” and to assume “a separate and equal station” among the “power of the earth, Great Britin”.80 The problem was, however, that the founding fathers (Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and George Washington, etc.,) of the nation defined “freedom” in terms of its opposite: “Slavery”. When they used the term “Slavery”, however, they were not referring to a peculiar institution, whereby many of the founding fathers themselves brought and sold Black African-American slaves as property. They referred to what they felt Great Britain was doing to their lives and livelihood.81
The unself-conscious comparison between freedom and slavery made other people in the United States call for their freedom as well. A British essayist, Samuel Jonson in 1775, asked, but “How we [white people] hear the loudest yelp for liberty among drivers of Negroes?”82 This paradoxical state made the founding fathers fear that “…the attainment of their dream could encourage others to pursuit theirs”.83 And this was true, because the success of the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, gave Americans the opportunity to give legal form to their political ideals as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and to remedy some of their grievance through state constitution.
Americans were accustomed to live under written constitutions that they took them for granted.84 Therefore, the Black African-Americans’ experience with the American dream in the United States started with the announcement of the Declaration of Independence. Yet, the founding fathers never thought about women, slaves, and Natives as having equal rights like white Americans (Anglo-Saxon American descents), or did not even recognize them as human beings. Thus, the Declaration of Independence was not “the subject to change disagreement”, because its content never changed.85
 

Representation of Social Groups in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

How and why is a social group represented in a particular way? – Darcy Davitt

In Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, androids represent the zenith of technological creation; an artificially intelligent robot with humanoid appearances and behaviours. Dick’s postulations of android AI are the grounds for him raising a variety of ontological questions including what defines humanity.

As numerous science fiction novelists have done, Dick uses androids to negotiate the man-machine nexus and speculate the potential ramifications of developing mechanical humanoids superior to their human constructors. Dick raises the question; are machines commodifiable objects or rather do they possess the independent agency of human beings? Heidegger, an influential twentieth-century German philosopher, believes society views technology as an instrument of human creation and that we have the unique capacity for producing and improving technology. Yet, he describes the dangers of these judgements – by seeing technology as an instrument of humanity, which he called ‘enframing,’ we will become increasingly consumed by the will to technological mastery. He also believes that the further technology slipped from our control, the more urgent our desire to control it would become. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, humans lose control of the androids who turn on their owners and establish technological agency. Yet, is artificial intelligence deemed as independent agency or is it purely a simulation of an individual existence? Throughout the novel, Dick explores the binary opposition of nature and automation and our cultural tendency to value human life over artificial life. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep looks to deconstruct the discrepancies between the real and the artificial: between humanity and technology.

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The similarities suggested by Dick between humans and androids provides the grounds for the exploration of human existence. However, the noveldoes not challenge the dehumanising effects of technology; it shows the androids as a guide to return post-World War Terminus earth-dwellers to the humanity that was abandoned in place of solipsistic individualism. John Isidore lives out most of his lonely existence as the sole inhabitant of a San Fransisco apartment. He endures the isolated life of an android (ironically considering he is acutely empathetic) and his individualism separates him from nature and the rest of humanity. Heidegger feared that ‘modern technology [would] homogenise the lived world such that all things presence in only one way.’ Humans in the novel such as Isidore seem to view their existences as hollow and lifeless – their worlds are ‘de-worlded’ and all inside it becomes a ‘standing-reserve’ or grounds for concern. Technology is ‘enframed’ as a purely human instrument; the subject is taken out of technology and they are seen to exist only as a potential asset to humanity. The representation of androids as humanising entities helps illustrate the conflict between humanity and nature just as with humans and technology. Androids are used as an anti-foil to humanity, to highlight the reciprocity between humans and androids, raising questions regarding human subjectivity and the nature of being.

A sophisticated artificial intelligence in a biological body provides the androids with the capacity to challenge humanity to reconsider their own conceptions of technology and themselves. As android AI is developed and refined over time (from the old T-14 to the Nexus-6 models) their behaviour resembles that of a human to greater degrees. The one feature they lack: empathy. Rick Deckard first contemplates the boundary between empathic and non-empathic beings and considers that ‘ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated.’ This is the earliest point in which the definition of being is raised. Androids are said to have first been invented as ‘Synthetic Freedom Fighters’ or mechanical military replacements during World War Terminus, but later ‘had been modified [to] … become the mobile donkey engine of the colonisation program.’ This reflects numerous historical cases where technological advances stem from military projects. Androids act as both domestic servants and companions, employed to relieve the people from their isolation and forlorn, existential loneliness. The purpose of androids is modified as the means to a new end. This seems excusable given the urgent need to pull together a declining society. Yet, Dick seems to ponder the point of human survival. The need to resort to androids to allow humanity to flourish provides a sad indictment on society, the modern technological project and the basis of the ends justifying the means. Androids represent modern technology and are the medium through which Dick explores the man-machine nexus.

The position of androids isquickly asserted through references to slavery and the racial superiority of humans. They are viewed as alien; in a literal sense they emigrated from Mars; they are foreign beings having fled their slave lives; they are also not human based on society’s standards. Rather, they are regarded as human property designed to sustain the human system against both their loneliness and the ‘form-destroying process of entropy,’ which ironically, Dick suggests humans and androids are both a part of. John Isidore’s TV announces that androids ‘duplicates the halcyon days of the pre-Civil War Southern states,’ alluding to the slaves of American history. Dick implies the androids are tools of capitalist commercialism, or ‘the mobile donkey engine of the colonisation program.’ Androids work for ‘the man’ – they are advertised on earth as ‘custom-tailored humanoid robot[s] designed specifically for your unique needs, for you and you alone.’ The disassociation of androids from the product of their work ‘dehumanises’ them. Dick draws correlations between the androids and Marxian concepts of alienation where people are viewed as a means of production rather than human. In fact, Heidegger’s ‘de-worlding’ and Marx’s ‘alienation’ overlap. Heidegger suggests that humans by means of production utilise the world’s resources to obtain its means to life and in Marx’s Communist Revolution where a common humanity is the means of production through ‘productionism.’ Dick uses androids to represent the Proletariat, providing a critique of the dehumanising aspects of capitalism and analogize the sustained human objectification throughout modern Western society.

Jenkins, M 2015, ‘Marx on ‘alienation’ and Heidegger on ‘deworlding’’, Blog, 19 May, viewed 10 August 2019, .

Capers, R 2014, Defining Human, viewed 10 August 2019, .

Sims, C 2013, Tech Anxiety, McFarland, Ohio.

Goody, A 2011, Technology, Literature and Culture, First edn, Polity.

 

Mrtin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

Name of the speaker:   Martin Luther king Jr.
Main Idea:     Racial Equality and End to Discrimination.
Date:     August 28 1963.
Time:      Mid-Day.
Location of the speech:  Steps of Lincoln memorial Washington DC USA.
Effective speaking means the ability to say what you want to say in such a way that the audience is motivated to listen and act upon what is heard. Effective speaking cuts across all works of life. It is important in relating with employees or managing children’s behavior. Martin Luther King Jr. is known to be one of the greatest speakers in America’s history and his words rings aloud in the minds of those who heard him speak. His words trigger hope and a call to action. A total contrast is a speech by President Donald Trump on February 22nd 2016 (Las Vegas) with rhetoric inciting violence and some supporters actually carrying through.

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On August 28, 2019, King gave the famous “I Have a Dream” Speech on the steps of Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. The speech was focused on racial equality and end to racial discrimination.  King spoke from a podium with multiple microphones. He appeared well-groomed and was dressed appropriately.  He was introduced as “the moral leader”. At the beginning, he referred to his outline but at the later part of the speech he spoke like one who has well-rehearsed his speech or better still bursting with passion and speaking from the heart. King was full of energy from the start. He began by saying he was happy to be part of the “greatest demonstration” and predicted that the speech will go down in history as a milestone in the civil rights movement. To draw the attention of crowd, he made reference to Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address. Since he was speaking from the steps of Lincoln memorial, those words of allusion were received very well. To maintain the attention of crowd, he repeated key words of his speech especially “I have a dream”. In a speech of 17 minutes he used words like “freedom” twenty times and “dream” eleven times.  He used appropriate quotations throughout the speech. These quotations were either taken directly from important documents like The Bible, Declaration of Independence and quotes of Abraham Lincoln. He also used many important cities and locations in the speech to draw and maintain the attention of the crowd. King used proper grammar and was eloquent throughout his speech. The 17 minutes was devoid of fillers. The combination of all these elements made the speech one of the most effective speeches in history. Above all, it is the truthful and honest personality of Dr Martin Luther King which made the event memorable and a turning point in civil rights movement for Black Americans.
The Main points of the speech were skillfully organized. King used rhetorical method to highlight main phrases like “I have a dream”. While Analyzing the text and video of this speech, I noticed   logically sentences like “one hundred years later”, “now is the time”, “I have a dream” and “Let freedom Ring” etc. He used momentous and legendary references in a beautifully arranged sequence starting from Gettysburg address, Declaration of Independence and The Bible. He supported and related the facts while contrasting events in civil rights struggle with “joyous daybreak” in The Bible. He made a remark about “sweltering summer” of Negros and many other contrasts. He made reference to slavery of Negros, injustice, faith in democracy, freedom and voting rights in Mississippi.  His speech was interwoven, uniform, strategic and well organized.
King’s delivery of this speech was very impressive. It is considered one of the most impressive speeches in American history. The personality of speaker was readily accepted by the crowd. He was a leader of millions. He spoke every word bursting with confidence, truthfulness and sincerity. He was speaking for a very noble cause therefore used very powerful and convincing gestures. His speech was emotional yet balanced and logical. His gestures suited the occasion and he never crossed limits of decency. Although speaking from a very powerful pedestal, he remained very civilized and noble. He never uttered words of disrespect to those who have humiliated and enslaved black communities. His audience comprised of 250,000 people, however he fully managed the crowd and never excited them beyond limit. His voice was stable, his tone was firm and his message was loud and clear. His speech is referred as a classic example of expression public speaking.
The reaction of the audience to the speech was electric. The crowd comprised almost a quarter million civil rights activists and millions of people on television. King’s speech was very well received and considered a turning point in the civil rights movement. He was a seasoned preacher who applied all the rubrics of an effective speaker. Till date, his speech still impacts listeners.  King spoke in a tone that was steady, slow but energetic. It appears as though his audience absorbed his speech word for word. So many times, the crowd cheered, applauded and praised during his speech. When he mentioned the similarity of Negro case with a bad cheque, the crowd raised a lot of noise in affirmation. Throughout the speech, the crowd remained attentive, affirmative and receptive.
The conclusion of speech was the most forceful part of the speech. King ended the speech with these words: “From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, when we allowfreedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”. These words had a magical impact on the audience. The conclusion was very effective in text, gesture, tone and delivery. The conclusion was the climax of speech and made audience rise from their seats. By the time his seventeen minutes speech was ending and the crowd already expected the speech to come to an end. However, the speech ended on a high note.
The personality of the speaker and his commitment to the cause made a strong impact on the audience. King used historical, religious and literary references appropriately and timely. He also used the pause mechanism to provide room for audience reaction. His speech unfolded in a logical order and appeared well interwoven. Nothing came up in his speech abruptly; everything matched the occasion. King also used power phrases to make the speech a memorable one. His speech was drawn out of a strong ideological base and contained names of places and events which are well known to the crowd and has a symbolic meaning to them.
Works Cited

 

Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a Dream’ Speech

On August of 1963, Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr., made his infamous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. In this memorable speech, King confronts the lack of free will that African Americans had in society. One of the largest demonstrations seen by the nation’s capital was conveyed to thousands of Civil Rights activists that shared a common goal of being treated as equal citizens. King carefully structures his speech to appeal to the different types of audience, supporting it with elements such as metaphors, repetition, and symbolism to efficiently create an impact on the audience. These rhetorical strategies display techniques of ethos, logos, and pathos that allow the audience to sufficiently connect with Martin Luther King Jr’s message.

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Martin Luther King Jr. produces an enforced emotional appeal to the audience by using pathos, and making them feel empathy for the way slave owners treated African Americans for centuries. For example, King compares African Americans as living in a “lonely island of poverty” to everyone else indulging in an “ocean of material prosperity.” (King, par. 2) Later in his speech, he uses a metaphor when stating that racism is a “dark and desolate valley” while racial justice represents a “sunlit path.” (King, par. 5) This quote gives hope to the audience of living in a unified and improved country where freedom remains a right to every citizen. It offers hope to the African American community as well, that without prejudice, society could climb onto the sunlit path of racial justice. King effectively utilizes pathos techniques in his speech to guide the emotions of viewers along with his plans of living in a country filled with ambition.
Martin Luther King utilizes the element of repetition throughout his speech as it uses emotional appeals towards the audience. The most prominent use of repetition throughout his speech is when he says, “I have a dream…” King repeats this expression as he progressively develops an idea of what his ideal future entails. It becomes a type of anthem as he paints a picture of a developed country in which there are cultural unity and equality among races.  An example is when he says, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” (King, par. 18) King appeals to the emotions of the intended audience by making a point that he’s a father and desires to live a life where his children would experience a better future than he did. This memorable quote emotionally stands out because it causes the audience to consider their children. None of the parent’s watching the speech would want to see their child face discrimination due to the color of their skin. The repetition technique expertly shows how different American reality is from the country’s history. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech not only acquires a quality that is of the moment, but also one that is transcendent of it. This backs up his pathos appeals as the speech’s constant repetition is exceedingly useful for arousing the audience’s emotions. King reminds his audience that civil rights activists will continue to fight for the freedom of all individual as long as they continue to have faith in the dream of equality and freedom.
Apart from his use of emotional appeals, Martin Luther King Jr. efficiently utilizes social ethics and logic in his speech. King’s logic about the Civil Rights Movement represents a way many individuals of that period thought, but never willingly took it upon themselves to make a change. King begins with the phrase, “Five score years ago,” This refers to the Emancipation Proclamation that Abraham Lincoln signed to declare the freedom of African American slaves. King states that, despite the proclamation, African Americans were still not free; they faced extreme discrimination and segregation. He uses the credibility of Lincoln because he was an admired president that fought for African American equality. By using a former president as an example, King undoubtedly gains the trust of viewers and creates an ethos appeal through the logos of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. 
There are numerous examples of symbolism that occur throughout King’s speech in attempt to connect with the crowd and demonstrate an appeal of emotion and logic. In his second passage, King uses symbolism to compare segregation to a “bad check,” meaning that America had failed to deliver the empty promises the country had endlessly broken. King speaks on behalf of the African American community when stating that they refuse to believe that there is not enough justice to provide equality for all citizens. He believes it is possible to “cash this check” and receive the full benefits of freedom and equality. King uses the first person plural, “we” and refers to the Civil Rights Movement as “my people” on several occasions to symbolize brotherhood. An example of this is when he says, “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt” (King, par. 4) He urges them to remember that in order to achieve their goals, they should not let hatred or bitterness affect their actions. Acting as a conceptual helix, King’s idea of unity brings together the speech’s theme of togetherness.
Martin Luther King Jr. achieved the power to inspire millions of people and persuade them to fight for their freedom. In only 17 minutes, King informed multiple generations of people about racial equality and fairness. This speech demonstrates the metaphors, repetition, and symbolism needed to develop an emotional, credible, and logical appeal. At a time where racial minorities obtained no freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out for what he believed in and inspired America to become the unified country it is today.
Works Cited:

“Transcript of Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963. Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1962 Speech, www.analytictech.com/mb021/mlk.htm.

 

A Midsummer Nights Dream Drama Essay

A point to consider before bringing the individual character interpretations into play is how to contextualise the performances within the text as a whole. In other words, the characters are not mutually exclusive entities, rather, they are interactive and woven into the landscape of the play. Therefore, I would like to propose a general outline for the overall performance.
There are many ways to perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ and the way I choose will affect elements of the characters. There have been many performances of Shakespearean drama, where the play is brought into the modern day. I however, would like to perform the play in its classic setting. I would like the play to retain its archaic time setting. It is a very self-reflexive play – it is a play about staging a play. This highlights the idea of drama at its root – the reheasrsal and work that goes into a play.
I would like to leave the play in an olden day setting because it consolidates the idea of drama being detached from life through its artifice, and the play being set in a by-gone era further consolidates the idea of detaching drama from everyday life.
(a) The first character I would like to look at is Lysander. He refuses to yield to Demetrius’s demand for Hermia’s hand, and risks the wrath of Theseus by eloping with Hermia. This demonstrates not only the depth of his feeling for Hermia, but also his conviction in his own beliefs, and the courage to carry out these beliefs.
The comic arc of Lysander’s performance hits its climax after Puck has sprinkled the love potion into his eyes and he falls in love with Helena. I would perform the character with some hyperbole at this point, in order to convey the comic element of the text to the audience. The idea of Lysander challenging Demetrius to a duel in order to win Helena’s hand is an example of the excessive behaviour and heightened action that brings much of the comedy into the play.
It is a humour that comes from the reversal of the natural order – Helena has gone from being desperately in love with Demetrius and being scorned by him to being the object of both men’s affection, for example.
This reversal in the behaviour of Lysander is something I’d like to highlight in performance. I think a change in demeanor, and in vocal qualities could highlight this. At the beginning of the play, Lysander is portrayed as a romantic hero. I would convey this to the audience through his appearance; ideally, the role would be filled by a tall, handsome man. I would like him to wear a costume of light material – symbolising the innocence of the ‘true lovers’ (Hermia’s description of themselves).

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As I would like to keep the play true to its chromatic origins, I would like Lysander to wear a type of Athenean costume, which he could change when he enters the wood. I would like all the characters to change their costumes when they enter the forest, to represent the immense change in their environment. I would like him to don a more earthy, swarthy coloured robe, such as green, to convey the pastoral environment to the audience.
I would like to focus on how the character of Lysander should be performed during the sequence in which he challenges Demetrius to a duel. The interpretation that I would like to convey to the audience is one of escalating absurdity, which contributes to humour. This would be done through the props, delivery, vocal quality, paralinguistic features and a demonstration of how Lysander relates to Demetrius in this section:
Lysander
Helen, I love thee. By my life I do.
I swear by that which I will lose for thee
To prove him false that says I love thee not.
Demetrius
I say I love thee more than he can do.
Lysander
If thou say so, withdraw, and prove it too. (Scene III, Act II, lines 251-256)
There is a strong sense of rhythm in these lines, and also rhyme, which contribute to the tension and sense of heightened action. I would like the actor to highlight the rhythm in his delivery.
I would like Lysander to adopt a masculine stance, and to circle Dimitrius, expanding his movement around the stage, owning the stage, as it were, using the entire stage to convey to the audience that he feels he owns the space, as he prowls around it.
Demetrius
A character trait that emerges from the text is the point where he tells the infatuated Helena that when he says, Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;/For I am sick when I do look on thee. (Scene II Act I, lines 211-212). This utterance evokes a sense of his cruel nature, a pejorative view of Demetrius which is further consolidated when we examine the first first scene of the first act. When Lysander and Hermia are told that they cannot marry, Demetruis tells them they should let him have his certain right. (Scene I Act I line 92).
There is subsequently a huge change in Demetruis when he falls back in love with Helena at the end of the play. This is indicative of a softening of his character – a change which I feel should be represented visually in performance.
In order to convey Demetruis’s somewhat cruel, righteous nature to the audience, I think the actor should appropriate a certain demeanor. Body language could be used to demonstrate his confident, cocky side. For example, he could strut, use large gestures and also make use of all of the stage space – exercising his self imposed ‘right’ to the stage space in the same way that he wants to exercise his ‘right’ to Hermia’s hand.
I would like his costume to be dark colours – such as a rich red – and flamboyant design, to contrast with Lysanders’. The vocal qualities should also demonstrate these traits. He only has two lines in scene I, act one, so it is very important how these are represented, as they will be the first impression the audience have of him.
Demetrius’s lines are:
Relent, sweet Hermia; and, Lysander, yield
Thy crazed title to my certain right. (Scene I, Act I, lines 91-92)
The way in which this line is performed is very important. As the tormented lovers, the audience feels very strongly for Hermia and Lysander, to whom the presence of Demetrius is an invasive one. I would therefore also like to convey to the audience this sense of invasion. When Demetrius says, Relent, sweet Hermia I would like him to walk up to Hermia, and put his arm around her, caressing her with his other hand, turning them both away from Lysander. When he speaks to Lysander, Demetrius should keep his back to Lysander, but turn his head to face him, so that his line is like an aside, as if he does not respect him.
The words ‘crazed title’ should be accompanied by paralinguistic features, such as an outstretching arm to convey to the audience how much Demetrius does not want Lysander and Hermia to marry. Finally, the word ‘my’ should be over emphasized to convey that Demetrius strongly feels that Hermia should be his, whether she loves him or not, because of the wishes of her father.
His character, and especially his behaviour towards Helana changes at the end of the play. Whilst in the earlier stages of the play, he is confident, using large gestures and a lot of stage space, at the end of the play, I would like him to express a more tender side to the audience, to convey the development of his character:
That we are awake? It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream. Do not you think
The duke was here, and bid us follow him? (Scene IV, Act I, lines 192-194)
This line should be used to convey character development to the audience as it contrasts so strongly with his opening line – the use of ‘you’ in contrast to ‘my’ for example. There is also a confusion in this utterance, which contrast with the confidence in the first lines.
Helena
At the beginning of the play, Helena is portrayed as hapless; the scorned lover who has been wooed by Demetrius and then ignored in favour of Hermia. However, like Demetrius, Helena demonstrates a massive character development and transformation. Like Lysander, the arc of her character trajectory reaches its crescendo after Puck has sprinkled the love potion in Lysander and Demetrius’s eyes.
When they both try to woo her, she feels they are mocking her, and gets angry. To best convey the transformation in her character between before and after the love potion has been dispensed, I’d like to consider how vocal quality and demeanor can be used in two of her utterances:
Call you me fair? That ‘fair’ again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair!
Sickness is catching. O, were favour so,
Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go.
O, teach me how you look, and with what art
You sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart. (Scene I, Act I, lines 181-194)
This except is from a long speech in which Helena proceeds to extol the virtues of Hermia, with whom Demetrius is infatuated. The key message I would like to convey to the audience from this speech is the idea that Helena is confused, upset and slightly jealous of Hermia. She is asking Hermia how she won the heart of Demetrius. In order to convey this dejection to the audience, I think the delivery of this speech should involve some rhetoric – while Helena is asking Hermia how she wooed him, and saying how fair Hermia is, my interpretation of this speech is that it is a melancholy meditation on the loss of her love.
She is not looking for external answers, rather internal answers, and so it is questions she is asking herself. This could be expressed to the audience by the character of Helena distancing her self physically from the group – this would be a visual symbol of her isolation. Her demeanor and body language would be hunched and dejected, and her voice subdued and hushed
The other speech that is a seminal moment in the performance of Helen is when she feels she is being mocked by the two men, and gets angry. Clearly her relationship with Demetrius is changed when he falls in love with her. While she may be unaware of it, the hierarchy of the relationship has been overturned, and she has now adopted a position of power. In her speech, she says:
O spite! O hell! I see you are all bent
To set against me for your merriment.
If you were civil and knew courtesy
You would not do me thus much injury. (Scene III, Act II, lines 145-148)
This speech can be used to great effect to demonstrate the performance possibilities of this role. The demeanor and vocal qualities performing this speech would require differ hugely to the earlier one – with a louder voice, delivery directed at the other characters and inflated body language required.
Hermia
Hermia is represented in the play as a strong, defiant young woman, prepared to take risks in order to fulfil her own desires. This is exemplified in her refusal to bow down to her father’s wish that she marry Demetrius. In the face of a death sentence, or life in a nunnery, she escapes with Lysander into the forest. Lysander’s love for Hermia, along with Demetrius’s desire, demonstrate that she is an attractive and desirable young woman.
These are two important points I’d like to consider when constructing the performance of Hermia. I would like to convey to the audience her inner strength and determination, alongside her physical attractiveness.
The notion of physical attractiveness could be conveyed primarily through costume and appearance. As Hermia is clearly a woman of considerable charm (illustrated when Helena asks her what charm she used to capture Demetruis’s heart), her costume should reflect this. As it is believed that she unwittingly won over Demetrius (this is an ambiguity in the text – it is possible that Demetrius loves her because her father is so impressed by him) I would also like to impress upon the audience a sense of naivete and innocence.
The obvious symbolic colour of this is white. White would also look striking under the stage lights. I would use floaty fabrics for the costumes, such as organza, to communicate the ethereal quality of not only Hermia herself, but also the forest, and the magic contained within it. When Hermia leaves Athens and escapes to the forest, I would like her to adopt a robe over her dress, of green, to convey to the audience, through her change in costume, that a change is impending in the play.
While the charm and beauty of the character of Hermia will be communicated visually, the inner strength and courage that I interpret as being key elements of her character, will be communicated through her demeanor. It is commonly understood in the study of body language that confident people stand up straight, unlike shy people, who hunch up, in a subconscious decision to take up less space. In this way, stage space becomes an important indicator of personality.
I have mentioned before that I would, at certain points in the text like characters to use the whole space of the stage to convey a sense of confidence. I would like the performance of Hermia to adopt a comfortable use of the entire stage space.
More specifically, I would like to refer to one speech that I feel is very important in the text, in Scene I, Act I, when Hermia is talking to Theseus with regards to her desire to marry Lysander:
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give soveregnity. (Scene I, Act I, lines 79-82)
This speech is an important point at the text because Hermia makes clear her intentions to avoid marriage to Demetrius. It is a very dramatic, sensitive piece. This speech should be delivered with intensity, to convey to the audience the depth of Hermia’s feelings for Lysander. The performance should include some paralinguistic features such as moving around the stage, facial expressions and hand movements to express her feelings visually.
Theseus
My understanding of Theseus is that he is a very complex character – there is conflicting evidence in the text as to his true nature. There is one utterance in the text that brings up questions regarding his true nature, when he is talking to Hippolyta and he says that:
Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
And won thy love doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key: (Scene I, Act I, lines 16-18)
My interpretation of this line is that Theseus raped Hippolyta. The implications of this in terms of how the character should be performed are vast. In much of the text, Theseus is represented as a pensive, thoughtful man. He kindly advises Hermia to Take time to pause (Scene I, Act I, line 83) when discussing the situation with her father Egeus. This scene presents him as rational and kindly.
The suggestion of rape in line 16 makes the line highly important, the suggestion I would like to convey to the audience is the idea that Theseus is warning Hippolyta. In bringing the issue of the rape to the forefront, he is reminding her of the power balance in their relationship. There is also possibly some penitence in this admission. This could be communicated to the audience through the use of certain vocal qualities, demeanor and stage space.
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I would like Theseus’s sense of power to be conveyed to the audience in a visual way, so he would deliver this speech standing, and walking around, whilst the character of Hippolyta would be sitting down. The discrepancy in their heights would be a visual representation of the hierarchy, which would further consolidate what Theseus was saying. This is such a patriarchal power play that props could be used to represent a sense of phallocentricity – such as a sceptre – a regal and phallic symbol.
The use of this prop could convey to the audience my interpretation of Theseus as being the patriarchal and dominant force in the opening of the play. His kingdom is run on a set of rigid rules – for example, Egeus invoking the ancient law of Athens as Hermia wants to marry Lysander. This is in stark contrast to the forest – the mysterious, feminine arena which is the binary opposite of Athens.
In terms of demeanor, Theseus should be calm, and considered in his movements. I would like his costume to be of dark colours, and of neat, clean lines. This operates in contrast to Hermia’s costume – the white of her costume is a symbol of innocence while the dark of Theseus’s costume is aligned with the dark side he hints at in this speech.
 

The Great Gatsby | The American Dream

Compare and Contrast The Great Gatsby with the American Dream. Discuss how Gatsby’s extravagances compare to the American Dream’s ideals.
There is no strict definition of the ‘American Dream’ though early in the twentieth century and in many ways still today it has become the term which describes an inherent faith in the promise of the new world. As a country, America has no far stretching history to forge and enrich its culture. Instead a nation’s character was flavoured with hopes and anticipation of the future, of a better life of more opportunity and purpose.

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People fledged to the Americas to start afresh, to experience modern luxuries and new technology. To become a part of the rat race and exploit the age of capitalism and materialism – overall to become rich through one’s own means. To realise the great American Dream therefore was an extension of Benjamin Franklin’s maxim of the ‘perfectibility of man’. Franklin was a great emblem of American ideology and a founder of much of its deepest held attitudes and beliefs.
Franklin was one of the first self-confessed entrepreneurs and his many written works became great incentives for Americans to become pro-active and to try and be the best one could be. He founded his ideas on the prevailing optimism that with the right motivation and activity anyone could become a solvent, well-respected individual.
Perhaps no time in America’s history quite demonstrated the people’s obsessive preoccupation with the American dream than the 1920s. In the post-war period, it became an incredibly affluent country, rapidly industrialising and developing the quality of life. It became a time when gross extravagances were commonplace. The American president Herbert Hoover said in 1925 ‘We will root out poverty and put two cars in every garage‘. On the surface of it, the nation was thriving with its own successes. People were elated by the possibility of continued happiness through material wealth.
However, this atmosphere of striving relentlessly towards the future in the promise of rewards had a bitter flipside. Many authors found the new attitude of American people overly conceited. This idea in particular is explored in metaphor in many of Herman Melville’s works together with Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, but demonstrably so in the novels of Evelyn Waugh, J.D. Salinger and of course, F. Scott Fitzgerald. These authors tried to show that the people of America were changing – becoming superficial and self-consumed and misconstruing happiness as wealth and materialism.
On the face of it, Fitzgerald’s wonderful creation of Jay Gatsby appears a champion of the then climate of profligacy and carefree living. He has as many beautiful shirts to make Daisy swoon and not two motor cars as Hoover would advise, but five. From his mansion in West Egg he holds wild parties every night mixing in the highest social circles. But the grand irony is that of all the characters in the book, Gatsby is perhaps the least inspired or objectively absorbed by the lifestyle he defines. And it is also perhaps precisely this reason that Gatsby is also the most likely to win our affections. As Nick points out he has an exceptional quality that separates him from typical Americans much less than exemplifies them:
‘If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life,an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.’
Gatsby’s ‘gift for hope‘ which Nick talks about certainly seems true of Franklin’s vision but there is a crucial contrast with the American dream’s personality of hopefulness and Gatsby’s personality and it is this: while Franklin advocated the importance of the individual, the hopefulness that one might successfully improve one’s own self and one’s own means, Gatsby’s greatest hope is to find Daisy and rekindle her love for him. We are endeared to Gatsby because he is the only character who quite clearly values human affection above wealth and recreation. He unlike any of the other characters has a firm belief in the good of humanity.
In this way he is set in stark contrast with the narrator Nick who seems a born cynic, passive, sardonic and judgemental of other people though he claims otherwise. Jordan’s half-baked advances fail to woo him; indeed he seems genuinely disenchanted by the possibility of a loving relationship and finds friendship only in Gatsby. For Nick, Gatsby must seem the only warm, good hearted human being in New York and yet even so, the previous quote shows he is quick to qualify this – questioning whether personality is a true reflection of a person or indeed an ‘unbroken series of successful gestures‘ – a comment which suggests Nick is hung up by the idea that all human interaction is a faade or an act rather than a true reflection of real feelings.
Nick has a severely disillusioned view of 1920s socialite America yet his pessimism is invariably astute proving to be sound by the end of the novel. It is by contrast Gatsby’s irrepressible optimism and his rose-tinted sentimental view of the world that is revealed to be mistaken.
So The Great Gatsby is a novel which sees a character try and exploit the American Dream to win the love of a woman. Fitzgerald tells us that ‘Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor‘ – it is this misconstrued impression of wealth as a timeless vessel of hope, as the preserver rather than the destroyer of mystery, which brings about his downfall.
In this sense Gatsby’s end is not reflective of his means – his real end is finding love, his means is to buy it with displays of grandeur and extreme wealth. But such affection by definition cannot be real love and Daisy subsequently cannot give herself over to him with the intensity of feeling he had hoped for. Fitzgerald’s novel is saturated in themes of illusion, and deception. The great swathes of noveau riche – self-made American’s, success stories of the great American dream, are undermined by a superficiality and emptiness. The characters have founded their wealthy, though vacuously glamorous life-styles by capitalising on an identity which is bereft of morals.
Mr. Gatsby himself has become incredibly rich in a short space of time because he absolves himself of moral responsibility and trades in the trafficking of alcohol. And yet his wealth breeds distrust and intolerance, his magnificent parties attract only insincere people who exploit his generosity. Similarly Tom Buchanan cannot count on the fidelity of his wife Daisy because he makes no effort to make sure of his own.
In a climate of greed, relationships are no longer based on trust or affection but self-interest. The false, self-fulfilling nature of the relationships forged in the novel is made painfully clear for Nick who notices that only three people turn up to Gatsby’s funeral – a genuine surprise given his perceived popularity. It is this sense of hypocrisy and discovery of relationships which are feigned through mutual advantage rather than real emotion that brings about Nick’s gloomy disillusionment with 1920s society and his realisation that he will never meet anyone who shares Gatsby’s sentimentality.
Gatsby, the iconic hero of the American Dream, uses it simply as a means to a very different end. He avoids social interaction at his parties, skulking in the inner chambers of his house and his great displays of wealth give him no more pleasure than in their perceived potential to bring Daisy back to him. Gatsby is only dubiously ‘Great’. He is flawed because he tries to find belonging in a society bereft of the most fundamental human morals like trust and fidelity. In an idealistic society governed by a striving impetus towards the acquisition of wealth and power, moral fibre begins to break down
The impact of the great American dream has only a physical, external effect on Gatsby whereas it has shaped the very consciousnesses of the other characters – Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jordan, Myrtle and Gatsby’s corrupt work colleagues all display a fickle self-serving hedonism that echoes the then climate of quick-living, profligacy much more than Gatsby’s meticulously planned, romantic endeavour to win back Daisy’s heart and his nostalgia upon reflections of the past. Gatsby is in reality then, far removed from 1920s American lifestyle, he has simply become extremely good at mimicking its symptoms.
It seems then that Gatsby is both the champion and the antithesis of the American Dream. Gatsby invites the glowing optimism of the American Dream to appease his anxiety to earn the love of Daisy. By surrendering to the ideals of a forward-looking, hopeful American life he somehow convinces himself that the unlikely is a very real possibility. However, Gatsby’s grand scheme is doomed because wealth and social standing are not qualities which he cares to evince – they will not earn him a membership in America’s ‘great’ society. Gatsby is quite clearly inspired by Franklin’s autobiography.
In chapter 9 Nick discovers a treasured old book of Gatsby’s which shares the same assiduous attention to routine and self-discipline in the form of daily schedules. Gatsby buys into Franklin’s ideals of self-improvement, resolving to ‘practice elocution, poise and how to attain it; read one improving book or magazine per week; and be better to parents‘. Such an empty list of instructions towards self-help are listed here with comical irony. What indeed can such qualities give Gatsby that will make him any more accomplished in finding love?
Gatsby’s great delusion and one of Fitzgerald’s most important messages is that the acquisition of material successes does not naturally enrich a person or society spiritually or emotionally. This is played out in Gatsby’s attempts at courting Daisy – he tries to woo her with his shirts rather than more heartfelt displays of real affection and yet surprisingly the ‘scrolls and plaids in coral and apple green and lavender and faint orange‘ win him just the response he hopes for – ‘it makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts before‘. Again the moment is half comical.
Throughout the novel Fitzgerald’s characters are most genuinely stirred to emotion or touched by the mundane, by materials, extravagances or assortments of fancy shirts. Fitzgerald’s America often appears so superficial as to be funny. For instance, characters like Tom and Myrtle are two-dimensional and self-motivated to point of seeming unrealistic, but it is such cartoon-like, narrative extremes that allows Fitzgerald to make his most crucial point which is the severe loss of what are perhaps the real, ‘spiritual’ qualities of human life in all the excesses of self-seeking capitalism.
In the relentless race towards modernisation, traditions, heartfelt beliefs and the spiritual side of human culture is lost in a dead expanse; a valley of ashes. All the while Fitzgerald uses symbolism to represent this decay, like T.S. Eliot in ‘The Wastelands’, old fashioned values are lost in an atmosphere of moral corruption , of the tacky and kitsch. Quite wonderfully even God himself has become redundant in Fitzgerald’s America, replaced by the watchful eyes of Dr. Eckleburg a huge billboard and the pinnacle of commercialism and spiritual dissemblance.
An even more prevalent symbolic theme in the novel is the intensity of heat. Fitzgerald’s emphasis on the sun and dazzling brightness is exceptional. It makes up a huge contingent of the narration – setting scenes and on many occasions dictating the flow of events. Heat is used much as Camus uses glaring light to imply the burden of truth in ‘L’etranger’ or Shakespeare uses a storm to echo the madness and moral corruption of Lear’s world. In ‘The Great Gatsby’ it intensifies the growing discomfort of the characters’ landscapes. The falseness of the world they inhabit becomes a harsh and oppressive glasshouse, melting well-meaning facades. Heat and sunlight become more and more an aspect of the storyline in the novel climaxing on the day of Gatsby’s denouement; ‘the next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest day of the summer‘.
At the characters final group meeting in the restaurant, the sweltering heat amplifies the feelings of resent and bitterness behind their interactions. Sunlight might then be seen as Fitzgerald’s way of projecting nature’s grip on a human’s actions and the impossibility of defying the spirit of the world around you.
Perhaps the most crucial distinction between Gatsby and the ideal of the American dream is a temporal one. The American Dream is built upon the anticipation of a more modern, more advanced future. Gatsby does await the future with baited breath but only in the futile expectation that it will one day recreate his memory of the past. Indeed Gatsby lives entirely in the past – clinging to the nostalgia of his youth. That he might relive an exquisite moment of love which he still cherishes between himself and Daisy becomes his one motivating objective.
But as Nick astutely points out, human elation is invariably ‘short-lived‘ and cannot be recaptured and critically Gatsby misconceives what is possible in Franklin’s vision of the present. Franklin did not embrace the wonder of the past, or treasure the history of human emotion – life was rather a progression – continually in flux. It is no surprise that Gatsby is piqued by Nick’s refutation of his dream – ‘Can’t repeat the past? he cried incredulously. Why of course you can!’ Gatsby clings to the traditions of history. It is implied by his position in West Egg as opposed to East as indeed the Eastern fringe of America was then considered to be the seat of its prosperity and the Western frontier the links to its older heritage.
Real evidence of Gatsby’s devotion to a dissolving past is his well stocked library, filled with books, which surprise his guests at being ‘Absolutely real – have real pages and everything‘ and not made from ‘nice durable cardboard‘. Books have become empty non-durable objects to the guests at Gatsby’s parties, just like themselves who are soulless, lacking content of character, or the oranges and lemons which leave Gatsby’s parties via ‘the backdoor in a pyramid of pulpless halves‘. But Gatsby’s reminiscent, uniquely mysterious disposition is best expressed in Nick’s fleeting impressions of him:
‘Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something – an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago‘.
Nick’s language is characteristically vague and whimsically unsure of itself – ‘an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words‘, what part of Gatsby’s ‘appalling sentimentality‘ he is referring to is an intangible and incomprehensible thing. And that is the point, Gatsby’s sentimentality has no solid meaning in the mundane rational of the present – he is mysterious and abstract memory of something that is no more. The story of Gatsby is ultimately a tragic one because he cannot bend the careless frivolity of the society around him to the romantic solemnity of his intentions. Affection is an impotent virtue in a fickle misunderstanding world. And the past cannot be brought home to the characters of a social climate which cares only for the future:
‘ Oh, you want too much! she cried to Gatsby, I love you now–isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past. I did love him once–but I loved you too‘.
Daisy cannot reconcile Gatsby’s need to recapture what is gone. The love Daisy’s confesses she bears for Gatsby is different – forged in the present in her awe of his wealth. Unlike Gatsby, she severs the experiences of the past as moments which are lost forever and have no tangible bearing on the future. Daisy and Tom’s dilution of guilt, and thoughtless fleeing at the end of the novel is the true psyche of the American dream – the self-centred belief that one lives in the present and what has happened in the past is irrelevant
‘They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made’.
Gatsby is great because he is unlike the ‘dirty pretty things’ of modern America. He is simply doomed in the world he finds himself upon because his great longing for real human feeling cannot be reconciled with the real social longing for wealth and status. ‘The Great Gatsby’ does explore the effect of the American dream upon a national consciousness but with the implication that it is rather a ‘pipe-dream’ or an empty sentiment. Gatsby’s obsession with the green lantern glowing promisingly at the bottom of Daisy’s garden inspires him with hopes of acquiring her love.
But the green light plainly represents the great torch of the Statue of Liberty that greets voyagers off the ships In Manhattan’s harbour filled with hope and inspired by the promises of America. And the Stature of Liberty in turn is an emblem of freedom and truth – the once treasured principles of an American identity. Fitzgerald’s novel discounts these principles with this rather touching metaphor:
‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further And one fine morning – And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past‘.
The language is fragmentary because new optimism inspires another thought before the futility of the present becomes a reality. And this language, jumping interminably ahead of itself is indeed Fitzgerald’s view of the American character: in the rush to produce a rich and extensive character and history for itself, America lost a lot of the clarity which comes from a slower progression. It became in many respects a nation based entirely on ideologies of hope and optimism and the promise of self-development.
But while a nation was wrapped up in these exciting prospects writers such as Fitzgerald pealed back the veil and revealed the inconsistencies in an outlook of liberty tainted by the constraints of greed, capitalism and materialism.
Bibliography
Fitzgerald, F, Scott, The Great Gatsby, 1989, Penguin, London.